Try anything once – Mysore yoga (Iain)

A wise man once said: “You should try anything once.”

What a stupid saying! There’s loads of things I shouldn’t try – not even once.

Should I poke a sleeping lion in the stomach? No, I’ve been mauled by my cat for giving him a friendly tummy rub. Imagine what the king of the jungle would do if I poked him in the guts and called him a fattyfatty bum bum.

Should I paint my body blue, stick on a white beard and demand everyone call me Papa Smurf? No – I’d look look like a fat extra from Avatar.

Should I attempt one of the hardest extreme triathlons on the planet? DOH! I entered Norseman.

So, when given the opportunity to do Mysore yoga I asked will it kill me or open me to ridicule? Thankfully, the answers were “no” and “maybe.” I was worried about the maybe…

In a standard yoga class a teacher leads the students through a sequence of moves. In Mysore a student leads themselves through a sequence at their own pace. Everyone in the class follows the same sequence but the pace may be different.

The class started at 0630 but I could join anytime up till 0700. I need as much beauty sleep as I can get. I turned up at 0659. This meant everyone else had already started.

The Mysore sequence is like building IKEA furniture. If you don’t do it in the right order then a bit won’t fit where you want no matter how far you bend it.

Now imagine building a Kvlar wardrobe but only having the picture of a wardrobe as your guide. That’s Mysore.

I knew I needed to start by standing at the top of the mat. I also knew I had to finish by lying flat but I couldn’t remember the steps in between.

I looked around the class. One woman was bent over in a position her chiropractor would call “a broken spine”. Another girl was wrapped so tightly together only a can opener was going to get her unwrapped.

I decided to do neither of those moves. I attempted a bend from the hip. No one laughed so I thought I might be onto something. I do a few more bends to waste a few minutes. The teacher comes over “what are you doing?”

“Warming up?”

She says “Let me give you a guide”.

Great! That’ll help. She hands me some pics of people in positions that would be called pornographic if there was a partner involved. She says “Just do two of these and then three of these.”

I look at the diagram. It might as well be in Hindi as I don’t understand any of it. It turns out it is in Hindi.

I do a few more hip bends. I think I might be the best hip bender in the class. In fact, I think I might be the biggest bender here. Ummm that doesn’t sound right…

She come back over. “What are you doing?”

“Still warming up?” I reply.

“No your supposed to be doing this sequence.” She demonstrates it.

“Ahhh, it’s that sequence. I understand now.” I don’t.

She leaves. I bend my hips some more. I think if there was a hip bending competition in the Olympics I’d win a gold medal.Unless there was a Russian hip bender. He’d probably cheat and I’d get silver. I’d be gutted when I hear the Russian national anthem as we stand on the medal podium. Years later it would be discovered he was cheating! He’d get disqualified. I’d be the belated champion but it wouldn’t be the same. Instead of a podium I’d get my medal through the post. Damn you, Sergei!

She interrupts my daydream, “what are you doing?”

“I’ve warmed up!” I confidently state.

She takes pity on me. “Just lie down. Do you want a blanket to keep warm?”

“No thanks, I don’t like blankets of any size,shape or texture. You you might say I have a blanket ban…”

She doesn’t laugh. It’s probably too early in the morning for chuckles.

I give it five minutes and when she’s busy adjusting/torturing another Mysore student I sneak out.

The wise man was correct to say “do anything once” but he should also have said – don’t do it twice!

End of Month Report: January (Iain)

My plan for January was:

  • Bike (on average) 75 miles a week.
  • Run (on average) 13 miles a week running including at least one 10k.
  • Do yoga at least once a week

It looks like I’ll finish the month:

  • Bike (on average) 100 miles a week.
  • Run (on average) 16 miles a week including four 10k+ runs.
  •  Most weeks I’ve managed two yoga sessions

Overall, I’m pleased with the start to the year. The weather has been unusually good which is reflected in my better than average performance. There hasn’t been a day when it’s not been possible to commute to work by bike. In previous years I’ve lost at least a week in January due to snow and ice.

My plan for February is:

  • Bike (on average) 100 miles a week.
  • Run (on average) 16 miles a week including a 10k+ run once a week.
  • Do yoga at least once a week
  • Swim twice a week.

My plan is to slowly increase bike mileage every month. I might not be so lucky with the weather in February so I’ll make the goal the same as what I achieved this month.

I’ve joined a swimming pool so I should be able to swim twice a week as its on my way to and from work. I won’t put any distance down for it as I just want to enjoy the first few weeks back.

This month training was also good for photos. Here’s a selection from my training. If you want to see more then follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/imacivertodd/ 

Andrew is not on Instagram. I think he’s worried about how many likes I get in comparison to him 😉

 

 

Is Yoga is all about me? (Iain)

What do yoga instructors have for breakfast ?

Ommmmmmmmmmmmmm….lette!

“Om” is a mystical, spiritual sound often heard in yoga classes. Another sound often heard in class is a fart, but this is neither mystical or spiritual. If they were then eating beans it would be a much more enlightening experience.

I try to go to yoga once a week. I often fail. Yoga is about your own personal journey. In my case it’s a journey with many stops, detours and wrong turns.

During the class I tend not to pay too much attention to the spiritual side of yoga because I’ve got enough on my mind trying to work out where my arms and legs should be.

But I did pay attention to one statement: the teacher mentioned that one of the aims of yoga is to have an absence of Ego.

That’s a great goal!

Just one minor point – if yoga is the absence of ego why is the yoga studio named after them and why is their name in massive letters above the door?

How to get hot and sweaty! (Iain)

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs credited his long career to afternoons getting into awkward sweaty positions. He claims he was talking about yoga but the super-injunction he raised in the High Court said it was hotel romps with Imogen Thomas.

I too would like to extend my fitness “career” as long as possible. Unfortunately. Imogen Thomas has not replied to any of my tweets, letters, or standing outside her house holding a Boombox playing the song “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

So, instead I do yoga (occasionally)

I first tried yoga ten years ago. It was in Edinburgh and I signed up for a ten week course. The tutor handed me an A4 bit of paper on the way into the class listing all the positions I’d need. As I attempted each position she would come over and tell me I was doing it wrong. I wasn’t interested in spending 10 weeks getting told I was wrong so I never went back for the other nine lessons.

It was years later that I returned to a class. This time the tutor went through the moves at the front of the class and all I had to do was copy her. There was no A4 paper and no telling me I was wrong.

Since then I’ve tried different teachers/classes with varying levels of success.

One tutor was so hungover he did the whole class leaning on a wall and sitting on a block.

Another tutor got us all to shut our eyes at the end of the lesson and then went round massaging everyone head! At least I hope she did everyone else and not just me! On second thoughts, I also hope it was her and not some phantom head groper who saw an opportunity.

But, the strangest experience was hot yoga. A sessions runs for exactly 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures (performed twice each). It takes place in a room heated to 40C with a humidity of 40%.

It’s so hot all I needed to wear was a pair of shorts. I stripped off. At this point I got confused as I could see a fat man in the mirror looking at me but I didn’t see him when I turned around. He must have left.

A fellow middle-aged man nods in my direction. If that happened in a pub we might become “mates” or “friends” but here it feels sordid because we’re the only men in a room of scantily clad young student girls. I think I’ve just joined his “ring” and you only ever hear that phrase when men get busted by the police. A hot yoga “ring” was arrested today….

The poses start easily enough. I lie on my back and breathe. Which is so easy I could do it in my sleep. Actually that is how I sleep. As the poses get harder the sweat runs off my body like rats from a sweaty ship. It pools on the floor all around me.

Is everyone else this sweaty? The instructor says we can finish with some more lying down exercises but this time face down. I have to lie down and put my face into a pool of my own sweat. If he was an interrogator and this was a torture scenario then I would confess anything.

At the end of the class I lie in darkness and contemplate what I have just achieved. The instructor said take as long as I need. It takes me two seconds to think – if I leave now then I’ll get into the showers before anyone else. I’m away and out before you can say “Sa Ta Na Ma Shanti