I am in Berlin for a few days, and have sought out a yoga studio, with two 90-min session done.
Christ. It is pretty God damn mind blowing and I hope this early flush of wonder and enthusiasm translates into a longer take-up of this, not me buying a 10-session package then giving up after five.
Funny though how the session seemed to go in four stages. First, the bits that I knew and could do, albeit, poses and stretches I’ve only done from a book before and doing it in class with instruction is a completely different thing – and how quickly you sweat!
Then you’re into the positions you don’t know but can just about follow, basically from watching everyone else and having an idea about them.
Then you hit positions you don’t know and you have a real job getting your body towards successfully doing, a real job that for the most part doesn’t happen, you get about 60% there then your ribs/spine/some muscle deep in your thigh you never knew you had starts aching bigtime, subtext ‘go no further than this!!!’ and you’re really beginning to battle to keep the position for the five breaths. This is tiring, and you’re glistening all over. But all this is new, and with no clocks, there’s no sense of time and no means of pacing yourself. It’ll end when it ends!
But I’m also aware of other restrictions. I can feel a guff brewing, which at a boot camp you could creak out on a run or something. No way can that be done in this packed, enclosed room, with only the sound of breathing and the instructor’s voice over the way. Even then tho one wrong twist and something could well get pumped, ‘trapped air’ and fear of this begins to distract. I’m also prone to exhale and exclaim at boot camps etc, but this is not the place, and for all the timed breathing, you’re really in such uncomfortable positions it’s amazing anything seems to get in and out at all. Breathing is key tho – so much effort spent getting into and holding a stance that you forget to breathe and basically tire and topple over because of it.
Some time around an hour in, maybe an hour, no way of knowing, you’re so tired, you can’t pride yourself at all on appearing to have any more stamina than the chap next to you because while he puffed a bit earlier he’s now waaayy up ahead in flexibility and flipping into gravity-defying stances that would simply put your own back out for thinking about it … there are positions you just aren’t even going to try and there are those you get wrong anyway as you lose track of what’s going on, and even then there’s a real job of sweaty hands and limbs defying the grip needed for the most contrived contortions. There are moments you make an effort and push it, and think, ‘I’ve not given up, I’m pushing it beyond, and next time will be better!’ but overall you know you’ve had it and really wonder at the easy litheness with which everyone else seems to be twisting themselves, their bodies still dry while you’re dripping with sweat. I curled myself into a ball like the bloke opposite, and held it for a few seconds, basically created my own shell to shield me from the intensely misleading ease with which everyone else was moving and holding … only when I then looked up, they’d all gone from a ball into this free-standing handstand position, like the room was suddenly full of spindly black trees, it all having happened with the eerie silent speed of that scene in Poltergeist when the chairs are suddenly arranged on the kitchen table.
And they’re all so young.
And … I thought a lot of crap, and thought a lot of nothing, but felt a warmth within and wondered if something was being purged by squeezing and releasing myself in so many ways … and I thought of mountains and Tintin in Tibet …
And wondered if any of this was true …
And loved every minute of it.