Mindful of the need to keep fit even when life is very constricted, I’ve done a 30-minute yoga class from the Yoga Studio app almost every day since the beginning of the Pandemic.
At around 6 o’clock every evening I roll my mat out on the sitting room carpet, and pull on a hairband so I don’t look and feel like a yeti every time I bend forwards (hairdressers – I miss you!). I scroll through the different classes, trying to decide whether I feel like a stretch class, a balance class, or a brutal abs class – misleadingly described by some yoga sadist as ‘beginner, medium intensity’ … I don’t think so, Sister!
At this point I invariably wish that I’d started 30 minutes earlier, because that would mean I’d now be relaxing in corpse pose on my mat, toned and smug, rather than just gearing up to stretch, bend and balance, with those 30 painful minutes still in front of me.
We have large patio doors in the sitting room, so in the spring and summer I would gaze out at the garden as I went through my routine. With just half an eye on the phone watching the instructor demonstrate the poses, I fondly imagined that my version of each pose was just the same as hers.
But when the nights started drawing in and I had to switch the light on, the glass doors became a giant mirror, and I could see only too clearly the discrepancies between my poses and the instructor’s.
Her forward bend makes her look like a hairpin and mine makes me look like a mushroom; her yoga push-up involves slowly lowering from plank and hovering her entire body five centimetres off the floor, whereas mine is more of a nose-endangering plunge from plank pose to floor in two nanoseconds.
According to the yoga website, Bow Pose resembles an archer’s bow: the arms are the string linking the torso and legs into a bow … so how come my legs are firmly fixed to the floor, bending up at the knee to form a triangle? And I’m going to have to rename One Legged King Pigeon as One Legged Dead Pigeon, as I always topple sideways off my mat when I try it.
Positive Me says ‘It isn’t a competition; and you’re so much better at this now than you were when you started.’ Negative Me whispers ‘Why bother? You’ll never be a yogi – go and have a gin and tonic instead.’
Positive Me is winning at the moment. I’ve come this far, so I’m sure I can carry on until yoga studios reopen … or at least until the spring comes and I can switch the light off and become a yoga goddess once again in my mind’s eye.