Hello everyone. My name’s Emma, and I’m a yoga addict. (‘Hi, Emma…’)
Anyone who knows me knows one thing. I spend way more time on Instagram each day than is probably recommended. And also, I do a whole lotta yoga.
I remember how I got started. Completely superficial. Yoga folk have the best outfits, you see. And also, you get to tuck your rolled up mat under your arm, which is oh so very Miranda Kerr, on her way to a lazy Sunday brunch of organic kale and seaweed or some other such nonsense.
But a funny thing happened. Somewhere along the way, it went from being something I loved to say that I do, to something I just loved doing. Power Flow nudged out Netball for the coveted MVP of Em’s Fitness Regime trophy, and guise – most nights, I don’t even need to bribe myself with some new leggings to get myself there! I know, right?
Yoga’s a little bit of an acquired taste. There’s people who just get it. And then the rest of the world who kinda don’t, but maybe kind of want to, because just look at how smug zen all those yoga folk seem.
So, if you’re one of those few who still haven’t dipped a toe into the slightly daunting yoga waters (and look, I get it. There’s a lot of soul searching, and sometimes they make you ‘ohmmmm’), AND in honour of #WorldYogaDay over the weekend, here’s a few little things that those first few months on the mat will teach you…
You’ll get pedicures. A lot of pedicures.
Lemme explain to you how every yoga class starts, folks. You swan in. Giddy with self pride. Because you got your ass off the couch and came to yoga. Yes. Go Em. #Fitspiration
You find your mat. Position your drink bottle. Settle in to enjoy those first few minutes that I call Pre-class Sleepy Time in lieu of knowing what it’s real legit yoga name is.
And then it starts. A little bit o’ Child’s Pose. A few Cat/Cows. And as you gently stretch into your very first Downward Dog you look down, checking that your feet are hips width apart while settling into….OH WHY DEAR GOD DO MY TOES LOOK LIKE THAT WHY OH WHY DIDN’T I GET A PEDICURE OR AT THE VERY LEAST PAINT MY NAILS?!?!
There’s nothing like a few mandated hours of staring at your chipped toe nail polish each week to scare you into your nearest salon. Those few blissful Winter months of ‘to hell what my feel look like, there’s nothing but socks and closed toe shoes in my immediate future!’ freedom? Gone. Thou shalt have perfectly polished feet at all times.
Disney songs will go to a whole new level.
Prepare to swish around the house with your very best Elsa on. (‘Let it go, let it gooooooooooooo’.) Because there’s one thing you learn pretty damn quickly. You can’t progress if you’re holding onto sh*t. (figuratively and literally, kids)
Tensing those muscles, trying too hard, sucking in your gut, holding your breath…they’re all ridiculous, un-yoga-ey things that stop you being a zen hen, and unfortunately, are most peep’s natural, unconscious reactions to those ridic yoga poses. And when you’re two minutes into a pose with no end in sight, frustrated as hell because you’re perching awkwardly rather than relaxing into it (how, yogi. HOW? How am I meant to relax into something that has my legs going one way and my torso going the other?), all of sudden it hits you. You’re holding on. You can’t bend like that because you’re literally not letting yourself. And so you breathe. And take a little advice from Frankie. (RELAX. If you’re not old enough to get that reference, we can’t be friends anymore.) And all of a sudden, oh hey there – extra five centimeters. Thanks for joining us.
And not to get too metaphor-ey on y’all, but it’s pretty accurate. (You know, in life.) You can’t move forward if you’re still holding on. To things that don’t serve you, to rubbish you don’t need, to bad thoughts about that ex boyfriend who just WOULDN’T PICK UP HIS SOCKS, SERIOUSLY HOW HARD IS IT, AMIRIGHT?? Are they serving any purpose beyond giving you yet another thing to stress about?
Sometimes, you just have to trust, take a big ol’ deep breath and just let go. (Except for the socks thing. I stand by that one.)
You’ll be completely, utterly humbled.
So, it turns out – yoga ain’t about getting bendy. I mean, it kind of is, but it’s not just about the bendy stuff.
Sometimes, I swan into that studio, all swishy hair and new lycra, gliding though the class like a complete boss. My Dancer’s Pose is elegant. My Crow Pose is instagram worthy. I’m Warrior Posing like I was born to do this. Oh, just look at how my heart glows!
And then other times I’m a sweaty sack of potatoes, just rolling around on the mat, hair in my mouth because my stupid effing pony tail won’t stay where it’s freaking supposed to. And there’s nothing more frustrating than being that big bloody bag of potatoes.
It’s always the instructors’ fault on those sweaty potato nights. She picked that pose you hate deliberately. She’s making you do a really tricky flow sequence because she hates you and she wants you to be miserable. She’s making you hold these poses for longer than you are normally supposed to be because she’s a stupid, evil jerk face. And as if that top goes with those tights. Fool.
And at some point, she’ll utter something about not being able to choose what happens to you, but what we can choose is how we react to it. You’ll shoot her the death eyes. And get annoyed that your Tree Pose basically resembles Tree Caught In A Hurricane Pose. But deep down, you’ll know she’s right. (Annoying know-it-all.) Because this is pretty much the same class you always do. You’re in the same spot. And the only thing that has changed from swishy hair, glowing heart class to right now is your horrendous attitude and all those nasty things you’re thinking.
Because bad stuff is going to happen. You’ll miss opportunities. Things will break. Dogs will chew on shoes and sometimes, on those very darkest of days, Messina will run out of your favourite flavour of gelato. You can’t control them. Or even stop them. But you can determine how you react to them, and in the end, that’s all that really matters. (Especially in the case of the aforementioned Messina crisis).