Hate to add a defeatist note between all these pages of inspiration but I feel the need to share a slightly bleak reality. I’ve hit an age where I know there is an ever growing list of things I’ll probably never do in life: I’ll never climb Everest, run a sub three hour marathon, or be the right side of 44 again. And now, a year into my yoga journey, a few more things have been added to that list.
This week, my yoga teacher, Kari Knight, took me on a series of movements that led to crow pose. “Do whatever your comfortable with,” she softly intoned. An alternative was suggested for those not comfortable with this pose (eyes always fall on me at this point) but I’d made my mind up to have a go.
Squatted, I squeezed my arms under my legs and planted my hands firmly, as suggested. I gingerly began tipping forward. That pivotal moment approached; this was it, ‘have some confidence, believe’ I told myself, and then, finally, a ‘proper’ yoga balance. This was the breakthrough I’d been waiting for; soon I’d have my picture in this very same magazine, effortlessly balanced in some impossible pose on a rock surrounded by azure seas. California here I come! Alas, my mind had wandered. A fraction of a second later, the fantasy was shattered when I tipped forward and smashed my forehead into the wooden floor. Everyone looked to the far corner of the old school room – where I tuck myself away every Tuesday night hoping not to be noticed – at this crumpled, sweaty, red-faced, middle-aged wreck, arms and legs asunder.
My teacher comes rushing over to check I’m okay. “No, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to try the balance over the mat”. There’s some light bruising but it should clear in a day or two. Yes, yoga has brought a great deal to my life. But it has also confirmed the hopeless limitations of my body – from performing crow pose to winning the Tour de France. And yet I’ll still be reporting for duty each and every week as always.