One of the joys of getting older is that, at some point, we all start to make strange tennis serve style grunts when we sit down or stand up. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t worry, it will. Given the worrying trend that sofas are getting lower (or is that just me?) something has to be done. That something, may just be yoga.
I remember black and white images of impossible yoga positions on tea time telly in the seventies. The idea of that or any kind of organised exercise class sends me running for the hills. As for Lycra – don’t get me started.
Worry not, today we have apps and the privacy of your own living room. My particular instrument of torture is Yoga Studio on iOS. Dozens of lessons are available to download. So far I have only been brave enough to attempt basic stretches but, I have to admit, I can feel the difference. Each lesson is accompanied by a very persuasive, soothing voiceover and on screen directions. Don’t be put off by how easy the lady makes it look – not all of us are that shape. If we were looking at storage options, she would fold down flat and slide into that tiny space in the spare bedroom. I am more of a “shove it in the garage and throw a tarpaulin over it” kind of shape.
The first position was called corpse – not overly sensitive if you are worried that the years are catching up with you – but how hard can lying flat on the floor really be? Turns out it is quite difficult but a loud and satisfying crack of the neck later, things improve. Next up, hug your left knee to your chest. You are kidding! OK, get it as far as possible for now. Repeat with the other leg with similar results but the addition of another loud crack – ouch. Hang on, feels better now, forget the ambulance.
Now she is rising to her task and tells me to sit, legs out front, and curl my back to rest my chin on my legs. Again, extremely elegant pose on the screen, while I look like a sack of spuds has just split and gone off in different directions. Too many years slumping over a computer screen and, frankly, too many pies nudges dignity out of the window. However, I am promised this will improve.
Soon the voice is telling me to lie on my back, reach between my knees and take hold of the outside of my feet for “Happy Baby’. There is obviously some kind of mistake here because my arms are about two feet too short to grab feet (I take solace in believing I have exceptionally long legs that don’t seem to bend in the middle – obviously genetic). A frantic grab for shins is just about good enough but the instruction to relax and feel the benefit of this stretch has me literally rolling around on the floor laughing. Spectator sport this is not. It is probably worth pointing out that it wouldn’t be good for radio either as you can’t rule out the occasional accidental noise!
After fifteen minutes, it is all over and I am hauling myself back to my feet. Don’t tell anybody but, I actually felt better for it. Several sessions in I feel a real benefit and I have even downloaded “beginners strength”. I haven’t used it yet – no point rushing these things.
So, what’s stopping you. Be sensible, all the usual small print about consulting your doctor applies, give it a go – you may just enjoy it. Just remember to close the curtains!by