A 30-day yoga challenge….

“Some people end their 30-day challenge with a whole new muscle definition; I still look the same. I wouldn’t even say I’d extended my yoga skill set, though I did get my feet off the floor for the first time in a crow pose, which was about the most gymnastic thing that had ever happened to me. In the mirror, I looked like I was trying to crawl underneath a shopping trolley because I had dropped my quid.

It’s impossible to standardise a time if you’re doing yoga every day, so where I could, I did the late-morning slot at a studio in south London, and the early evening one if I had to. It was two weeks before I identified the pattern: classes based on moving quite swiftly through 26 positions, which is why they don’t drag, and focusing on different things – flexibility, strength or intensity. People tend to favour the ones they’re good at, which is not the point; if you’re strong, you should concentrate on flexibility. 

Hot yoga has a spooky, almost premonitory effect: you never strain anything (at least, I didn’t), but you can feel which bits of your body are going to give out on you 20 years hence. Also, which tilt will one day freeze your neck, which of your back muscles are relying so heavily on the others that they no longer function.

By the end of week three, I was in a state of intense interiority; everything – the pattern on a pub carpet, the shape of a stranger’s head – cast me into a reminiscence. Then came week four, and the more irritating condition of immense energy and boundless possibility. You can only imagine how impossible this is to live with. The only possibility is to keep going; if you can get through the first three months, the sages say, you’ll do yoga for ever.

Source: Zoe Williams, The Guardian.com

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