I’d been told for years, ‘you have to do yoga Alan’, “Why?’ being my obvious response, and yes, the conversation doesn’t end with that question. I was always provided with a diatribe of good reasons why Yoga is perfect for everyone, especially people like me, uptight, overachievers, intent on running their bodies into the ground. I never stretch, I work out once a day, sometimes twice, and have done for 45 years. I walk my dog 8 miles a day, so who has time to sit like Gandhi, bottoms up, on a thin mat with 2 bricks for support and a belt that looks like it would be more at home as a prop in a porno movie? Not me! Think again Alan!

I met a lady, who knew a lady, who told a lady to bring me to a class. Just as I have always believed, you ‘don’t knock it until you try it’, so, in for a penny, in for a pound, as we say in good old ‘blighty!

Let me begin by telling you all that I was against this experience from day 1, so, if I was being honest with myself, and that’s something I always try to do, I was certainly, to say the least, skeptical, . My friend Ann, who was also the instructor of the class, had told me that yoga would help extend my suppleness, encourage healing in my mind, body and spirit, AND, and it was a huge AND, heal the aches and pains in my hip, the one I’d just broken. “Will it also enhance my libido?” I asked her, tongue in cheek! “It will keep you away from Viagra for at least a few more weeks” she said, smiling, and ready for the fight that was about to ensue.

Ann runs a class at the local gym that commences around 8 am on a Saturday morning. I thought, (silly me), that it would be me, her, and a few others. No more than 6 or 7 ??. How wrong can one be? I was there at 7:56, on the dot, and low and behold, the room was completely full. There must have been 35 bodies, and 90% of them female. My immediate thought was, “how the heck am I going to fart and not be noticed?” My bum crack was almost lodged in the nose of the woman behind me, and my face was in far to close proximity to another, extremely fat arse, in front of me. This was going to be torture.

Now, just to digress for a moment. I support the famous Glasgow Rangers football club in Scotland. We are the most successful team in the world, and up until last May, when were relegated to the lowest tier of Scottish football due to a financial scandal that rocked the club, we were riding high all over the planet, with 54 championships and another mountain of trophies won in style, either in Scotland or in Europe over our 140 year history. Our rivals are Glasgow Celtic, who we happily, if not cheekily, refer to as The Scum. They follow close behind in the trophy count, but we have more than they do, and that’s all that counts. There is nothing but aggravation between the two sets of supporters, and that rivalry will be the subject of a future blog, one that will be filled with the words fuck and shit and bastards, so you might all enjoy it very much!  There, I was, in my yoga class, my first ever yoga class, and this guy walks in and sits two people away from me. He sort of squeezed in nonchalantly. There was something about him that seemed familiar. Being Scottish, I have an insane habit of being able to tell where people come from at first glance, I have no idea how I do this, but I do, and I’m right more than 95% of the time. I am looking this guy right in his left side as he began his pose, you know, the one where you cross your legs and sit up straight, putting both palms upright on each knee, as if you are about to go ‘Hmmmmmmmm” Harry Krishna style, when it dawned on me that he could just be Scottish. Wasting no time at all, I proceeded to shout over the impending silence, much to the annoyance of my friendly instructor.

“Yo! Jimmy, are you from Glasgow?”

“Yep. You?” came his reply.

“Aye. Football fan?’ This was always the second question I asked anyone who’d just confirmed their place of birth as being the same as mine. I needed to find out if he was a true blue or a tim. A tim being a derogatory term used for a member of the Catholic faith, and an obvious Celtic fan.

“Celtic” came his simple reply. The class was about to start. Agitation from our leader was now showing in the form of a scowl coming from her very New York face.

“Rangers” I whispered back, quietly, with my middle finger already in a ‘flip off’ position. Fuck! This was even worse than I’d ever imagined. 35 women, most of whom were bordering on the obese, and a Celtic fan, crammed into a room the size of my garden shed. I looked to the heavens and prayed for rain, before realizing that a hurricane would have to march in to town and blow the roof off before rain could actually arrive. Where the bloody hell was that Krishna guy when I needed him! Out of the goodness of my heart and the respect I had for our leader, dearest Ann, I calmed down, crossed my legs and prayed that the next hour and fifteen minutes would pass as quickly as a game where Rangers had engineered a 4-0 trouncing of Celtic.

It didn’t.

She bagan. Ann, that is, began what I can only explain as a lesson in biology. Don’t get me wrong, I am not just an ignorant Scotsman, I am an ignorant uneducated Scotsman, without a fucking degree in biology, and after the first three minutes of this class, I was stranded, either up, or down, with one leg, or one arm in mid air, searching for my sternum, my tail bone, hamstring, groin, glute, pelvis et al. It was a nightmare. I was a disaster and old Timmy, you know, he of the Celtic supporters club, was rolling around on his arse (a simpler term could never ever be found for that part of the body!) taking the piss out of me, a yoga virgin, who, by the way, was so tired from every aching muscle in my poor uneducated, non biologically comprehensive body, pulling in every direction other than the ones they were used to pulling in, that I just collapsed on the floor and gazed longingly into heaven, praying for that fucking hurricane to arrive!

I had no clue what was going on, and Ann, in all her subtle glory, kept coming up to me from behind, touching parts of my body that I never ever believed existed, and re balancing my weight or stretching me further than even I could ever imagine, making it even more embarrassing, tortuous and killing completely, my macho image that I’d hope to portray from the moment I’d entered that room. I was fucked, totally fucked, and I never recovered.

The class finished with the always polite call of NAMASTE, and we packed up out accouterments and headed for sanity. But, on the way out, there was still time for some good old Scottish banter.

“You bend like the pack of cards your football team really is” I mentioned to Timmy, in his swollen left ear.

“Aye, and you’re as stiff as the prick who manages your bunch of Proddy (read Protestant) shite bags!” he said in return, and with a wry smile.

And so it was off, back into the world of stiffness, sore hips and distinct lack of biological knowledge for me. Thank God, I would never ever have do that again, well not until the next time!  And by the way where exactly is my sternum anyway?

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