I am a prolific reader of ‘stuff’, or ‘man rubbish’ as Karen calls it. (Her normal trick is to pick my copy of Men’s Health, point to the cover model and ask when my feeble excuse of a body is going to look like that).
Sadly, reading the magazines alone hasn’t turned me into a cover model, and I’ve read enough of them. During my ‘research’, I’ve read plenty of articles extolling the benefits of increasing flexibility, especially in the older, less flexible man.
Training has been tough of late. My body has been pushed to the edge and the net result is that I am constantly stiff! My muscles ache from morning till night.
“Stretch”, I hear you shout! Well I do and I’m good at it, but it just takes so long! I use a foam roller which I hate. I’m surprised they haven’t been banned as an instrument of torture.
Armed with my magazine knowledge of flexibility, I book for a body balance class at my local gym. The class is a mixture of Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi, and sounds ideal.
I arrive in the gym in my standard kit of hoodie, rugby shorts and trainers. I carry a sweat towel and some water. I head for the ‘mind and body’ suite and what first strikes me is that everyone has their own mats, they are all thin, and they all look very, very flexible.
I nervously head into the dark room and find several people sitting on their mats looking very serious. I spot the mat bin and hurriedly chose one. How I wish I had used my other senses in the twilight.
I find a spot at the back, slip off my trainers and sit on my mat, my very damp and very smelly mat.
As my eyes adjust to the light, I can see the rows of mirrors and a handrail running along the wall. All I can think of is the dance room from the kids from fame. I wonder if our instructor will arrive in a leotard and leg warmers, holding a cane and taping vigorously as she shouts instructions.
Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. She was already in the room and sat on the matt adjacent to where I had set up.
I spent the class next to the instructor, with her sympathetically correcting my posture and teaching me the power of the sigh, (not a groan, a groan has no power whatsoever).
I engaged with Mother Earth through my feet and smiled through my heart. I’m not entirely sure what any of it meant, but it was very relaxing.
The hour flew and the 10 minute sleep at the end was very nice. Did it help? I’m not sure but I did feel very relaxed. I’m going back. The normal instructor was away and I’m told the session was a little ‘happy clappy’. I know one thing for sure, I’ll be talking my own mat next time.
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