It started with the farts. It was something he ate or drank but it was particularly bad that morning. And it was yoga morning. My friend Kath was coming with us for the second time and I said to André that he needed to get rid of all that wind before class, preferably before we picked Kath up en route to class because no one wants to be trapped in a car with that.
I was in a bad mood because we were running a little late as usual. Then I was in a bad mood because I was actually really achey – my right buttock continues to be angry all by itself most days, but the pain has spread to my hip, down my thigh to my knee now. I was grumpy and I did NOT FEEL LIKE YOGA. Nothing about me felt Om at all. And if someone had said Namaste to me, I quite possibly would have punched them in the face.
On the way there, Kath expressed how she really hoped she wasn’t stuck next to a particularly smelly old lady this week who had been there the week before. Not smelly as in old-person-smelling-of-wee smelly, but as in TOO MUCH PERFUME smelly.
‘Why,’ Kath pondered, ‘Do people assume just because THEY like a smell, that everyone else is going to?’
And we all nodded in agreement as Kath told tales of an elderly family friend who you could always tell had visited even after she’d long left the house because of a trail of her perfume she left behind her. Like that cloud that follows Pepé le Pieu around in cartoons. You know the type of old lady. And this one favoured a particularly strong concoction which…I kid you not…is called ‘Youth Dew’ by Estée Lauder. If I had been organised enough to have a cup of tea to spit out all over the car windscreen at that point then spit I would have done.
‘Youth Dew?!!!’ I guffawed at Kath.
‘Yes, honestly. Youth Dew.”That sounds like something that falls from a teenager’s armpit!’ I said.
‘Or something you can only get off a teenage boy’s bedclothes with a hammer and chisel,’ Andre chirped in.
But apparently old ladies like to wear Youth Dew. Whichever marketing team came up with that title needs to seriously rethink their career choices. I don’t think I’d be any more tempted to put something called ‘Youth Dew’ behind my ears than I would a product called ‘Scrotal Cheese’ on my toasted crumpets. But Youth Dew….it’s a real thing. Right up there with Colon Cleaner as my new least favourite sounding product.
We arrived *just* in time for class (and then only because it was running a few minutes late). And I was anxious because I’d scheduled a client for only an hour after the class was due to finish and concerned about getting stuck in the dreadful traffic jam on the Maidstone bridge on the way home (roadworks Grrr). An hour of enforced relaxation did not appeal one bit. It’s true, ladies and gents. I was chimping out a bit.
At this point André was refused entry to the gym because he’d taken his pass out of his wallet and left it at home by mistake and only just realised. He said he’d drive home and come get us both later, but my chimp went into panic about him not making it back in time and then me being late for my client. So he went and had a mooch around Dunelm Mill for an hour instead. Nevertheless I was feeling angry. My butt, hip, thigh and knee hurt. I was anxious about being late for my client. I was cross about André forgetting his pass. I was cross at the receptionist for not just letting him in because he has a friendly face and he’s my boyfriend. I was angry and my right buttock felt really angry indeed.
When we entered the yoga room it was a bit cold again. I think the same room is used for really high intensity huffing and puffing type workouts before yoga and they like the air conditioning on. It’s never really warmed up in time for our class since the weather turned colder. I hate the cold. I was cross at the air conditioning. I was cross that I’d taken my cardy off. I was still cross with André.
But, I did what I was told by the nice lady, Jules, who runs the class. I lay on my mat, breathing, checking in with how my body felt against the support (the floor…why can’t she just say ‘the floor’?) and doing gentle movements to get us all started. As predicted, my right buttock stubbornly refused to unclench or relax at all. But I kept going. This particular class seemed to be really focused on the hip joints and pelvis. And it became very apparent that the Gods had blessed us by André’s enforced absence from the class. Each of the movements, which Jules gave its proper (probably Indian) name, seemed absolutely designed, without question…to make any normal human being either fart, poop on the floor, or give birth. Yoga teachers everywhere will recognise the descriptions of these movements, no doubt, and be screaming at their screens the proper, dignified names to the positions that I don’t know/remember, but I am going to describe them exactly as they felt/seemed to me. There was the ‘making your baby fart’ position that I used to put Jude in as a teeny tot when he had colic pains – laying on his back with his knees up near his shoulders/chest to try and encourage the windy pops out. Try it and see what I mean. Now try it after eating beans or chick peas or peanuts. Yeah, André would not have made it through that.
And then there was the ‘taking a dump in the woods’ position. Squatting with legs akimbo resting on heels, bearing down into our buttocks, rocking the pelvis back and forth. I felt like I could have laid an egg. You could palpably feel the tension in the room from the collective terror of old ladies, me, Kath and the Asian lad who does the competitive loud breathing, all clenching our sphincters for dear life – trying to maintain control.
We did lunges, more squats, grabbing our big toes with our hands while rocking backwards and side to side, lifting one leg up and out whilst bending the other knee towards our chest. Just about every position you could think of to encourage the expulsion of gas. I thanked the LORD that André wasn’t in that class at least seven times during that hour. I don’t know what he had eaten, but whatever it was would have operatically warbled from his pert butt cheeks the entire class. As it was, when the entire room full of people made it to the end of the class without even one tiny trump, I honestly felt like we should have given ourselves a huge round of applause. At some points I was doubled up in such tummy-pressured positions that I felt that if I’d relaxed for a moment my entire lower intestine, spleen and pancreas would have fallen out my bottom. I’ll say one thing for this yoga class – it may not be as high impact on some of the muscles in my body as say aerobics or kickboxing, but my marmite starfish gets such a good workout I could probably lift weights with it. Olympic level arsehole control. It’s a benefit they do not tell you about on the cool adverts for yoga everywhere.
Competitive sighing boy actually let other people breath out later than him this time when we were ordered to exhale our cleansing breaths. I wondered for a moment if he could have chanced upon this blog – felt suddenly self-conscious, decided that being the latest, loudest breather in yoga wasn’t worth it after all. I found myself worrying about him. Why had he given up what had previously been so important to him. Was he depressed? Maybe he too was too busy concentrating on holding farts in to care.
Before I knew it, the end of the class had come, and we were all instructed to lay on our mats, breathing slowly along with the nice music as per usual for a bit more relaxation and meditation. And laying there I realised that a) the room had warmed up, b) my hip and knee weren’t hurting any more, c) the yoga teacher probably gets her kicks from putting us in these positions and then telling us to enjoy it whilst knowing full well we are all straining to keep our rectal dignity, d) my right buttock didn’t feel angry any more and e) neither did I.
Yoga. Surprisingly relaxing even on days when you want to punch people in the face.