Friday, 15 October 2010


disgusted by my physical condition
shocked by the bathroom scales tipping thirteen stone
feeling like the tin man from the wizard of oz
this morning i am back on the living room carpet
for the first time in quite a while
fit body, fit mind
oh aint it the truth!
those ancient indian sages sure had it worked out
long before modern science came along
long before the dieticians and the physiotherapists
the fitness coaches and the shrinks
i was born with minimal natural ability in this area
my wiry frame has always helped me to get around a football pitch
but i've never had any flexibility in my long spider-like limbs
a few weeks ago at football i watched a japanese student limbering up before the game
as he stretched he was practically doing the splits
i was exhausted just watching him
but a wonderful thing about yoga is its non-competitive nature
the only person you compete against is yourself
so you can't lose!
yoga also works as a kind of meditation
uncluttering the cluttered mind
many of the poses require 100% concentration to execute properly
it aint easy to focus on your breathing, position and movement all at once
often the mind wonders off somewhere else
like a soldier stepping out of rank
and needing to be brought back into line
it's a constant battle
today i unfurl the mat
i set myself the immediate challenge of sitting cross-legged
like in primary school assembly
palms resting on knees
i hold this for a while trying to settle my attention defecit disordered mind
i stretch out my legs in a sitting position a few feet apart
i swivel my ankles so that my big toes are touching
hold and release
hold and release
i stretch out my left foot straight ahead and point my toe
i hold this for a while then bring my toes towards me to stretch my calf
hold and release
hold and release
repeat with the right foot
it strikes me that the uninitiated watching this would see very little happening
that's the beauty of yoga
seemingly inoccuous movements and changes in positioning and balance
are revealed as having huge impacts on joint, muscle and tendon
just as holding a bad posture can put the body out of kilter
damaging the spine
causing an uneven gait
so the tiny stretch in this or that direction can help to realign
therein lies the importance of absolute control
steady transition from one pose to another
so different from the wild lunges and hurried twists and turns of many sports
risking damage and injury at every turn
therein lies the beauty of the process
not that i can claim any mastery whatsoever of it
but i make sure that at all times i remain in control

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