Thursday, September 8, 2011

Yoga and me!

Well I promised a post about me taking up yoga. Yoga is not something I ever thought I would do but I'm always game to try anything once.

To set the scene, I have gained a lot of weight this year. I believe I was born in the wrong era. I should have been born in the seventeenth century. Rubens would have loved me. My figure would have been the width, sorry, height of fashion!

Venus at the Mirror - Peter Paul Rubens
I looked at some of the photos we took in Safranbolu and I nearly died of the shock. That large, large, lady couldn't be me. It was definitely time to do something. So I hit the pool. I started with swimming for 45 minutes twice a day. I like to lie down to exercise.

My neighbour also left me under no illusions about my weight gain. After the barbecue party, Deserted Wife approached me at the pool. She told me how shocked she was at how much weight I had put on this year. I should stop eating desserts - as I told you earlier I had been given the job on making desserts for thirty people for the barbecue as a punishment, so I pulled out all the stops. Telling Deserted Wife I only made desserts for parties was to no avail. I was told I needed to keep exercising  and stop eating until I looked like her. English Gent, sitting beside me as usual, nearly choked on his lemonade. He muttered under his breadth that she must have no mirrors in her house. One word, cellulite!!

In the meantime, Ankara Lady told me she had begun to go to yoga three times a week and invited me to join her.
Ankara Lady.

I had visions of having to stand on my head, twist my legs up behind me ears, chanting ooommm.

As I said I'll try anything once. So the following Sunday I set off and we met Liz our yoga teacher. She doesn't give classes as such but is happy to show a group of friends what's what. The setting was beautiful. Class was beside the pool.

The view from the pool.
 The first part of the lesson was easy.  All I had to do was listen as Liz explained her yoga background. This was easy. I could manage this. Class started off gently. There were just four of us. It was Hatha Yoga based on stretching and breathing. Funny how we had to be reminded to breathe!

I really enjoyed the classes. They provided some funny moments, like when I was told to drop my chin to my chest and then breathe. Had she not taken a proper look at me? This was easy peasy for the others but I was in danger of smothering!

I could stretch but could I balance? No wonder I keep having accidents and falling over. I have no balance. The exercises had me scurrying to the nearest wall for support. And as for trying to balance sitting down holding my feet out at an angle. That gave arise to some hilarious moments.

It looks so easy.

Ankara Lady had a sore back so modifies the exercise
Cilgin Kiz, what in the name of God are you doing??? 

Breathe, breathe, don't forget to breathe!

Looks slightly more graceful from this angle but my face was purple. Liz made me hold the position until she took the second photo

I learned the following at Yoga class:
  • The words for body parts in Turkish.
  • My sense of balance is terrible.
  • Mind is stronger than matter.
  • Don't moisturize before class, it's impossible to grip body parts and hold on when smothered in aftersun.
  • If at first you don't succeed try and try and try and try and try and try again.
  • The support of friends is better than the support of walls.
  • A belly laugh is good for the soul.
  • Don't look at photos of yourself, mind is stronger than matter, you can imagine youself graceful.
  • Yoga is a wonderful relaxant, if it could be bottled, someone would make a fortune.
I even learned to stand like a drunken stork - there's a definite lean to my right!
Best of all, five weeks and some swimming sessions thrown in, I'm down a dress size. Only two more sizes to go. Deserted Wife now allows me one spoon of dessert!


  1. Congratulations - keep up the great work.

  2. I love this post so much it made me giggle. The pics are awesome and really add to it - the setting looks ideal I am so jealous! Everything you said about things you've learnt are spot on hehe. Ahhhh I so need to get back into yoga.

  3. Loved this post. Through yoga I have learned I need my feet really stink and foot stink makes your yoga mat stink. I just poured an entire bottle of cleaner on it and left it in the sun to disinfect....or so I hope. Kudos on losing a dress size!

  4. Oh edit out I first sentence please. One should always re-read before posting...

  5. I have just signed up for my first hot yoga class in aim of loosing a bit (ok a lot!) of weight and chilling out a bit. My studio is not as picturesque as that though - looks lush :-)
    However, it's good to know other people look a tad odd whilst 'posing' as well as me! (Sorry, but true!) mwah x

  6. Oh lord Mary, I know now why I love you...we share the same sense of humor...and balance. These photos could very well have been me. Thanks so much for making my day! I will be chuckling every time I think of this post.

    Makes me wish we had a yoga class somewhere close...I'd be willing to have a go at it. :D
    ~cath xo

  7. This was the funniest post ever! I nearly choked on my tea as I was reading this. I think I would tear a muscle if I had to do yoga but it does look like fun! Hang in there..I took up walking recently because I cannot stand to look at myself in the mirror any more :(

  8. Glad you all enjoyed this post. It's one I enjoyed writing, though I did pause before I hit the upload button on the photos:-) But then I thought so what, if it gives some of you a fraction of the pleasure and the laughter the classes gave me it would be worth it.

    Thom, waiting for my Yoga DVD to arrive. Hopefully I'll find a class but in the meantime I'll try it out in the privacy of my sitting room. Wouldn't want anyone to see me in yoga positions!

    Janine, I thought that this post might appeal to you, as you love yoga.

    Lucy, I hope you enjoy you classes as much as I enjoyed mine.

    Marie, is it the fact that you got up close and personal with your feet? You look so much more flexible than me and of course there is the belly dancing! It is probably the Moroccon heat.

    Cath, my soul sister, I think my photos would remove anyone's fear of making a fool of themselves, I've blazed the trail. They could only look good after this.

    Nelieta, I fully sympathise with the looking in the mirror. I've been there. Just remember two things. 1. Stand straight on, never go for a side view, in my case that's disasterous. 2. What you see in the mirror is an image and doesn't reflect our true inner beauty. Our figures are just a small and relatively unimportant part of who we are.

  9. Great job, Mary! Who said we Rubenesque women can't do yoga>? ;p

  10. Wonderful job, and thanks for sharing the photos, Mary. An inspiration.

  11. Good for you! I've been promising myself and everyone for years that I'll try Yoga and somehow, never get around to it. Anyway, I have a good excuse - semi-excuse - as I have a hip replacement and can't do contortions. But I can, and should, try some of the other stuff. Doubt I would keep it up for long. No staying power when it comes to anything like physical exercise - except for walking.

  12. Great post Mary! Those photos are priceless lol. I took a (yes one) yoga class once. I would like to go try again but I cannot even express into words how much I hate the downward facing dog! Oh and deserted wife has some nerve!

  13. I love this post. I love it so much I can't even say how much! But I am smiling -- and I am inspired!


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