8 am, and it’s an effort to crack my eyes open to the sunlight streaming in from my transparent curtains. I fumble around for my phone – I know I’ve left it somewhere, either under my pillow or on the growing pile of books beside my mattress. The time tells me I should get up, but I grumble with myself. It’s a Sunday, I should be able to sleep in… Why can’t I just sleep the day away?
I know my answer, but at this moment, I don’t like it. Cursing my tendencies to make resolves and resolutions in moments of weakness, I grumpily unfurl myself and stumble to the main house to wash my face, which is streaked and smudged with make up from the night before. I stopped wearing make up a while ago unless I have a wedding to sing for or something, so I am immediately aware of how it feels, caked and stale on my face. Ugh.
Back in my room with a fresher face but still-sleepy eyes, I walk over to my computer, check my mail, smile at a message from my big sister and then look for the GERI_YOGA icon on my desktop. Ah, there it is.
I start it from the beginning, but quickly pause it so I can get myself ready. I wear a headband on my forehead so my fringe doesn’t flop over into my eyes, loose shorts and a looser tank top, and fix a thick blanket on the floor to protect my knees – which, I’ve found out, are really weak. In the end, there I am, looking rather frightful, but nevertheless, ready.
I press play.
This is a yoga DVD I stole off either my aunt or my mother. I’ve had it sitting on my desk for ages and for a while, that was almost enough – that Iowned a Yoga DVD in the first place, which implied good intentions to use it at some point in the (near? far?) future. I would look at it on some days and almost feel tempted to put it on and have a go. Almost.
A couple of nights ago, in the depths of a mood which started off pretty foul but ended up with me resolving to adopt a cleaner, healthier and altogether happier lifestyle, I pulled out that DVD and chucked it in my Macbook before I had a chance to change my mind.
It was actually really great. It’s a DVD that’s been made by yoga teacher Katy Appleton and her celebrity protégé, Geri Halliwell – yes, Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls – who was once quite… let’s say ‘full figured’, but who now has a body that I would probably kill a lot of people for. She’s chatty and cute and it’s all quite simple – and best of all, there’s not a lot of overly-spiritual, new-agey jibber jabber, which I am still quite cynical about (although I have to admit, it’s growing on me).
All it consists of are some warming up exercises and the sun salutation, and in about half an hour it’s all over. Well, there is final section, innocently titled ‘postures’, but you have to do head stands and contort yourself into all sorts of hideous looking positions so I am not going to venture into that territory for a while, lest I break all my bones.
As everybody knows, yoga is all about breathing – it teaches you how to breathe to release energy, how to concentrate on your breath and, by doing so, how to bring yourself into the present moment. I used to think it was all pretty silly but it makes sense, especially when she (Katy) puts it like this:
It’s so important to be present. We’re not actually alive in the future or in the past. The only place we’re truly alive is in the here and now – the present moment… So it grounds you back into the present moment, so you’re enjoying yourself.
Apart from that, it’s oddly relieving to fill your mind with the sound of your own breathing for a short while, and rid it of all the other rubbish that usually occupies that space. The first time I went through the motions, I cried almost all the way through – it was part sadness, part relief, part just simply release of everything – the good, the bad, the trivialities, the whole day.
What I like about yoga is that it’s not strenuous; it simply calms and relaxes – and for someone like me, who avoids exercising at all costs, it’s perfect. And while I don’t know if this will perform miracles and give me a body to die for, I just feel that it’s healthy and good for me. And I have long needed to do something good for myself. I’ve been the queen of quick fixes – in more ways than one – but now I want something that’s more constant; something that will help me progress over a period of time, and hopefully, make me feel healthier, more fit, and just more positive.
And there’s a lot to be said for positivity.
So… To Yoga and self-improvement. My new reason to get up every morning.