Lessons from the Hare Krishnas

I did it. I took the plunge. After years of poo-pooing the idea of the downward-facing dog, mantis-tree-child-flaming peacock poses, I embarked on my very first yoga class.

What led me up to this point was a change in weltanschauung from one of cynicism to one of experimentation. Despite my innately curmudgeonly nature, I have embraced this change in attitude tenfold.

Which leads me to Tuesday night, and to the Hare Krishna temple in Cape Town.

To say I was like a duck out of water would be an understatement. Not that a yoga class is particularly intimidating, but there was something daunting about being in the zen-like presence of the yogis while not being able to cross your legs correctly.

The class itself was a a blend of traditional Hatha and Vinyasa Flow. Concepts that meant absolutely nothing to me, but ones that I now have an increased affinity for.

Breathe. Stretch. Hold. Breathe. Stretch. Schwitz. Repeat.

Seems simple, but each pose requires a level of awareness to enhance it’s impact. Releasing your inhibitions is not just a fantastic Natasha Beddingfield lyric, it is also about becoming present with your mind and body and is bladdy difficult, let me tell you!

My tree pose looked more like a one-legged drunk on a stag do, while my chair pose went down like a homesick mole but I got there in the end, creaky knees be damned!

I took particular pleasure in the stretching that came after the poses. I could feel my body losing the tension and ridding itself of the stresses that permeate my day. It was liberating.

I think I will need a few more classes to fully experience the spirituality of yoga, but I did leave the studio with a new found appreciation for my body, particularly the need to keep it loose and limber.

The whole experience was rounded off with a buffet meal consisting of various vegetarian dishes and tasty delights.

There’s something to be said for leaving that vacuous comfort zone and opening your mind, body, and chakras to new experiences.

Namaste has trumped Namastaying still.