Striking a pose turns out to be somewhat of a stretch
MY hamstring was burning, my breathing was laboured and I was fighting a desperate desire to expel wind.
My late-life introduction to yoga was definitely not proving the relaxing experience I'd been promised.
To make it worse, I was surrounded by universally lithe yogis (definitely all smarter than this average bear!) effortlessly contorting their bodies as I simultaneously suffered in a world of pain.
As I grappled with the challenge of sending my legs in opposite directions, the irritatingly calming voice of the instructor urged us all to breathe deeply through each stretch.
While those around me comfortably inhaled and exhaled with long and soothing breaths, I was huffing and puffing like a steam train negotiating a mountainous pass.
And who knew such strength was required to survive a yoga class unscathed? Certainly not me.
My quivering quads silently screamed a united protest each time I attempted an extended squat, and it became increasingly difficult to resist the urge to just stay prone on my mat until the session came to a merciful end.
I know it's not supposed to be about comparing yourself to others, but a furtive glance around me confirmed that this newbie had a long way to go.
My more experienced classmates were all moving seamlessly through imitations of cows, cobras, cats and any number of other animals, while each pose I attempted more closely resembled a clumsy baby elephant.
I thought I'd made a breakthrough when the instructor requested we all take up the "Child's Pose", but apparently sitting with arms crossed, scowling, with your bottom lip drooped was not what she had in mind.
This yoga baptism of fire could have left me literally bent and broken, but I'm proud to report that practice does make perfect (well not perfect, but at least better) and my perseverance is starting to pay off.
I now know the difference between a Downward Dog and a Dagwood Dog (although in honesty still derive more pleasure from the battered/sauce-drenched one), and have mastered some of the basic poses.
I've even done some research and intend to add my own personal touch to classes with the introduction, as required, of an occasional sneaky Wind Relieving Pose (seriously, it's a thing...Google it!).
But let's keep that our little secret.