I am, according to various accounts, a bottle of bubbly rage, and it’s been taking the best of me. So when I let my editor know I wished she survived the Ebola virus, she sent me to a yoga class.
I protested; you see, I can barely afford to purchase a cup of coffee from the canteen, let alone my own little piece of Zen. It turns out, however, that Zen isn’t so expensive, so bolstered with my editor’s promise of a €3.50 refund, I speeded over to the Naxxar civic centre, where I was to Be One With Myself. Strangely enough, I was quite willing to try this out, and believe you me, I’m hardly the type to hang out with a five-strong conglomeration of women on a Tuesday evening to get rid of all the stress accumulated in my body.
“Looking back, the whole thing was one whole stretch after the other”
Naxxar Day Centre is a pretty place. It’s well heated, has a latent smell of toast and tea and is in a good state of upkeep. To my right, there is a framed picture of president Eddie, and at the back, Mgr Pawlu Cremona looks upon us wishing us every blessing from above, like he does at the end of pastoral letters.
Mats on the freshly-mopped floor, and we start off with stretching. Looking back, the whole thing was one whole stretch after the other. Legs planted as wide apart as our shoulders, we gyrate our hips, round, round, round, arching forward and backward, Clockwise, then the Other Way Round (somehow there’s always someone who will forget which way doth the clock tick), to the effect that I looked like a drunken giraffe at a hula party. Then we had to stretch upwards, inhaling and exhaling with the slow movements of our hands, upwards, downwards. The rest of the exercises seemed to be variations on the same theme. It’s hard. Then we had to balance on one foot, while raising the other leg in the air. My ill-soled feet are horribly inadequate to balance all 95 kilograms of me. So I yogi-hopped.
The spine twist is a cute stretch. You sit down, cross one leg and turn around, gently twisting your spine. As I was twisting mine, looking back, the Archbishop looked perplexed. What are you doing, my son?
The highlight of the evening wasn’t my yogi-hopping or the spine twists. It was the relaxation exercises. We lie down, focusing on our stomach rising up and down with the breathing. Being told that our body was sinking and crashing into the ground. Sinking and crashing into the ground. Sinking and crashing into the…
I can hardly recall what happened later. I’m told that on several occasions people sleep during this time. At some point Noel, the instructor, told us to tense our muscles, one by one, and then untense them. I can’t recall if we stretched any more after that, or if we kept torturing the imprisoned breath in our stomach. All I remember is that I felt docile and relaxed, and that I slept like a baby.
A 6 foot, 95kg clumsy baby who swore at other drivers and drove like a madman, just the day after.
This article was originally published in The Insiter, the University of Malta’ student publication.