My town has a relatively big Volkshochschule (which, literally translated, means the People's College - or the Folks' College, as I like to call it in my head.) You can do anything at the VHS (German words are shortened a lot. You can see why.) Anything, from DIY courses to history courses, from How to Make a Felt Hat courses to How To Sue Your Landlord seminars. I read the book from cover to cover every year and pick out all the courses I'm definitely going to do. Like, totally and definitely this time. For realz. I have almost done courses in Swedish, Norwegian, Japanese and German Sign Language. I very nearly attended a DIY Course for Women. I barely dodged a sewing course, seriously considered a wine-tasting course and got as far as picking up a pen to sign up for a mosaic-making workshop. I sometimes surprise myself with my own dynamism.
You see, there's one thing that makes me nervous about all of these courses: yoga mats. Germans - at least the Germans in our liberal
This is Just. Not. Me.
And I tried yoga, I did. You see, I'm a rather hyperactive person - it's why I crochet: I like to be Doing Stuff - and my ex-boyfriend (pah!) thought it would be good for me to offset the stress of Educating The Youth by attending a yoga course at the community college. Back then I was innocent: I didn't know about the Yoga Mat Corollary (Evening Course + Yoga Mat = Horror), and, naturally, was ignorant of the fact that a yoga course would clearly involved a blooming plethora of mats. I found myself amongst a dozen earnest (it's always earnest when a yoga mat is involved) and bendy people, who only needed to have an ankle wrapped around their neck to experience nirvana. I, in contrast, am not bendy AT ALL. Physically, I am built for short sprints (preferably towards food) and not contortions. And meditating is extremely stressful: I lay on the mat wondering if I was relaxing properly - everyone else looked more relaxed than me (I know because I peeped) and how was I supposed to know if my muscles were relaxed? How could I "think of nothing", when thinking of nothing made me wonder if it really was nothing, or did thinking about whether I was thinking about nothing count as something?
I left the class with a migraine. I limped home and had to have a whiskey to settle my nerves.
Frankly, all of this talk of yoga mats has made me weak and I feel the skin on my feet crawling, so I think I probably should stop here and sprint to the kitchen for a yoghurt. We'll talk again tomorrow when I've recovered. xxx
* and please note, I have nothing against greying ex-hippies or current hippies, for that matter, as the Gingerbread family is generally considered to be of the hippie variety. The point is, though, that German hippies have cupboards full to bursting with yoga mats, and the only mat we have at home is one that my great-uncle Joe picked up at the Ballylinan market. He swears it's Persian, but I somehow doubt that a rug hooked in Persia managed to end up in Ballylinan. Though, if you knew Ballylinan, you'd probably understand that stranger things have happened there.