Friday, October 14, 2011

The Yoga Mat Corollary

So the academic year is back in full swing! The trees are shedding their leaves and it's pitch dark when I get up at 7 a.m. and getting dark when I come home. Normally, the darkness is cause for the blahs, but the new school year always brings a few treats. For example, the perusal of the Volkshochschule (community college) prospectus.

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 student-infected university town - have a thing about further education and yoga mats. Strangely enough, many of these evening courses seem to involve a phase where one gets down on one's yoga mat, clad in comfortable fairtrade sports clothing, and one does meditation exercises to commune with The Nature or The DIY Deities or whatnot. Sometimes, one gets paired up with an earnest-looking retiree, to whom one has give a back-rub. On rare but traumatic occasions, feet have been rubbed. Now, I have a thing about people touching my feet, my knees and my belly-button (seriously: just don't. I will bite), so when I found myself lying in a state of paralysed fear on a foam mat, while a greying ex-hippie* kneaded my bunions and sent my chakras good vibes, I almost fainted with the effort of controlling my cold sweats and convulsions.
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.


Kiwi Kaye said...

I have had the delight today of discovering your blog whilst searching for a pattern for a hot water bottle cover. I have only fairly recently taken up crochet after many years and just love it. The photo of the octagon motifs caught my eye as I adore colour bordered by black. I have ordered the pattern and look forward to the challenge. You are so talented and your writing is a pleasure to read. Your tutorials are fantastic and will be most helpful.

Thank you for being you!

Kaye Prescott
New Zealand

Allyson said...

lol...your title made me smile! makes me think of one of my favorite TV shows!

anon said...

Isn't it funny where we don't like being touched? With me it's the inside of my elbows and (to a lesser extent) the backs of my knees. Makes having a bloodtest fairly interesting as I'm never sure whether I'm going to be able to manage by just gritting my teeth, or whether (and this has happened) I'm going to have no choice but to burst into tears. Very startling for the phlebotomist.
The other point your post raises, is why can we just not say, "No thank you, I'll sit this part out"? It would make more sense than risking the possibility of thumping some poor unsuspecting hippy who probably thinks (s)he's giving you a treat.

Sue said...

I went to yoga once, fell asleep during the meditation which apparently was 'wrong'! Anyway I have a great use for the mats. Use them to block your crochet on, I use my partners mat! (yeah he gave up too)

Susie said...

I live in a liberal university town too and I even DO YOGA AND HAVE A MAT, but if someone wanted to touch me in an evening class I could not cope. Are the Bavarian hippies clothed, I ask with interest and trepidation, having been raised on Eurotrash (the programme not the social group).