Trying yoga / My irrational fear of farting in public.
January 12, 2018
I had always wanted to try Yoga, but it was one of those things that I didn’t think I was cut out for. Not least because I didn’t understand how something where I wasn’t running or jumping or sweating buckets could work for me. Yoga was something for the health guru, or the yummy mummy, or the hippy, and something that they took super seriously. I had visions of lithe, bendy types fresh from their yoga retreats in India, casually chatting as they warmed up with their legs behind their head while I desperately struggled to touch my toes and hold in farts.
If I am brutally, embarrassingly honest, fear of farting in public was what put me off yoga. Such a crazy reason when I look back. But I get why. Girls remember when other girls fart, men don’t bat an eyelid or just find it hilarious. Women get really shocked and judge-y, which is ridiculous, because behind closed doors we find farts just as hilarious as men do. (Just me?) My friend once told me a story about a girl who farted in her yoga class and never went back. I was convinced that girl would be me.
My tipping point with finally trying yoga was when my partner decided to try it after a work colleague persuaded him into it. He had suffered from several sports injuries over the months prior, so gave it a go in the hope it might be a more low-impact way of giving his muscles a workout than running. In the words of Scarlett O’ Hara I was so “pea green with envy” and full of FOMO (fear of missing out to the uninformed) that after some tough talking from a friend I booked myself into my first yoga class in early August 2017. It took guts for me to do that – I have really had to learn to be someone who goes out of her comfort zone in life and it has taken me years to get there – joining a class alone is intimidating, especially when you have no idea what to expect. I had no idea what to expect (short of a few times I halfheartedly tried Asthanga yoga from a book I bought in the mid-noughties when I decided I wanted to be like Madonna, which frankly does not count).
On arrival I was greeted by a friendly group of women of mixed ages, which defied my expectations of bright young things with ballet dancer bodies looking down their noses at me. The studio where the class was held had enough room for around 10 or 12 yoga students – a nice intimate class, and far less intimidating than a huge studio full of more people there to witness my lack of flexibility.
The class was taken by a young woman who clearly had come out of the womb practicing yoga, and for whom getting her legs behind her head was probably akin to blinking. I recall trying to get even a quarter of the way into poses she seemed to be able to do with ease, and really struggling. I remember thinking “this is not for me” and wondering if I had made a terrible mistake, but I gave it all a good go. The teacher later told us that this was her last class and she wanted to leave us with something to remember her by at which I breathed an inner “THANK THE LORD” because clearly this wasn’t a normal class, and perhaps she was challenging us more than normal.
Several downward dogs and impossible hip-flexing poses later, I had survived the hour-long class without breaking any limbs or better yet, without farting! There was hope for me yet! I left strangely fascinated and keen to see what new contortions the new instructor would encourage me into in my next class….