I signed up for yoga.
After almost a year of giving lame excuses to myself, postponing, trying to psycho myself and doing a bit of research on the its benefits, I finally found a good place to kickstart my involvement in yoga. A nice cozy studio that caters for women and children only, located in Jalan Telawi, Bangsar. As usual, my decision is made at-the-spur-of-the-moment; I called up the studio owner last Friday and on Monday, I was there for my first class. The initial investment set me back at RM300 (oh, for the sake of toned arms and body!) for a yoga mat, annual fee of RM35 and the foundation programme 8 sessions at RM200. Not to forget a new track-bottom and tight leggings which I wore inside in case the track-bottom slid down when we have to do one of those legs-up-in-the-air movement.

I changed at the office at 6pm, and by 6.30pm Suami Terchenta came to fetch me. We were rather early; the studio hadn’t even opened yet. About 10 minutes later, an Indian man came, unlocked the door and after two minutes of bickering discussing on whether to go inside, we went up after the man. It turned out that he was the instructor. I was taken aback. How am I going to take off my headscarf when doing yoga if the instructor is a man? I was doubtful and was prepared to leave with Suami Terchenta. Then again, what the heck, I’ll just keep my headscarf on if that’s the case, what’s the big deal. That was how determined I am to keep my yoga resolution.

Back to more than a year ago.

It was Abby’s idea to start yoga. Abby is my school best chum, and she has been practising yoga for more than a year. On her last visit to KL, she kept harping about the benefits of yoga. Relieve stress, improve concentration and focus, tone up body, improve flexibility and most importantly, lift up your mood. Everyone knows I’m such a moody person. Wouldn’t it be great that after going through yoga, I’d turn into a chirpy bunny? Wait a minute. Bunnies don’t chirp. But they are happy happy lot, that’s my point. Plus, who knows that from yoga, I’ll be ready to join physical activities such as jogging and playing sports? My next year’s resolution will be to become more active physically (a.k.a. lose more weight).

Coming back to yesterday.

I came to the studio yesterday for my first two sessions in the foundation programme. For the first session, there were me and another girl which I think her name is Savithri. She speaks eloquent English with a bit of British accent and she explained that she signed up with her sister but missed the first class because she had just come back from the UK. That made me feel slightly inferior – this girl must be a high-powered career woman and I am just an ordinary executive *feel small*. When the lesson started, I pushed out the negative thought so I can focus on the instructor’s instructions. We started with relaxing our mind and our body as we lie down on our yoga mat. The idea is to clear out all irrelevant thoughts, emptying our minds to prepare for the exercise. After relaxation, we sat up to do the eye practise - looking up, down, right and left – without moving our head. Then we did neck practise, rotating our neck around slowly. After that, we sat cross-legged and were taught the proper way of breathing.

‘Think of a balloon… As air comes in, the balloon expands. As the air goes out, the balloon contracts. When you watch a baby sleep, you will see that when he breathes in, his stomach swells up as air fills in. And when he exhales, his stomach goes down as air goes out. This is the proper way of breathing.’

When we both have mastered this, we went to the next level – the ‘sun salutation’ steps. The step starts with standing straight. Then as we breathe deeply, we raise our hands until our elbows are straight above our head, then we clasp our palms flat together towards our chest as we exhale. Inhale, the hands go up again and we arch our upper body as far back as we can. Exhale and we go down to touch the floor while standing with straight knees. Inhale and we kneel with one leg to the back. It goes on until we complete the steps in sequence. The first try was pretty bad. I can’t arch back, my fingers can’t reach the floor, I was often off-balance. As we repeated for several times, the movements become more fluid and easier to do. That was for the first class.

For the second session, there were five students in the class. I noted that the other ladies are all slim and have great figures. I instantly felt like Betty Suarez in Ugly Betty. Then again. Oh Carneyz, just shut up and focus on the yoga steps.

We repeated the exercises in the first session, and then moved on to more complex steps. Raise our feet up in the air while breathing in. Then slowly let down our feet while exhaling. Easy? Not if you have heavy legs and weak stomach muscles.

At the end of the yoga session, surprisingly my body feels a lot more relaxed and refreshed while my mind is clearer and lighter. I really enjoyed my first class and look forward to the second class. Only thing is, I wish I have a friend to accompany me for these classes. Then at least when there’s a need for a partner, I won’t be the only odd one out. And even though the other ladies are nice and polite, it’s very obvious that they are not interested to become friends. They already have their friend / sister who signed up with them. Or they are there to do yoga and nothing more.

So, kalau ada kawan2 yang teringin nak join yoga tapi takde teman, jom la join yoga. Best tau. Lebih2 lagi kalau yang kerjanya stress 😉

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