05 Mar Namaste
I know it’s been a long time between drinks since my last Ang I Am story … I’ve had a bit on, what with signing off on full time parenting, moving house, writing a book, planning my golden gap year and desperately searching for my passion and purpose (thought I’d just slip that one in). All these tasks are all still very much ‘works in progress’ (other than signing off on full time parenting, which I totally nailed in record time.) So, I guess now is as good a time as any to start sharing some stories again. At the risk of sounding like a knob (with a silent k), I have recently been dipping my toes into the murky waters of self-discovery in an attempt to uncover my passion and purpose. As the original Captain Practical, I cringe even writing those words.
I am the girl who would be voted least likely to engage in any new age, woo-woo journeys of self-discovery. I am ruthlessly pragmatic, a doer not a dreamer and so logical, that I worry that the right side of my brain may have been evicted in order to make more space for the left. The closest I’ve come to a spiritual awakening was the incessant Enya music that played on loop after my first child was born. Her ethereal tones were the only thing that could lull that kid to sleep. They also had a somniferous effect on me and I recall many a night waking on the floor next to her cot, having to employ full ninja, stealth, combat mode to crawl out of her room on all fours. So, in fairness, it was probably less of a spiritual awakening and more like hallucinatory apparitions induced by extreme sleep deprivation. I have never subscribed to new age ideologies or introspective navel-gazing, and have been known to scoff at (and occasionally belittle) those who do. Which is why my newfound curiosity and eagerness to seek out alternative avenues of self-exploration, has taken even me by surprise. I have vowed to step out of my utilitarian and military precision-like comfort zone and step into a far less familiar zone full of introspection, wind chimes and pan-pipey music.
I guess it’s only natural that some self-discovery pursuits would resonate with me more than others. I established early, that I am rubbish at meditation and mindfulness, but not to be deterred, I thought I’d try my hand at yoga, which seemed to me to offer all the benefits of mindfulness with a bit of extra grunt to distract my wayward mind. As luck would have it, my beautiful friend Hermione gifted me with three private yoga sessions with her ‘go to’ yoga guru as a gift. Perfect timing. I’d tried yoga before and to be fair, quite enjoyed it, but I’d never really felt like it gave me enough bang for my buck. But after perusing many aspirational instagram accounts depicting bikini clad super models assuming gravity defying poses, I resolved that I clearly must not have persevered for long enough. My private sessions were scheduled for three consecutive Saturday’s, at 8am in my new apartment. I had it all planned out. I would rise at seven, chant a few affirmations over a cup of green tea, pop on some soothing pan-pipes tunes and do some stretches in preparation for my class.
Yeah …nah. The night before my first session I decided to invite a few friends over for some impromptu housewarming drinks. Just one or two champagnes and an early night I said. I need to be fresh for yoga I said. Who am I kidding? At midnight after consuming every bottle of alcohol in my apartment (including the clean skin cooking wine), we decided we’d go to a cool little cocktail bar in the city for a quick nightcap. With a few drinks under my belt, turning off my ‘fun button’ and re-donning my Captain Sensible hat has never been my strong suit. Fast forward three hours and four espresso martinis and I finally stumbled home with exactly five hours to sober up and execute my zen inducing preparatory ritual. I am sure that you can see where this is heading. After hitting ‘snooze’ five times and feeling as though a small animal had died in my mouth, I hurriedly prepared for the arrival of my yogi. Panadol replaced affirmations and instant coffee replaced green tea. I looked (and smelt) like The wreck Of The Hesperus.
If it weren’t for the fact that this was a gift from a friend, I may have assumed the foetal position and feigned death (not far from the truth). My yoga guru arrived, wearing the obligatory poo catcher pants and Birkenstocks and greeted me with an overly enthusiastic Namaste. (insert prayer hands emoji). He reeked of clean living as much as I reeked of vodka. I suspect the closest thing he gets to a big night out is a scared moon ritual followed by a spicy chai latte’. Oh shit. I knew this was going to be bad. In actual fact, it was worse than bad. The smell of stale alcohol oozed out of every pore of my body. His obsession with downward dogs should be reported to the RSPCA and when he suggested a headstand, I think that I may have shed a tear. That was quite possibly the longest hour of my life. Mental note to self … hangovers and yoga are not a match made in heaven.
Whilst I managed to arrive sober to my next two sessions, and I did in fact enjoy them, I was still left with that niggling feeling that I was only just scratching the surface of what yoga had to offer and that it would be a slow burn kind of journey for me. I was not going to gain any mammoth shifts in my self-awareness or have any sudden epiphanies regarding my life’s purpose via a weekly yoga session and without understanding why I’m “saluting” the sun or what Namaste even means for that matter, it all just felt a bit disingenuous. I’m curious and keen to dig deeper into the whole philosophy and ideology behind yoga, and to that end I’ve decided to add a yoga retreat to my Gap Year itinerary (which I will share in due course) … and then bore you all with a gazillion instagram shots of me doing headstands in Nepal. Namaste’