Tuesday 13 September 2016

Anyone for Yoga?

Morning sky on the 11th
Readers who know my brothers and I will know that we went through our first 50 or so years without a sporty bit in our DNA. We know nothing of soccer and at school would swerve outdoor team stuff as often as possible when options like cross country running or canoeing were available. We have precious little interest in any other sports (except maybe rallying, off roading or possibly Formula 1). Gyms were BAD places and, as far as I know, none of us did that 'subscription' thing when gyms became fashionable.

Yellow hot poker?
Lately, youngest bro, Mark, has been getting into the weight loss and fitness thing, and his blog posts and Facebook have been well laced with various exercise classes and words like 'biceps curl' and 'abs'. Most recently he has been doing "Total Body Conditioning" and "Balance Classes". I have no idea what these involve so, Mark, you'll have to forgive me if I have an image in my head of you balancing along one of those 3" wide beams like a latter-day Nadia Comaneci.

Blue the cat (top centre) looking a bit beleaguered when his
day time hidey hole is invaded by all the birds taking shelter
from the rain. Blue hates chickens and always gives them a
wide berth.
I am not sure I have been inspired by all this but when Liz organised some Yoga classes at work and included, for the first time, a men's beginners class, I found myself agreeing to support this worthy clause. I was, of course, scared stiff as it would be a first time doing anything formally 'fitness' and I was also worried that I might be the only bloke who turned up. I felt a bit like a school kid being dropped off at school by her Mum as Liz drove me down there and waved me off. Her 'Mixed Ability (Ladies) class had their session after ours. I am also, I think, the only bloke in Roscommon who doesn't own jogging 'pants' so I was attired in a pair of rarely used long pyjama bottoms which were dark-ish and could pass muster in a dim light. (Yoga instructors seem to like dim light and tinkly piano music for atmosphere).

Nice low angle shot of one of the hens with all 5 babies.
Well, it went OK in the end. There were 4 other lads there, mostly as old and creaky as me. I have to admit to spending the first 15 minutes (warming up time?) feeling a bit rebellious, hurting at the unprecedented pain being done to hip joints and convinced that I had done what I agreed to - go along and try it the once - so I could bow out after this session. Yoga? Tried it once but it wasn't for me. But then, as I warmed up, I began to enjoy the stretches, the heat and the pain in under-used muscles and joints. It helped that I didn't feel completely useless as the lads around me were groaning and gasping just as loud as me and the man to my left at one stage grunted a very audible 'Aaahh Jeeeeezus!' which had us falling about laughing.

30 minutes in I had changed my mind completely and was determined to come back for the remaining (5?) sessions of the course and I have to also admit to a lot of respect and admiration for our teacher, easily the bendiest woman I have ever seen in action (maybe with the exception of Nadia C?). She apparently races around Roscommon doing these classes in all manner of villages and towns, most evenings. She is in huge demand and Liz was (she says) so lucky to get her for Lisacul. Yep, I was actually quite proud of myself that evening and the next day, wearing my whole-body aches and pains with pride. I knew I had had a good work out and hope that those joints and muscles will all be a little better for it, all be it I will never be as flexible as 'Teach'.

Who knew that the membranes inside your 'dippy egg' could
have this honeycomb structure?
If I am getting healthier, though, the Health-bogeyman must have spotted me and decided to whack me on Sunday-Monday with a horrible stomach bug. I 'never' get these (We can remember just one from our marriage which hit me on a Christmas in Hastings) so the pain and seriously 'ill' feelings come as much a shock as debilitating. I got first signs on the Sunday night, spending all that night very uncomfortable and not sleeping very well. I woke up at normal time and forced myself to do livestock rounds (waves of hot-flush and sweaty nausea), and then engaged in a 3 hour drive/hang around getting the right people to the butchers to see the lamb cut up and re-homed. At that point I was packed off to bed by Nurse Lizzie.

The ivy starting to flower. Bee keepers need to be getting their
honey off the hives - ivy nectar sets like rock once the bees
have processed it into honey.
I spent most of that day in the sickbay. Meanwhile, Liz (snr) was due up for a visit, mainly to go blackberrying with us. Not that day though - every time they fired up the car it lashed down with rain! I woke up at lunchtime feeling a little better and tried some flat 7-Up (a family cure for dodgy tummies) and some sieved (bitless) borscht. I sat and chatted for a while but was quickly needing to get rid of lunch. Back to bed for me, then and Liz beating me into submission - SHE would do the livestock rounds and no arguing. The good news is that I woke up this morning with all pain gone and happily tried some toast to no ill effect. I have eaten normally today and drunk normal amounts of coffee and tea - no dizziness, no nausea, no sweaty hot flushes and no excuse to not go to Yoga on Wednesday. I guess a winter-vomiting bug picked up from somewhere, or maybe Liz is sneaking the strychnine into the BBQ chicken.

Liz and Liz at the blackberrying
Today also dawned beautifully sunny and warm, so we grabbed our tubs and buckets and headed off for the brambly hedges of the fields of a very good farming friend. The fruit grows lush and bold in those fields and, them being a silage fields, I know they never get sprayed with anything except slurry and fertilized with anything but inorganic NPK to help the grass after each silage cut. In an hour and a half we had quickly accumulated 4 kgs+ of lovely ripe fruit. The sun was starting to get to me (maybe not as fully recovered as I thought?) by then and Mum was feeling tired, so we stopped at the one big bucket. We have an option to go back for more. There are plenty there. We didn't even get all the way round the first (of two) field(s).

I think that'll do for this one. Here, though, is some lovely, mad, china Mum brought up as a gift. Thank you so much, Liz (snr)

1 comment:

Care Towers said...

You can happily banish visions of me on a 3" beam, Matt! There's a bit of wobbling perilously on one leg while trying to achieve "Dancer's Pose" (ha!), where I'm all graceful and elegant (not), but after that I'm a-huffin' and a-puffin' through the same sort of stuff as you enjoy in Yoga. It's all good fun though...