Navel gazing

Last night I walked into yoga class and saw the teacher with glasses perched on her head and surrounded by all the props; cushions, rugs and little benches. She was wearing leopard skin tights and a small gold belt. I was about to turn around and walk out, (surely no yoga is being done with all these props?) when I saw a friend smiling at me to come and take the place next to hers. Damn I was committed to the next hour. Sure enough we spent much of the time meditating and focusing on our breath.

My thoughts wandered all over the place. I was standing staring at my toes, thinking how badly they needed a pedicure and wondering if my friend had noticed how gross they were. In the Netherlands there is no excuse to have manky feet. Getting a ‘pedicure’ here is totally different to a pedicure at home. When you walk in it is like going to the dentist. You have a dentist chair and a table beside it that hygienically displays all the drill parts and weird metal instruments. The pedicurist is wearing a mask and rubber gloves and is set to go to work on your feet for the next hour.

nail salon at home
nail salon at home

At home, (Australia) a random person is screaming at you to ‘pick colour’! (nail polish) whilst they largely ignore you and chat to their workmate for the next 30 minutes. You generally come away with nice nails but no change to your feet.

My belly is now turning into a bump and this makes some poses in yoga difficult to do. In 30 minutes we had stood and looked at our toes and sat and leant forward to look at our toes. The teacher called it yang yang yoga, Chinese yoga she said. Hmm I’ve never heard of it but I’m sure Tai chi is faster moving then this! The teacher rarely moved from her prop laden mat-island. I told the teacher I was pregnant and couldn’t lie on my stomach for the next exercise. To my horror she jumped up and arranged several cushions around my mat, and told me to lie back with my knees apart whilst propped up by cushions. I was essentially in a birthing position. She was explaining what she was doing in Dutch and I didn’t understand everything so I smiled and nodded. I think she thought I was one can short of a six-pack. Everyone was on their stomach watching me looking confused in the birthing position.. for the next quarter of an hour.  -awkward.

Grateful to seize the opportunity for a more modest position I looked forward to the final meditation on my back whilst being completely covered in a woolly rug.  All this hard work had made me cold!

I was reminded of a scene at the local children’s farm. Every village here has a children’s farm where a couple of chickens, goats and other animals are kept by volunteers for the children to come and meet and discover. I cycle past one every day that always seems to be a source of amusement.

What a childrens farm looks like
What a childrens farm looks like

The chickens seem to dig holes and either sit in them or try to get to the other side of the fence. I wonder who puts the chickens back in the pen when they are dangerously close to the road? Today some chickens were burrowing in a hole seemingly squashed by a huge pig lying over half of them. Pig looked happy and the chickens didn’t seem to mind. I flashed back to my birthing position a couple of minutes before, oh dear.

Happy pig

Suddenly I felt the teachers hands on my forehead massaging my frown away. Oh dear the bewilderment at this Chinese yoga is showing on my face. I normally have such a good poker face. Maybe she was doing some sort of relaxing reiki on me? Wow I’m feeling uncomfortable again and am grateful when she finds somebody else’s frown lines to massage away. Just when I thought I was safe to relax she came back and grabbed my feet! Oh no the manky toes! they also happen to be ice cold. There was no Reiki massage this time, instead she dropped my feet to make everyone a tea. I’m hoping the temperature of my toes must have reminded her not the grossness of my feet 😉

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