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Impossible. My eyes were shut but my mind?s eye mirrored thoughts, thoughts and thoughts as I laboured to breathe in and out through my nose.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 02:25 IST

All excited about joining yoga classes, I landed up at a yoga centre for my first class. When signing up, I had thought that Sarita was the name of the instructor, but I realised that it was, instead, a type of yoga, like Bikram and Iyengar. There I was on a blue yoga mat in a basement hall painted in cream and saffron, brightly clothed women all around me complaining of cervical and back aches. No bending backwards for one, no forward bending for the other.

“Shut your eyes. Breathe in, breathe out. Focus only on the breath,” he drawled. “Nothing else.”

Impossible. My eyes were shut but my mind’s eye mirrored thoughts, thoughts and thoughts as I laboured to breathe in and out through my nose. Surya namaskar (you don’t need to face the sun!), kapal bharti, makar asana, shuddhi yoga, Om Shanti Shanti Shanti! And I was done. I knew this wasn’t it. I’ve read about nirvana at first breath but my first yoga class was none of that. Maybe I need another class, another guru.

So the next morning, I headed for the 8 a.m. class with a modern-day been-there, done-that yogic, young and entrepreneurial. Spend some time with him and you know where he gets that
smooth talk from: endless hours of being at peace with the union of the mind and the body.

His class should have been my first for the experience was enriching. After months, I breathed into my toes, my calves, thighs, hips, arms, stomach...

“Focus your mind to the now. You aren’t competing anywhere, with anyone right now. Just be yourself,” he said.

And I think I was lost in myself. I could have been levitating. I lay on a thin yoga mat, but it felt like I was on a downy bed. My body was numb. My mind was not roving as much as it did the day before. And I could have lain that way if he had continued with the sonorous chanting of Om.

Now every part of me is hurting as if the breath has seeped into every fibre and fat of my inflexible muscles and into the liquid between my joints.

But, hey, I’m not complaining. And I think I’ve made up my mind to learn to breathe life — prana as the yogis call it. Oh yes, it’s for that anti-ageing yoga glow, yoga butt and an uncluttered mind. How’s that for a yogic thought?

First Published: Mar 10, 2006 02:25 IST