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So, this week I have practiced austerity in a manner that even I hadn’t considered as an option when this year began.

Hot Yoga.

Now, I would give my head a good vigorous shake over this one, if I wasn’t in so much pain.   Flashback even 10 – no, 5 – years and if someone had even suggested that I would eventually find myself not only doing Yoga, but sweating my balls off in the process, I would’ve laughed uproariously (I always wanted to use that word :)).

But life is clearly full of surprises.

In this 40 degree Celsius environment, there was austerity in abundance.  The room itself was as austere as one could get.   Not a piece of furniture to be found.  A room empty, save for the sound of Kokin Gumi Buddhist Meditation music and 25 sweating, contorted bodies on mats.   I know.  Sounds like some sort of kinky New Age Orgy.   Sorry to disappoint here.   If someone had even said the word sex in that room, I would have keeled over right there and then and given up the ghost, so  exhausted was I.

Austerity was also alive and well in the poses.  They were austere in their simplicity and in their movements.  Everything’s in slow motion.  I understand why this is now though.  Because they place you in such unnatural positions, that if you go into them too quickly, you could end up choking yourself to death with your legs.

Now, I’d always viewed Yoga as being relaxing.  Meditative even.  Ah, no.   If it wasn’t my joints and muscles screaming out in agony, it was my body flailing all about trying to keep its balance.  I must’ve looked absolutely Parkinsonian in there.   How the hell anyone is supposed to meditate is a mystery to me.

Probably the most austere part of the session is the “Plank”.   I will never again pick up a piece of wood without cringing.   In this pose you balance on your elbows and your toes, and basically place yourself in an extended push-up.   And you stay there.  And stay there.  And stay there.   Very austere isn’t it?  I grunted so much you’d swear I was bench-pressing 250.    Oh, and then you do it again.  And again.  And…  Well, you get it.

But the funny thing is, the “Plank” reminded me of why I was there in the first place.  The very muscles this pose builds are the one I don’t have – abs.  And the rest of my 48 year-old body is demanding that I build them soon before said body seizes up.

And I do believe that Yoga, like anything, is about practice and continued development.  While I seem destined to sweat buckets in the process and stretch my body into any manner of seemingly inhuman shapes, I will get it all down eventually.  I may never get to be the guys in the clip below, but you never know!

Namaste, Glenn

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