After my first two weeks at university passed by uneventfully, I decided to expand my horizons and in that spirit, joined two extracurricular clubs.
A lot of people would agree that I’m not very inclined towards sports. My only form of physical exercise consists of me running for an hour or so while listening to pop music two or three times a week. Suffice to say, yoga was going to be challenging for me. Still, I convinced my friend T, and we both went and signed up gleefully. Healthy mind and body, here I come! I was going to look like Natalie Portman after I finished all the seven sessions! Hell yes!
With much regret, I inform you, I do not look like Natalie Portman now.
The yoga teacher had the most amazingly lean figure I had ever seen on anyone. She had not an ounce of fat on her, and immediately, I felt a pang of envy. How did she do it? What did she eat? Did she eat at all? But she looked so strong! I wanted her body! But would I be willing to work hard enough for it? Did I have that much mental and physical strength to do so?
The correct answer is no. Duh.
She taught us to breathe “properly” and used a lot of Sanskrit jargon…. much of which sounded like names of Indian television soaps. I giggled quietly to myself and tried to breathe the way she had instructed. I took a deep breath in, and exhaled slowly. Then I did it five times more. And another three times. Then I looked up at the ceiling and breathed seven more times.
What I had failed to realize was; yoga was infinitely boring. We had to clear our minds and breathe and it took me a while to realize, but talking was most definitely a no-no during yoga. When this thought struck me, I turned numb. No wonder everyone was silent! It was like being in an old-fashioned silent movie. Oh no.
Nevertheless, I quelled my passionate cry of despair, and decided to give it a go until the end of class. Maybe actually doing the positions would be more worthwhile.
The actual positions were, so to speak, painful. Contorting your body into unconventional shapes while still remembering to breathe in and out and exhale every time the rainbow shines and the sun is in the sky is mentally and physically strenuous.
I’m sorry to say, after the first class, I never went again. Yoga just wasn’t for me. And being Indian didn’t make it any better. I felt like I’d failed the entire Indian race. I went home sore and angry and depressed.
Archery, on the other hand was delightful. I discovered my hidden natural talent at handling a bow and arrow, and soon I was ranked at the top of the class. The tutor was so impressed that he immediately proclaimed me to be the best archer he’d ever seen and gave me a gold medal to signify that.
I kid, I kid.
The first three sessions were horribly cramped, and only because Singapore’s weather gods decided to rain heavily every single Wednesday. Hence, we were shuffled into a little classroom because the rain made the ground too wet and we practiced on target boards that were a mere three metres away.
All of this changed, when one Wednesday, the sun shone brilliantly, and we discovered that we would finally be taken to the range. It was so much better, being able to move your arms freely without worrying about poking someone’s back with an arrow-tip, or swinging your bow around to and not accidentally striking a fellow archer right in the eye.
At the range, I discovered just how much I loved archery. This was the sport for me! Yoga was for people who could calm their minds in five seconds flat, AND THAT WAS NOT ME, DAMMIT. Over time, I loved hearing the twang of the bow as the arrow got released, and automatically straightening my posture every time I drew the arrow back. I felt like I was in a Lord Of The Rings movie, and every time my arrow left my bow, I imagined I was shooting at Gollum (because he scares the crap out of me and he deserves every single arrow that pierces his skin).
All in all, I’m quite happy that I get two hours a week, shooting arrows at a target board. It calms me down.
Yoga just makes me sad.