Waiting Room Blues …

This is not a song or musical genre.

It’s just that I’ve been in a couple of hospital waiting rooms supporting some friends lately and it’s been interesting.

I expected to see queues of people and overworked reception staff.

I was therefore not surprised as we lined up, almost out of the door, to check in.

I marvelled at the calm receptionists who were handling patients arriving late, in the wrong place, demanding attention.

Being difficult, looking stressed.

Phones were ringing everywhere (many from patients in the queue), hospital staff were barging through with trollies, with papers and clipboards.

People were trying to register their car number plates into the new parking permit system and banging the touch screen because it was not responding.

Nurses were coming out calling patient names over the general hubbub and patients were straining to work out if the name was theirs.

On one occasion the nurse called for a Mr White and two gentlemen stood up at the same time and tried to work out what Mr White she really wanted.

It’s easy being a support when you are not in the firing line (not literally) – you can practise your yoga breathing and reflect.

You can offer some observational humour.

Words of support too of course.

I’m not sure if I would feel so reflective as a patient though ….. on my side of the fence it’s so damn easy.

Filling Time? No ….

It was time for my 6 monthly dental check up.

I used to have a morbid fear of dentists until my 6 year old son asked me, way back (he’s 38 now) why his teeth were checked but mine weren’t.

Then my son called me a wimp.

Not sure who taught him that word.

But it worked.

I got straight on the phone and booked that appointment but that’s another story.

Watch this space for that post.

I’ve been going for my 6 monthly dental check ups ever since and I’m calm.

I speak to my dentist about golf, about yoga, about anything.

He’s a really smooth guy.

Charismatic, great sense of humour, you know what I mean.

My wife loves him.

I’m sure she eats sweets so she has more visits.

He shakes my hand when I enter his consulting room.

He smiles.

He is genuinely interested in how I am doing.

The examination is comprehensive but quick.

“You’ve taken my advice about using that electric toothbrush” he smiles.

I try to smile back with a mouth full of dental mirror and half of his hand.

After the consultation I gave him some advice about his nagging backache (I asked him how he was doing, of course!) and told him to try yoga.

In 6 months time I’ll check whether he has acted on my advice too 😎

I’d never thought, all those years back, that I’d look forward to an update with a dentist.

He’s that good…

It’s time to look up …

I rarely moan.

I rarely get irritable.

This evening I got irritable.

And wanted to moan.

I arrive at my yoga class nice and early every Monday evening.

I await the finish of the body pump class held in studio 2, where the yoga class is held straight after it.

While I’m waiting I watch the karate class held in the main hall where the Sensei runs the class with a caring but authoritarian style.

He chides them when they don’t listen to him and hugs them when they need some support.

They love him.

You can see it in their eyes as they flit around the karate mat.

At the side, on chairs, there are a collection of parents seated facing the kids.

One parent has a laptop computer open and is staring at the screen.

The other parents are all on their smartphones, texting, checking the news, looking at the weather forecasts, you name it.

Nobody is looking at their kids.

What a wasted opportunity.

How sad for the kids who are trying to impress both the sensei and their parents.

Parents lost in their internet world, but missing out on the real world right in front of them.

When I was young my parents used to watch me, cheer me, support me, smile at me when they came to watch.

Glorious eye contact and supporting body language.

Always.

So my request is – just break away from the technology and look up.

You miss so much when you don’t appear interested.

I wonder if the parents really know what they are missing?

I think the children do.

It’s time to look up …

Taking it for granted …

You never really appreciate what “feeling ok” really feels like.

From your body perspective I mean.

Not worrying about bending down to tie up your shoes, reaching up for that box on the top of the cupboard or just sitting down comfortably.

Until you cannot.

Without a sharp twinge of pain or intense discomfort.

The Pilates session went well, I thought.

My stretches and sit ups much improved from last week’s class.

I’m making great progress in getting my abdominals out of hiding and working for a change.

Until the next day.

I really could not reach down to pick up one of my shoes …. where did that sharp pain and discomfort in the small of my back come from?

I tend to resist taking painkillers at the first twinge if I can – I just assume it will wear off in a few hours.

It didn’t.

I had two days of being careful in how I sat down, struggled to do basic movements and worried about getting fixed in one position.

I had been taking my usual flexibility and laying down comfortably (in whatever position) for granted.

Oh how I longed for a return to “feeling ok”.

I’ll not forget in the future to appreciate how my body has to cope with life in general.

Normal service did resume, eventually .. but my memory of what it felt like to be incapacitated for a few days will not fade ….

Thank you body for reminding me to not take you for granted.

And please remind me in future that I need to know my limitations on those Pilates exercises …

A view through the glass …

I am always early for my Yoga class.

I just hate rushing.

The upside is I can sit around on the comfy chairs outside the studio and watch others fly by, often late for their class, and probably burning more calories than they do in the class itself.

Today I’m waiting outside studio 2 for the yoga session just before 10 am.

I’m ten minutes early so there is another class already going on in the studio, this one being a Pilates class I think.

The double doors to the studio have a roller blind pulled just over half way down the inside door glass (to allow the students some privacy).

Today I notice we have two young girls (about 4-5 years old, probably sisters, I would guess) peering through the bottom half of the window (not obscured by the blind) and they are looking through, both of them mimicking the moves of the students in the class.

It is just so funny watching them peer in and then copy the moves exactly in the corridor outside of the studio.

Their Dad (I’m assuming) is looking on but glued to his mobile phone, deep in a telephone call.

The young girls have attracted quite a crowd of yoga student onlookers waiting to go in to the studio shortly.

The girls’ enthusiasm and zest are infectious – even Dad is trying not to laugh as they go through their own version of the Pilates moves.

The class finishes and it looks like their Mum has been in the class and hugs them when she comes out.

“That was a tough class” she tells them.

“You’re telling us!” they respond in perfect harmony.

Mum looks confused.

Dad knows,

Dad smiles.

We all smile …

Well, that was unexpected …

When my back hits the mat, it knows.

It knows that for the next hour this journey is not strictly under my direct control.

My mind and the yoga session take over.

The journey starts with some soothing music and then I’m gone.

It doesn’t take much nowadays for me to be “gone”.

I feel like I’m flying solo through the Universe.

Lost in my own space.

Watching the stars go by, slowly, as they flash into view against the black backdrop.

It feels a little like looking at the Star Wars opening credits.

It’s normally a gentle journey and it’s always different.

But this time there’s something going on.

Something unfamiliar.

I feel a twinge of intense sadness as I fly through space.

What is this?

This is unexpected.

What’s causing this?

Is it the thought of suddenly missing a few friends and family members who are no longer on this journey with me?

Is it the music?

It’s certainly quite moving and hypnotic.

I know I am alone here (just guided by my teacher’s voice) despite the room being full of fellow students.

I’m even more surprised that when I come out of the final meditation I have a few tears in my eyes.

That’s definitely not what I was expecting.

Perhaps I really need a few more of these “lost in space” journeys …..

Striking a pose …

For the last two weeks our regular yoga teacher, L, has been away on holiday.

A substitute yoga teacher, F, has stepped in to run the class.

I’m sure that we all like the consistency and comfort of a familiar face, a familiar routine.

So F had to run the sessions in her own style and give it her best shot.

And I’m sure she detected the slight body language change as the group noticed, when she walked in, that they now had a new, unfamiliar coach.

She was very enthusiastic and gave us two very different yoga sessions.

She was definitely hands on, to the extent that she would demonstrate the poses at the back or side of the class, on occasions, for those who were deliberately far from the front (like me) and perhaps could not see her clearly.

She had the magic mix of energy and enthusiasm that certainly inspired and helped the group.

Towards the end of the sessions, where the meditation kicks in, she started to recite some words which I initially thought were just random thoughts on her part.

It turned out that, for each of her sessions, she read out some extracts from written poems she had brought with her which really made the sessions special.

So every week we seem to be gifted with amazing coaching and continue to develop and grow with the diversity of the content.

We just need open minds and let the experts guide us.

Our yoga sessions are in good hands… and, I’m pleased to say, so are we.

Noise on the line …

I survive on lists.

If something needs doing it has to go on my list .

If I forget to put it on my list I just forget the task.

So my mind is a constant stream of what I need to do and looking ahead for the next deadline.

Ask me what I did last week and I will have no chance of remembering.

So my regular, Saturday morning, 60 min yoga class (yes, it is on the list) has become a protected space in my diary.

The class yoga teacher, L, is just incredible.

She speaks to us all throughout the session backed by some low volume, spiritual, music track and asks us to forget everything.

Except her guidance throughout.

Her very pleasant, almost hypnotic stream of words gently guiding us through the session.

“Push away those outside thoughts and distractions ” she says.

I get lost in the delightful music.

But I can also easily get lost in yet another dreaded to do list item which can easily drift into my consciousness.

L’s commentary gently manages to help me push it away and my mind behaves.

The Saturday session always puts me back on track.

It’s essentially you, with 20 others, adrift on your mat, in the half light, with eyes closed, just doing what she asks with no pressure or judgment.

It provides a much needed break from lists, from rushing, from deadlines, from a busy life.

It’s just you, L, your yoga mat and a space to breathe.

Bless you L.

You are a much needed guide and inspiration.

Thanks Yoga … We Meet at Last!

I was always aware of the yoga classes in the next studio when I went to my weekly spinning class at the local sports centre.

I’ve seen the yoga books showing the amazing postures and have dabbled in the odd read of a book or two on meditation.

But at the beginning of the year, when class places on spinning and body pump are full to bursting (due to everybody being on a post Xmas get fit objective) I decided to try out a yoga class.

The first session was much, much tougher than I thought. Meditation I can relate to but the down dog and plank poses however were a real shock to the system. My balance is also laughable (but fortunately not by my fellow class mates).

I persevered with this class and signed up to another one, a different teacher, so I was now on two classes per week.

Oh my god why didn’t I take the plunge earlier?

There is a buzz, an awareness, a personal, no judging approach about both classes. I always come out revitalised and with a much clearer head.

Some of the poses are still work in progress for me (but I am improving!).

However my corpse pose is class leading I feel.

My family think I’m a natural for this one. Perhaps not the support I was hoping for.

But I love it.

Thanks Yoga, we meet at last.

Just so you know …

I tend to get involved in many things because I love being busy. My range of activities include cycling, golf (my handicap is my inconsistency), yoga ( I try to comply with the poses but my body often protests), music (I play in a band and we have recorded a few songs) ….. I also socialise. A lot. Keeping my network going and growing.

It just seems, with all of this technology around that this is a great time to keep connected. Bear with me as I learn to blog properly. Hang in there. I am keen. I am impressed with the online support but do they realise that they may never have dealt with somebody who can read instructions at least three ways?…..And none of them the correct interpretation.