I am overweight, inflexible and I have reached that age, when every movement is accompanied by noises. Either a guttural old man groan or a more concerning pop in my knee or a click in my hip. Recently these have been accompanied by a stab of pain and it has led me to being less active than normal.
So, when I was invited to a yoga class in Mumbai (we were in India), my first thought was that it would be full of lithe, fit and beautiful yogis performing poses that I would struggle to watch, never mind replicate.
But Poornandu, the instructor, allayed my fears, as we chatted and walked from Mumbai’s Grant Street Station to the German School, where he would introduce me to Iyengar yoga and remind me why I keep saying that I need to do more yoga.
The setting was perfect. Palm trees swayed above us in a gentle breeze that ensured that we wouldn’t be participating in an outdoor Bikram (hot ) Yoga class and birdsong replaced the constant beeping of the Mumbai traffic.
Poornandu expertly guided us through sixty minutes of challenging moves, that stretched every limb and opened up my lungs (there’s something to this whole breathing through the nose thing). Being a novice (and mouth breather ), I had to have my posture corrected by poor Poornandu, on a few occasions, and he did so in a reassuring manner that made me feel relaxed and made me forget that I was the least flexible person in attendance (or possibly in existence).
By the end, I was standing taller, walking lighter and feeling rejuvenated.
It was everything that yoga should be and I vowed that on my return to the UK , I would find and attend a yoga class.
So, when the OM Yoga Show came to Glasgow and kindly invited me along, I thought what better way to find out more about yoga and catch up with some yogi friends. It would also make a great feature for my weekly radio show with Paula McGuire (listen out this Tuesday on CamGlen Radio).
Unfortunately for me, however, the OM Yoga Show Glasgow was everything that I feel is wrong with yoga and with expos, in general.
While there were many skilled yoga teachers, like Scott McDonald, present and several great yoga studios, such as Seasonal Yoga, advertising their services, there were too many tarot card and palm readers, crystal and rock sellers and businesses feeding off the appetites of those looking for vegan friendly foods and clothing. I didn’t realise that being vegan was a prerequisite of practising yoga.
It was all too mystical and in my opinion, the inclusion of fortune tellers, was telling. Too many were trying to make their fortunes from the archetypal yoga practitioner.
The OM Yoga Show Glasgow marketing also seemed to be one dimensional and consisted mainly of pictures of young fit women literally bending over backwards to show off their yoga talents.
While this might, indeed, be aspirational for some, I do believe that more inclusive (and less frightening) marketing might attract more new practitioners and possibly more men.
Too few men practice yoga and this has seen the continued rise of classes such as Broga (read my Man V Fat review) and Matt Miller’s Broga workshop, at the OM Yoga Show Glasgow was full …. of mostly women. Hopefully, in the future, we will see more men trying yoga.
The day was rescued by Scott and Julie of Seasonal Yoga, who both spoke passionately and eloquently about yoga and its benefits and I have decided that I will not allow the disappointment of the OM Yoga Show Glasgow stop me from making yoga an integral part of my training and a means of relaxing.
It all starts on Thursday at Finn’s Place, Langside Church.