The Cheeky Yogi and the Circle of Life

The Cheeky Yogi and the Circle of Life

Over the past few weeks, I have had The Lion King theme tune rattling round in my head – ‘The Circle of Life’. Everything feels cyclical.

It is that time again when I offer outdoor yoga classes.

It is that time again when it rains during that one-hour period.

It is that time again when I think teaching yoga ain’t gonna make you a kazillionaire.

It has taken oodles of effort and jumping through hoops (The Cheeky Yogi expands her Yoga Emporium) to teach on my local village Green. I am sad to have to admit defeat.

The Cheeky Yogi and the Circle of LifeLet’s try a little experiment. Look out your window. What is the weather like? Make a mental note. Now, compose a post advertising an outdoor yoga class to start in half an hour. Have you written the post? Look out your window again. What is the weather like now?  See? I bet you it started raining or raining more heavily.

With a heavy heart, I will announce that after August I will no longer be offering Yoga on the Green. (Cue theme music “It’s the Ciiiiiiircle of LIIIIFFFEE”.)

Brazilian Butt

My other half bought me a pair TikTok yoga pants. If, like me, you have no idea about this, allow me to enlighten you. They are advertised as ‘butt-lift yoga pants’.

Let’s not even ponder the question, does my other half think that my perky posterior needs lifting? (This is a private argument, which will end badly for him, to be had in due course – once he finishes tiling the bathroom).

The Cheeky Yogi and the Circle of LifeI have mentioned before that yoga pants make me look like a stuffed sausage (Cheeky Yogi at the OM Yoga Show – Yoga Pants are not Created Equal). Therefore, it is odd to receive a pair as a gift, but apparently, these are different.

Their design is still skin-tight, but the pattern is like an optical illusion. I would venture they are similar to the 1970s patterned carpets at Heathrow – so busy they make you feel queasy. (I have always wondered whether those carpets were a cunning tactic so that when you finally boarded the plane you felt relieved and safe.) These black and white checkered, unforgiving leggings have a ruched posterior and a cinched waist. In essence, the material is gathered, and sits between your butt crack creating a ‘Brazilian butt’. Admittedly, when I took a photo of my English butt, it did look kinda perky, twerky and opinionated. But as to taking it out of the house into a studio and doing a down dog -that puts a whole new meaning to the Cheeky Yogi!

Cobwebs on Toes

The Cheeky Yogi and the Circle of LifeFancying a change from my normal style of yoga, I took part in an Iyengar workshop. I felt like a beginner. Every part of my body had to be positioned with military precision. The pinkie toe of my right foot needed to be at a 12.5-degree angle from my fourth toe, which needed to be at a 13.2-degree angle from the third toe, and so on. This amount of detail made me go right back to basics, as though I had never done any of these poses before. I kept thinking, whilst the teacher pointed out that there is a BIG difference between 12.5 and 13.2, this is like going back and taking a driving test after a lifetime of driving. You can drive, and even get from A to B safely, but did you notice the journey?

The Cheeky Yogi and the Circle of Life

I know yoga is not about competition, and we accept where we are, but that’s not how it always is. We were invited to get into our headstand and stay for ‘as long as felt right’. I came down after three minutes. No one else moved. I did a child’s pose for three minutes. Still no movement. I faffed about for two minutes. Nothing. Stillness. I watched a spider walk across the ceiling. It was the only thing moving in the room. Eventually, I lay down ready for savasana and noticed the cobwebs connecting the other students’ toes to the ceiling. How on earth can everyone still be in headstand? More importantly, why can’t I fall asleep on my head?

Again, ‘The Circle of Life’ tune underscored my musings as I thought of my first ever yoga class and how far I had come…or not.  I made a mental note –  spend more time on head.

Sleep Deprivation Experiment

The November Yoga and Sleep CPD date is looming and my research and experiments continue (The Cheeky Yogi and her Scientific Experiments). Last month, I decided it would be a good idea to test out the ‘Uberman sleep schedule’. Instead of sleeping the recommended eight hours, you stay awake for four hours, then have a 20-minute nap, then awake for four hours and another 20-minute nap, and so on. Six naps of 20 minutes every four hours. Forevermore.

I would be lying if I were to say I was rigorous in my application. The experiment lasted two days. The first 24 hours, I spent lurking around the house in the wee hours, wondering what to do with myself. I was too tired to exercise. It was too dark to go out, too late to see anyone. The dogs brought me their ball, then their lead, then their bowls, completely unsure what time of day it was and what was going on. I couldn’t concentrate as all I wanted to do was sleep. I just faffed about the house like a restless ghost. Eventually settling down with the dogs on the sofa, I watched episodes of Friends.

The second day, to ensure I would wake up on time, I did a 20-minute Yoga Nidra. It lasted eight hours. My iWatch confirmed I had had four full sleep cycles and the recommended amount of sleep. I Googled sleep deprivation and Guantanamo Bay and realised this probably wasn’t the best experiment for me to do.

Thud the Blankie

My weekly newsletter has now become part of my research. Not only do I share random little nuggets of information, such as the benefits of dancing with abandon to relieve stress (even providing a banging playlist -if I dare say so myself), but I also use my mailing list as guinea pigs to test out various theories and poll the results. My most recent request was for volunteers to test the Italian 16th-century cure for insomnia of smearing doggie ear wax on your teeth. Oddly, I have had no volunteers.

However, I did get an email asking if I knew anything about weighted blankets and do they help with sleep? I scoffed at the absurdity of the idea. Why would anyone want to lie under an eight kilo (1.2 stone) weighted blanket? Isn’t that like going to sleep with a baby elephant sitting on your chest?

The Cheeky Yogi and the Circle of LifeThe student told me she had bought a blanket that had revolutionised her life, and she loved it. She brought it to class, told me to lie on the floor, close my eyes and then placed it over me. Whether I was still feeling highly sensitive from my sleep deprivation experiment, I don’t know. But I was overwhelmed with the sensation of being given a deep, heartfelt hug. It took all my strength not to burst into tears in front of everyone. I immediately went home and did some research. The clincher was a review from a lady who would wrap the blanket around her shoulders every time her wittering mother-in-law came to visit, she said it made her see there was light at the end of the tunnel.

My other half thought I was insane spending so much money on a blanket, he argued I should just let the pets sleep on me. But when my diabolical six-year-old nephew came to stay, we thought a magic hug, from what I had now dubbed “Thud the blankie” might stop him from pulling the cats’ tails and poking the dogs’ eyes out. And it worked like a dream. The weight of the blanket pinned his arms and body onto the sofa – he couldn’t move a muscle. And the cat sat on his chest swishing his tail back and forth, I am sure thinking ‘what goes around comes around’.

The End

The Cheeky Yogi and the Circle of LifeI would love to wrap up this final Cheeky Yogi neatly and epically. The end of COVID restrictions and the dawn of a new and better era… But life doesn’t work like that, it goes round in circles, often not resolving itself, and who knows maybe I’ll write this blog again.

But for now, I want it to be like the end of a Hollywood movie, the theme music plays, the sun is setting and the final shot is of the Cheeky Yogi sashaying into the distance with her cleft butt cheeks as the credits roll up. Then realising she was walking in the wrong direction and doing a U-turn.

Fade to black.

The End.

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