Head down to Kensington Gardens next Wednesday and loiter by the Round Pond and see if there aren’t some Lycra-clad Londoners working up one hell of a sweat. Yeo London, part of Yeotown (one of the UK’s most innovative holistic retreats), is running an al fresco yoga class there on August 31. Already, you can see how yoga makes you much more positive – these people have organised an al fresco event… in the UK… in August? One word, three syllables: kerr-ay-zee.
The Yeo London idea is to attract people who would normally rather pluck out their own eye and feed it to a passing cat than attempt to sit cross legged and claim a chant as their own for the evening, and demonstrate to these doubters that yoga is not only great exercise but also lots of fun. The event even starts off with a Bollywood yoga warm-up – how cool is that? Though I suspect it will probably take two, maybe three, sessions to get as supple as the amazing Mercedes Ngoh, pictured above, the instructor who will be leading the workshop.
Now before you start making excuses… People often say to me that they can’t possibly contemplate doing yoga because they are too stiff so I asked Simon Sieff, co-founder of Yeotown, for a very, very easy pose for my more inflexible (in every sense of the word) friends. He suggested uttanasana, that’s posh for a standing forward bend. Please don’t be deterred if it’s difficult initially, I guarantee you will be surprised by how quickly you can improve your flexibiilty by doing this. Go on, what have you got to lose? Except your dignity. Perhaps a little trapped wind… oh dear, I think I’ve gone too far there. Register for a place on August 31 at Yeo London.
Stand with your weight evenly spread between your feet. Stretch up, then exhale and bend forward, folding at the hip and bending your knees so that you can place your palms flat on the ground in line with your toes. Work on straightening your legs little by little, holding the posture for up to 30 seconds if you can. Repeat several times. Eventually (probably in about 500 years), you might be able to rest your forehead against your knees in this pose.