Yoga hubris

(my cover story)

Today I hauled my increasingly large bum (thanks rice, the staple food of Asia and big thighs) to the gym super early for yoga. I hadn’t checked the timetable, but when I got there I saw it was ‘Yoga Therapy’. Hmm, I pondered, this sounds do-able.

As I entered the room I was slightly taken aback. The studio was full of people old enough to have heard Ho Chi Minh reading his declaration of independence in 1945. At the very least I’m pretty sure everyone was there old enough to have witnessed the Fall of Saigon (sorry, ‘Liberation Day’). Probably with their children. A-ha, I thought, gleefully rubbing my hands together, this will be easy, these tiny old people have nothing on my bending skills!

I was very, very wrong.

They may have been in  their sixties but they were sixty times more flexible than me. This was also extremely evident, given that I was the only young person in the room, the only person above 5ft 5 and the only caucasian. I stood out like a proverbial, and unflexible, sore thumb.

I can’t touch my toes without bending my knees, so, I certainly couldn’t do half the things these elderly folks could do whilst casually eating a bowl of Pho. Vietnamese people squat a lot in everyday life, it’s their go-to casual chat position, whereas we’d lounge on a sofa or slouch on a chair, they squat on the floor. The instructor kept trying to correct my positions, apparently I have tight ham-strings which is why I’m unable to hold my legs at a 90 degree angle whilst lying on my back. I tried to pass this off with some joke involving vegetarianism and tofu-strings, but either he was having none of it, it was a crap joke, or it was lost in translation somewhere.

How I thought I looked:

How I probably looked:

Moral of the story, do not underestimate a nation of people who spend a lot of time squatting.


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