There I was, minding my own business, working away like the busy bee that I am, when Brid comes bounding over. This can only mean one thing. Nothing would put that mischievous glint in her eye, other than a challenge.
“Katie, great news!”
Okay, now I am 100% skeptical.
“You have been challenged to a Yoga class at Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre!”
So far, so good. Nothing too scary, I can definitely give a Yoga class a go.
“You have been challenged to Salute the Sun!”
Right. Officially suspicious.
“It is their early morning class!”
Cue my internal evil laugh –mwah ha ha! Brid clearly has forgotten that I love mornings, and I really mean I love them. Think Oliver Twist hanging out the window singing “Who will buy this wonderful morning”, yup that’s me. Springing out of bed before 7, raring to go. I am officially one of those annoying types who is full of joy and attack first thing. Early morning yoga? Lets have it!
Fast forward a week and there I am. Standing outside the Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre HQ on Academy Street, Cork. I am even early! Brid, you can consider your sneaky early morning plan well and truly foiled.
Enter Mary, one of the teachers at Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre . Mary does everything to make me comfortable as I sign in and get myself organised. I am a little nervous but the nerves lessen a little as I am shown to a gorgeous room to await my class. It really needs to be said that the Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre building is nothing short of a haven. An old building, lovingly fitted out, thoughtfully and sensitively combining heritage with a state of the art yoga centre – I am starting to really look forward to getting under way.
The time had come to leave what I am calling the “relaxing room” and my comfy couch and enter the class.
The classroom is simply stunning. Bright, airy, hard wood floor, it really set the scene.
We started with some chanting. Couple of things to say here, I would be the first to raise an eyebrow at chanting first thing in the morning so bear with me and secondly I am a giggler. Always have been, always will be. I think passing wind is hilarious. Nothing sets me off like a quiet exam hall. So the thought of chanting did not fill me with confidence. Having said that, I was here to represent Queen B and the whole point was to give it my all, so chant I did. I chanted my little heart out and I swear on my Queen B leggings logo, it was brilliant!! As soon as you let go, give yourself over to the repetition and the sounds it seems to, how do I explain it, soothe you. Now, I was a novice chanter, so I am sure I got the words wrong, but frankly it didn’t matter. Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre isn’t a place where you feel judged and whilst it is hard to describe the feeling accurately, I would say that the chanting brought me back into the room. I wasn’t thinking of where I could be, or where I was going to next. I simply was in this beautiful room with the early morning sun pouring through the windows and I was feeling pretty good about myself.
Then we started the poses and it became apparent pretty quickly why the ladies at Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre love our Lizzies, no matter what we did I knew my leggings were opaque and nothing was going to show through! Mary was brilliant, she showed us the pose and then we did it.
As we did the pose, Mary would come along, discreetly, calmly and tweak or correct your position, but you never for a moment felt you were doing anything wrong. I was particularly chuffed when I struggled with some of the poses but with Mary’s slight adjustment, hey presto! I could do it! Go me!
I felt throughout the class that Mary really wanted us to progress, and that was exactly the result. I felt I had progressed. The class was about an hour long but every now and then during the class you had a mini break, a little siesta if you will – hands are up in prayer, relax for 4-5 seconds. Pure bliss.
The class was quite physical and it pushed me to stretch myself but was still a great experience and clearly doable for a complete beginner like myself.
We finished our poses, more chanting to wrap up. Put our hands together, “Namaste” and I had done it!
Mary was fantastic. I can on occasion feel a bit self-conscious (don’t we all?) and there was a part of me dreading the bending and stretching in front of other people. But truly, I didn’t have a single moment of awkwardness and I didn’t feel like I stuck out like a sore thumb amongst more seasoned class members. Mary helped to make me feel like I belonged and that I had completed the class in a really positive way. I will say it, I felt quite proud of myself.
I left Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre and heading back to the car at 8.25 the city was just starting to wake up. I passed some people on their way to work looking sleepy, disgruntled….and a weird feeling took over me. I felt like I had a secret I needed to tell them. Actually, scrap that, I felt like I needed a megaphone to tell the world there was another way to start your day. Put down the coffee, throw on some stretchy clothes and join me! A good morning is the jumping off point for a great day – not to be underestimated.
As I drove away full of the joys one image popped back into my mind and I howled with laughter. When Mary was walking towards me I recognised her leggings, when she reached me I said “You must be Mary”, at which point she lifted her top, flashed her Queen B waistband, winked and said “That’s me”. You gotta love Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre. Go Team QBA!