Travel Magazine

Backpacker Granny Goes to Yoga

By Geraldine Forster @backpackerGerri

I have been very busy lately tweaking my blog and working to add lots more info on traveling.

However, this is a such a crazy story, I felt it was worth interrupting my web updating to share this wacky Yoga experience.

As many of you may know, I am at present in Spain. I am staying in a Town called Vilanova i La Geltru. I first came to this town fifty years ago, and amazingly enough it hasn’t changed very much since then. Every time I return here I feel that time has stood still and for me, possibly not the most scintillating place on earth.

 For the want of something better to do, (meaning nothing) I decided, on the recommendation of my very good friend Sofia, to join her in a Yoga class. Sofia reckoned that her Yoga teacher was the best in the world. For obvious reasons, I was really looking forward to the class and even considered going several times a week during the length of my stay.

The arranged day came around, and off we went to the yoga class and the famed teacher. On arrival, my friend introduced me to several of the students. All of whom were very friendly and made me feel welcome. Which is more than I can say for “Best in the world teacher” who totally ignored me. What a good start!

I have changed yoga queen’s name to “Snorty” for reasons you will soon discover. Allow me to describe Snorty. To begin with she is very overweight, which I truthfully do not have a problem with. In fact, I had a gym instructor many years ago in Tenerife who was also rather obese but a superb teacher. We all loved her to bits. Snorty was a different kettle of fish. She was not even amiable. Never at any given moment did she acknowledge my presence or even welcome me to the class. But not wanting to be too pre-judgmental I decided to give Snorty a chance and see how the class went.

Backpacker Granny Goes to YogaAfter picking one of the thinner than thin mats, we were instructed by “you know who!” to sit on them and go into the Lotus position (Padmasana). Ouch! The last time I was in said position I was six months old! She then proceeded to tell us all to sit with a straight spine. How in heaven’s name would I know if my backbone was straight? As hard as I tried, my head wouldn’t turn round so far as to see behind me. She reminded us to keep a calm mind and to be completely focused and relaxed. Focused and relaxed? How in the Lord’s name could I achieve that? I was still worrying about straightening my seen better days vertebrae. Following this, we were supposed to take the left leg and place it on the left thigh! Oh, Deary me! I am so sorry, I meant the right thigh!  Once this was achieved we had to take the right leg and place it on the. Uuum left thigh. Well this was just great because at this moment my daft left leg decided to slide down to my right knee and not budge! (Are you getting confused with all this left leg and right leg jabber? Yes? Well I am very pleased to hear that I am not the only featherbrain in existence. Oh, Gawdy Gawd, no way was I ever going to get the other leg to go anywhere where it had to go. As much as I tried the rotten limb refused to cooperate. I was very pleased since I had had the horrid thought. “Just HOW I would get out of this position if I ever got into it!” I kept imaging being stuck in the now very ‘Loathsome Lotus’ and being rushed off to the local hospital, where hopefully they would untangle me. With much frustration, I sneakily looked around at the other students and was horrified to see them all calmly sitting in the wretched perfect Padmasana pose. Have you ever felt like a complete and utter idiot? I hated every one of those students. Rotten pitches!

It was at that precise moment when I noticed that Snorty had a mobile phone stuck to her hand. How it got there I will never know! Possibly “Super glue?” Anyway, the point is, her eyes were full time fixed on the offending mobile. She was completely unaware of how we were all getting on with the darned yoga position. My poor Lotus looked more like a bedraggled twisted dead dandelion. Of course, with the interest I got from haughty Snorty, I certainly had no hope of ever improving.

Suddenly Snorty returned to the living and informed us that we were going to then practice Nadi Shodhana, or “alternate nostril breathing,” Just so you know. This is a strong technique that helps to settle the mind, body, and emotions. Used to calm the mind before beginning meditation, and helps to ease racing thoughts when one is suffering anxiety, stress, or has trouble sleeping. She mentioned that it would take about five minutes to go through this new exercise. We had to close our eyes and then place our right thumb over our right nostril and breath in through the left nostril, then we had to place the left ring finger over our left nostril and breath out through the right nostril. Well something like that! It was all very confusing for this numpty.

(I have posted an excellent video on the side panel of this post. It explains perfectly how to do this incredible exercise.)Backpacker Granny Goes to Yoga

To cut a long story short. Now for the best bit!  I Backpacker Granny was very seriously trying to do this exercise, when I started thinking that so called five minutes was an extremely long five minutes. The time went on and on and we were all still doing this right thumb dash left thumb job. "Jiminey Crickets!" Clearly you have all at some time reached that point, when you are thinking “I have had enough now”, Dear friends that is exactly how I felt. My back was aching, my legs didn’t know where to put themselves. My bony butt hurt like hell. My sweet little peed off nostrils were screaming at me for having my darned fingers and thumbs blocking their air vents. I can tell you folks; my flipping mind, body and emotions were not in the least bit calmed by this exercise. More to the point, I was just about to punch Snorty.

 Just in time, Snorty (Now you know why I called her Snorty – I have never snorted so much of nothing in all my seventy - two years) came to life and told us how she had mistakenly set her lousy mobile alarm for thirty minutes instead of five. Oh, geez thanks you soppy Moo Moo!

“The Best Yoga Teacher in the World? I rest my case!

Will I return for another class?  Not to Snorty, but for sure, this year when I return to India I will be taking a serious professional Yoga course. I promise to keep my very dear readers informed. Should at some point you read that Backpacker Granny has been taken to the ICU in India. You will all know why!

Backpacker Granny Goes to Yoga Backpacker Granny Goes to Yoga

Lotus position


Backpacker Granny Goes to Yoga


Backpacker Granny Goes to Yoga

How to do Nadi Shodhana - Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate Nostril Breathing, is a powerful breathing practice with wide reaching benefits. Nadi is a Sanskrit word meaning "channel" or "flow" and shodhana means "purification." Therefore, nadi shodhana is primarily aimed at clearing and purifying the subtle channels of the mind-body organism, while balancing its masculine and feminine aspects. It is pacifying for all three doshas and is a suitable practice for most anyone.

Please Note that not at any given moment do I decry Yoga. I know without a doubt that it is very special and very beneficial to many people.

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