1. The beginner
‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’ That’s what Jo decided, after the fourth time getting whacked by a commuter’s yoga mat on the Central line. But 15 minutes into her first class, she’s thinking she’s made a bad decision. Jo’s entered a very, very strange world. Why is everyone ‘omming’ like seasoned Tibetan monks? What is this ‘reclining pigeon’ or ‘dolphin’ or ‘happy baby’? And is that really a pan-pipes version of a Bieber track they’re playing in the background?
2. The farter
'And relaaaaaaax,’ says the instructor. ‘Paaaarp,’ comes the reply. Janet keeps her eyes shut and hopes that no one heard. She’s not the only one who’s been trying to hold something in for the last hour. What with a third of the class being lentil-loving veggies, another third on a recently adopted kale-centred health kick and the remainder trying to make amends for a diet of burritos and Coke, there is a lot of trapped gas in this room.
Nathan James Page
3. The headstander
Clemmie is just back from Goa. And she didn’t only return with an enviable tan, a new tattoo and three pairs of baggy hemp trousers, she also learned how to do a headstand. And she’s quite proud of it. And by ‘quite’ I mean ‘very’. So much so that at every opportunity she’s upside down with her toes pointing towards the ceiling. Her bragging might be silent but that doesn’t mean it’s not as annoying as hell. Time for another trip to India yet, Clemmie?
4. The sweater
Dan has completed three Tough Mudders, so he’s pretty confident he can ace any physical challenge that comes his way, which is why he doesn’t think twice about heading along to a Bikram class the morning after an eight-pint bender with the five-a-side lads. Ninety minutes of stretching in a hot room? Piece of piss, thinks Dan. Dan is foolish. Something he comes to realise after 26 poses of extreme contortion that leave him silently weeping in a giant puddle of his own sweat.
Nathan James Page
5. The lazybones
One sun salutation into her class and Beth needs a little rest. But that’s okay because yoga is all about listening to your body, and if your body tells you to take a breather, you go right ahead. With this in mind, Beth decides to skip that difficult-looking backward bend, and the difficult-looking forward bend, and she’s definitely not going to attempt that shoulder stand, oh no. In fact, by the end of the class Beth hasn’t done much at all, other than have a very pleasant half-hour nap. But, boy, does she feel relaxed. This yoga malarkey really works, doesn’t it?
By Gail Tolley, who has definitely never farted in her yoga class, by the way. Never.
Illustrations: Nathan James Page