Sunday, 26 February 2017

Yoga: a poetry post

I have tried to do yoga in recent years. I have had babies and required physiotherapy, and got older and stayed fat, and had years of not getting enough sleep. I wanted to regain the feeling that my body was strong, that I was flexible. I also wanted to focus on the breath. I went to my local yoga class where the teacher was lovely, but I don't think she was experienced in dealing with fat bodies, perhaps she just wasn't experienced in dealing with mine. She gave me blocks and things to help me get the positions rightish, but I simply couldn't breathe in some positions, and I was acutely aware of what I looked like.

That said, I know that no-one was looking at me, but I couldn't relax for imagining my oxygen starved frame toppling over like an elephant on stilts, domino-ing into my neighbour and causing havoc.

When it came to the relaxation I was able to breathe. In the quiet of the room I told the tears running down my face to stop, but they didn't. I wiped them away as discretely as I could but the teacher saw me and came to hug me, telling me that I didn't need to tell her what was wrong, but that I could feel safe doing so. I told her that nothing was wrong, that my face was just crying and who knew why. I thought of my friend who always finds herself laughing during yoga. The teacher assured me it was alright to not say what was wrong, and tried to cheer me up.

I wasn't sad. I was mortified.

I am rubbish at wearing the smiling mask that some people have got down. I wish I'd had one then. I imagined I did when it came to writing this poem.


I try to fit my arms upon the mat,
to focus on the breath, the rise and fall
of my chest 'neath the cover of blanket,
to quiet a mind that never stops at all.
I have no time to pause, I'm too busy.
What matters 'bout the thoughts I've locked away?
I don't know why tears fall for you to see,
don't think I'm sad, just busy. I'm OK.
And would I find there's something wrong with time?
And with that knowledge, where would I then go?
Perhaps behind this smiling mask of mine
happiness bides and I don't even know.
Sometimes the mind is full of stupid things
distracting from the wonder that life brings.

Ⓒ Cara L McKee 26/2/17

Myself and some other local poets recently got to collaborate on a project with local photographers Blue Kiwi and Largs Lenses Together, writing poems inspired by the photographs. I wrote one inspired by a gorgeous picture of a squirrel which had me researching yoga on YouTube (I love my job), weirdly straight after I'd done that I went on Instagram and saw someone sharing their love of Jessamyn Stanley's book, Every Body Yoga - she's fat and tells you how to take that extra flesh into account! I have ordered the book and cannot wait to be able to mess it up in my own front room, with the curtains drawn, obvs!

Prose for Thought