Try Hard Things

That’s what Patrice says. Try the hard things. We do it at the end of each yoga session – when we have sweat running down our noses, having assumed the plank pose more times than I have done in 30 years.

Though Patrice calls the plank position ‘board’, I keep thinking in his French accent it sounds more like ‘bored’. I want to scream, ‘I wish!’ Instead, I have to ease myself back into the plank and just feel relieved that at least I don’t have to touch my knees in my nose again, or hold it on my elbow, or something not quite impossible, but still tearfully hard.

Patrice practises and is teaching Vinyasa, or Flow Yoga. It’s at the end where we have to stop and try an impossible position. Definitely impossible right now, since we’ve only done yoga four times. Whereas Patrice has been doing yoga for 15 uninterrupted years.

This part gives us a good laugh. It is amazing to see what the human body can do. And to try it even if it does seem impossible. We did these things when we were little kids without concern, or worrying if we could do it. That also makes it funny.

I remember sitting in Ela and Brian’s house in Hounslow with my cousin and brother and us standing on our heads. We’d go around then hopping in and out of the lotus position. I’m not sure I could ever do what Patrice did today though, kneeling on his hands and holding his whole weight off the ground. Holding it for an indefinite amount of time. Also funny.

Patrice maintains that while we are allowed to laugh during yoga, we’re not allowed to laugh at yoga. There’s a difference. It is really hard at times too, which doesn’t make it funny at all.

I realised with a sort of resignation that this is it. I’ll probably be doing yoga for the rest of my life. It’s been coming for me. Plus, I have to get to the end of my life being able to touch my toes at least once. I’ve never been able to. And Patrice started yoga at 49, and now he can do a headstand using his forehead as the starting position, so that’s pretty cool. There may be hope for my toes.

We do a few minutes meditation at the end, after trying the impossible position.

‘Now go ahead and dream,’ Patrice says.

I look up and see Lu on the other side of Patrice close her eyes. I close mine too. I always get to that same thought process – whenever I’m told to clear my mind. I start wondering what I’m going to do in the next half hour, two hours, five minutes. Then, when I get bored, I think about time.

The amount of time we spend planning and wondering what will happen. What if it’s already mapped out for us? We just can’t see the future part. Time is on a line, like Patrice’s’ ‘wire’ position, which he calls ‘wiyure’. Me and Lulu do not giggle at all. And hopefully Patrice doesn’t mind. Doing the hard things.

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