‘Holding your arms entwined, see if you can wrap your left leg around your right leg. And hold.’
I closed my eyes and breathed. Predictably, my limbs began to protest. I am the least stretchiest person I know. Touching my toes are six inches away from the never-achieved miracle of my life – and here I was stretching. Urghh. Was I on drugs?
Welcome to Patrice’s yoga class. Not his torture chamber this time. Lu and I refused to attend any more of those sessions after Gavin screwed it up by putting the air conditioning unit on in the little room we were using last year. This alerted the marina, who came and turned all the electric off – including the ceiling fan. We felt the fan was indispensable to surviving the heat.
But I have to admit, even though it was Gavin’s idea, I didn’t intervene. I remember my skin being so grateful. I was greedy for that cold air too. Then Patrice took it further and had both units running for a few days in our room – which was the final piss-take. So, we were all involved in the crime in the end.
‘How was I involved in this?’ Lu asked.
‘Shut it. It was your fault I was there in the first place.’
It’s true – I did start yoga because Lu asked me to come with her. But she wasn’t with me now, down in Sorobon. And I wasn’t swimming to the distance reef as we’d done the day before, but standing on a yoga mat and twisting my body where it definitely didn’t want to go.
I turned my head. Patrice was stretching next to me. He had that Greco-Gaelic look, staring off seriously into the choppy lagoon. The wind was strong this morning. There were five other ladies gathered round us with appropriate social distancing on the wooden dais, including the yoga teacher, Jane. Jane is tall. Jane is built like a supple wire. Jane is the reason I hated yoga in the first place. This is absolutely not Jane’s fault.
Jane did do this cool thing as the session started. She got us to put our hands together in a prayer and press our thumbs against our sternum. Against our heart.
Jane said, ‘You can set an intention now if you wish. Your intention is what you want to gain from this session.’ Then she got us to press our thumbs between our eyes to reinforce the intention. Heart and mind. Ohh, clever.
I’ve done two sessions here with Patrice now – Sunday morning and yesterday morning. He picks me up early drives us there in his ‘town’ car. The rental car company gave him a two-tone Citroen.
During the first session, I made the intention just to survive the yoga. The intention for the second session was to enjoy it. Despite my body being more metal plank than bendy board, I’m pleasantly surprised I did fulfil these intentions. I even suspect yoga torture might be necessary for growing old.