Sun Salutation

IMG_0883My father was very body conscious with an active involvement in the sports that men of his era participated in such as boxing and gymnastics. However as he wasn’t part of our lives for very long, and as my stepfather was more of the persuasion my mother my sister and myself were, his predilections had little influence on our later, happily unified rut of intellectualism and culture rather team sports.
Although my sister was good at ballet and gymnastics the moment puberty began with the appearance of her interpretation of the impressive family ‘bosom’, her athletic interests waned.
We were all joined in our belief that we were not co ordinated, that physical education classes were a humiliating horror to be avoided at all costs and any sports we were forced to participate in and didn’t come last, were a huge success.
Our excuse being we were bohemian intellectuals and one didn’t and couldn’t cover all bases, as was shown with my sister’s said development of the family breasts and her turning her back on physical activities and becoming an avowed book reader like the rest of the family.
Not being able to differentiate between left and right or able to understand a reasoning for sports meant that I had various ‘incidents’ that saw me run into a gym horse (how are you supposed to elevate yourself above it?) badly wind myself on the parallel bars, and simply stop in disorientated confusion in front of hurdles.
I once went to a netball game that my sister played in (she was also in the bottom team) and saw her either duck or run away from the ball when it was thrown at her, so there seemed to be a family anti team sports gene in action.
As I grew older other members of my family defied these conditionings and took classes in dance, aerobics, yoga and such like but I kept fit by benefit of having no money for food and bus fare and pre my daily drug hit, got my veins pumping by lifting weights.
My first experience of yoga was in rehab (cue whale music ‘imagine you are a water lily on a still pond’ and me snoring within the first five minutes of the session along with the rest of the participants).
A few years later I started going to a yoga class that while challenging, created a previously unexperienced feeling of joy in my body and the realisation that I was actually good at some physical activities.
Of course being the obsessive that I am, I took this to the nth degree, and spent years doing a daily practice, went to Asia to gain teaching qualifications, and eventually taught my own class as well as a class at a day centre for those recovering from addictions and eating disorders.
I would see recovering addicts hyperventilating and having anxiety attacks when they inhaled deeply and anorexics who couldn’t let go of control enough to close their eyes for meditation, and I would see aspects of myself.
I’ve just started my practice again and am re remembering that incredible feeling of empowerment. The body that I’ve regarded over the years as an encumbrance, an unwieldy vehicle or a burden is transformed to become part of a whole, an empowering package that breaks through all the conditioning that I’m no good at physical activities, not co ordinated, clumsy etc etc etc ad nauseum.
It’s like a long term love affair (of the superior sort, unlike my more human variety love affairs which generally are not so life enhancing) which every time I return to it, I feel so strong, so good and so powerful.
Yeah I still smoke and maniacally consume coffee so I’m no paragon of radiant wellness, but when I stretch and do asana, I am grace, beauty and power and actually love, appreciate and value this battered old body of mine.


About charlottejane2002

Author of 'P is for Prostitution', 'The Bloody Sacrifice' and co-editor of 'A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead' which are all published by Mandrake of Oxford. Italian publisher Roberto Migliussi has recently released 'The Sky is a Gateway, Not a Ceiling', a book of Charlotte's collected essays printed alongside images of his own art work. Charlotte is also an artist who creates spiritually directed art works from road kill and found objects. She has had her written work printed in anthologies and various magazines and on line publications and has given presentations at many events and institutions including Edinburgh University and Brooklyn's 'Museum of Morbid Anatomy'. Her art work has been exhibited widely including at London's Chelsea Gallery and The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, and is soon to be shown in New York.
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