Yoga for the Reluctant: Office Worker Edition

30 Mar

On a cold, rainy day the struggle of getting to work is exasperated by the thought of having to leave again, shortly before noon, to attend our weekly yoga class with Molly Martin from Omega Movement. It’s not a long trek – the classes are held at St. Luke’s Community Centre, near Old Street Station – but creaking joints and chronic caffeine withdrawal add to the burden of the journey. Still, at £45 for a set of 6 hour-long sessions, it’s a bloody good bargain.

Arriving just in the nick of time, the three of us yank off our trousers to reveal a mismatched display of shorts, leggings, and cotton hippie pants before taking our places on the mats laid out for us on the floor. An hour, I remind myself. I won’t make it through this, not today.

We start off with some light relaxation, Molly’s soothing voice guiding our breath as it moves from impatient gulps to a deep, velvety rhythm. Our bodies heavy, we awaken each limb with a series of light, purposeful movements, feeling the blood come rushing to our extremities like warm chocolate syrup.

I’m enjoying it, but a quick glance at the clock reaffirms my belief that I won’t last the whole hour. A bit of a stretch is nice for any desk-jockey, but I’m already exhausted from the pressures of just BEING – why add to the stress?

We move on to the first downward dog -  the first of many, many downward dogs that threaten my balance, shoulders, and mental stability. The first one is never easy. Watching Molly’s athletic body fold itself with elegance and ease only serves to emphasise my own inadequacy in all things gymnastic. I’m focusing, though, and slowly I begin to feel my hamstrings loosen and shoulder blades part just enough to flatten the hump in my spine. I look over to the mirror and am surprised at the reflection. Not half bad.

Still, it’s always a relief to hear that we’re moving on to another position. The flow that Molly goes through stays more or less the same, just enough to instil a pattern and renew our confidence with each passing week. The most difficult thing about starting yoga is trying to follow the instructions for movements that you’ve never considered before in your life, let alone tried to carry out. Being familiar with the pattern is really quite calming.

Halfway through the class, I can tell that we’re approaching the peak. This is the bit where you’re exhausted yet focused, with muscles warmed up just enough to allow for quite a bit more strength and flexibility than is normally possible. The moves start to get more dynamic, demanding the very last drops of exertion that have already soaked my t-shirt and turned me into a human sponge. Bird of Paradise….yeah, right. That’s me.

The last 20 minutes pass by in a haze. This class is way more demanding than anything I could put myself through at home, and my arms are in shock – “Betrayal! Judas!”

Just as I’m about to raise a white flag and collapse on my belly, I hear the four words that make my heart sing – “Get ready for relaxation.” Molly, I was born ready.

We lie on our backs, regaining steady breath and centered minds as each muscle group senses its freedom and drops to the mat below. I’m fizzling with accomplishment by now, and somewhat reluctant to stop. An eerie calmness pervades through my consciousness, making its way through my heart, lungs, and stomach. For the first time that day, I feel awake.

Molly Martin is a yoga teacher and one half of Omega Movement, a company that works with a variety of teachers to offer private, group, and corporate classes to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Her next 6-week course starts on Wednesday 5th of April, 12:00 – 13:00, in St. Luke’s Community Centre EC1V 8AJ – to sign up, click HERE.

Omega Movement is also hosting a fantastic 7-day well-being and yoga retreat in Sicily from the 11th – 17th June 2017. For more info, see HERE.