Malvern Wells Yoga

Smile, it's yoga! Yoga classes in the Malvern area.


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Farting and other stories (6 funnies from the yoga mat)

I am by no means a seasoned, veteran yoga teacher.  However, I’ve seen and heard some pretty funny stuff in my 15 months of teaching and I would like to share some of it with you.

1. Farting

Yup, if you are a frequenter of yoga classes, chances are either you or someone else in the class has farted.  What do you do?  Where do you look?  Do you pretend you’ve not heard?  What if it smells?  Luckily the folks over at DoYouYoga have made a helpful video to tell you what to do (funny).

Unfortunately what the video doesn’t tell you is how to hold in a fart if you are the teacher, or what happens when you hold in a fart for 90 minutes and then you sit down in your car and try to drive home…

2. The Fanny Fart

That’s right, the fanny fart.  This happens to me on rare occasions during shoulder stand or headstand.  It has never happened to me in Warrior 2 or Side Angle Pose.  In this particular instance, a lovely lady in my Tuesday class was in Warrior 2 when she let out what we all assumed was a bottom burp.  When it happened again and louder this time, she told us that it was what she believed is “commonly known as a fanny fart”!  Where do you put your face when this happens?  How do you rearrange your face into something resembling a composed Yoga teacher?  Perhaps the nice people at DoYouYoga will make another video…

3, The woman whose arms didn’t work

Sometimes at the beginning of class I like to do wrist warm ups.  Beginner students get tired wrists quite easily and I think it’s important to get the blood pumping into them before you start doing anything weight-bearing like downward dog.  Anyway, generally we do a few flexes of the wrist and some circles with the arms stretched out in front of us so that it works the deltoids as well.  One particular lady, fairly early on in my teaching experience, tried about two rotations, then said she couldn’t do it because it hurt her arms.  She then bent her elbows into her sides and proceeded to do the exercise like that.  It just looked incredibly funny… maybe you had to be there.

I find it really interesting that people often struggle to distinguish between mild discomfort and pain… but what do I know (see point 4)?

4. Being accused of being so bendy that yoga must be really easy for me

The only thing I can do is laugh when people say this to me… and it happens quite a lot.  Let’s get this straight, yoga is not easy for anyone.  The reason I am so flexible is I worked hard as a gymnast and a dancer when I was a kid and then later on as a yoga practitioner.  I have maintained my childhood flexibility BY WORKING HARD AND KEEPING MY BODY MOVING!  Being bendy is more of a curse than it is a blessing.  It is easy to over pronate and hurt myself really badly.  I work hard to develop my muscles in order to protect my flexible tendons and ligaments.  Injury is not funny.

5. The hardcore know-it-all Ashtangi

Again, this was fairly early on in my teaching career.  She put her mat right at the front of the class, scowled at me as I described ujayii pranayama as sounding a bit like Darth Vader (I had two blokes in the class, I thought it would appeal to them), her chaturanga was better than mine, she ignored my instructions and did her own things and her headstand was a perfect straight-leg lift.  At the time I was mortified.  I wanted to throw a diva strop and ask her to come to the front and teach the class instead of me.  She’s never been back to one of my classes since.  I don’t really care about that.  She taught me a very valuable lesson, not to let my ego get in the way of delivering a good, safe class for my students.  I think (I hope) that I now teach with a lot more grace and humility and I am confident in what I am doing.  My classes, taught my way.

6. Flower power pants

One of my lovely students wears black leggings that are somewhat transparent, especially in downward dog.  I have seen her flower power knickers quite often.  It always seems to be the same pair… maybe they’re her favourite pair for doing yoga.  Either way, it makes me smile!  I know some people have a problem with it (I’ve read enough blog posts about lululemon pants to have picked up that some people consider totally opaque leggings essential).  Who cares?  As long as you show up and do your practice, who gives a f*ck what you wear.  I do it in my pyjamas on Sunday mornings.

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Things I like

When I was a kid I used to write lists of things I liked.  Even though I’m an adult, I still think writing lists of stuff (as opposed to your work tasks or what you need from the supermarket) can be very cathartic.  A list like this can remind you to practice a little gratitude and it can conjure up happy memories of people or places.  When you’ve got the grumps, you can whip out your list and smile… so why not try it?  Make yourself a cup of tea, maybe get some chocolate, find a nice notebook and a pencil (no, the back of an envelope will not suffice) and write your list of things you like.  I have a couple of rules though:

1)  Don’t include individual people on your list.  So don’t name all 17 of your cats!

2) Don’t put music tracks you like.  This is a whole separate list!  Same goes for films.

3) Do put things you like doing, places you like, situations you like, foods you like, stuff you like reading about…

Here’s mine (in no particular order) and I’ve added in some helpful links!

  • Yoga
  • Birds of prey
  • Pizza (gluten free of course) – I have these babies on repeat order!
  • Cats (and all the cuddling opportunities therein!)
  • Big cats
  • Garden birds
  • Sunsets
  • Kissing in the rain
  • Wearing my pyjamas all day
  • Taking a bath
  • Washing my hair
  • Getting my nails done
  • Beautiful shoes
  • Beautiful views
  • Great conversation
  • Dinner with friends
  • Cooking
  • Cake (making and eating)
  • Watching the entire BBC version of Pride & Prejudice in one go
  • Reading yoga books
  • Reading trashy novels
  • Waking up late (not lounging around in bed, just waking up late)
  • Real genuine belly laughs (mine or anyone else)
  • Knitting
  • Little boxes
  • That smell when you walk into a hippy-type shop like Aquarius in Malvern, or Huckleberry Willow in Chesterfield (is that even still there?  Yup, apparently so!)
  • Hugs
  • Americano – black
  • Peppermint tea (it’s an obsession)
  • Flowers in my garden (the more colour, the better – honeysuckle, hydrangea and roses)
  • Trees (big ones, small ones – it doesn’t matter)
  • Midwinter Stonehenge Strawberry pottery (again, it’s an obsession)
  • Baking bread
  • Geocaching
  • Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face
  • Swimming in the sea
  • Riding my mountain bike
  • Walking on the Malvern Hills
  • The Peak District
  • The Lake District
  • Lyon
  • Playing in Newent Orchestra and feeling just a tiny part of that huge, powerful sound and almost being reduced to tears by it… thinking particularly of the time we played in Gloucester Cathedral
  • The Bran Tub in Malvern.  It’s like Mecca.
  • Coming home
  • Cuddling up in bed when it’s absolutely freezing outside
  • Proper traditional quilts
  • Autumn leaves
  • Beer
  • Growing our own vegetables
  • Bees
  • Getting ready to go out
  • Dancing like a demon
  • Cranking up the music in my car… or house
  • Speaking French
  • Hats

Now I’ve started, I could go on for hours.  I guess it’s a way for my readers to get to know me a bit more… but at the same time I urge you to write a list like this.  It’s fun!  Feel free to share yours.