Saturday, July 31, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 21 - key to the door

Day 21 of my 30 day challenge and I thought it would be hilarious to keep telling everyone that today was my 21st in the hope that they'd think it was my birthday, which would then result in everyone telling me how young and adorable I appear before they scampered off to buy me presents.

I did not expect, nor want, laughter. People can be bastards. What is that whole 'key in the door' thing about, anyway? It drove me nutty on my actual 21st.

So anyway, I'm down to single digits now. Hurrah!

I dreamt about yoga last night. In my dream I'd finished my 30 day challenge, and as a result gained the power of flight. After experimenting with tentative hovering around the house, I set off on a tour of all my familiar West London haunts in order to bid farewell to my nearest and dearest before departing for a new life on the moon.

I was expecting excessive pooing as a result of all this yoga, not something akin to a bad acid trip.

Friday, July 30, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 20 - mariachi el yoga

The one thing that bugs me about yoga - besides the excessive sweating and people who invade my area - actually happens before class when I'm trying to enjoy my nap time relaxation period. Recently I've become more and more aware of people who think that the period prior to the beginning of class is actually the perfect time to catch up on what happened in last night's Eastenders or share some scurrilous office gossip, completely ignorant of the fact that the vast majority of people in the room are on the backs with their eyes closed, possibly even snoring gently, and certainly not caring about who Kate from accounts is boffing in the stationary cupboard.

And that's why today I was really quite happy to see that the lovely people at the studio had put out signs telling everyone to shut the f**k up, but obviously in a more polite yoga stylee. While I was chilling out I was actually hoping that someone would start nattering, at which point I had decided I would sit bolt upright, adopt my best angry face, and point furiously at the new signs. Sadly everyone behaved themselves.

What the signs had no power over, however, was the fact that the tapas bar below the studio decided that Friday night would be the perfect time to employ a mariachi band to serenade their patrons. And let me tell you, it's not easy to keep a straight face when you're upside down in standing separate leg head to knee pose and someone strikes up some jaunty latin beats.

Not only that, but no matter how pooped you are it really is quite difficult to follow the teacher's instructions and keep completely still after coming out of posture when every fibre of your being is shouting "RUUUUUUUUUMBA!"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 19 - supply teacher

If there's one thing I like in my yoga practise it's consistency, which is why I approached tonight's class with a bit of trepidation. Thursdays nights, y'see, are usually taken by my favourite teacher, and in the past when she's not been there I've often skipped that evening's class. This week she's on holiday, but as I'm balls deep in the midst of my 30 day challenge, I don't really have the option of taking a day off.

Well, actually I do, but I don't want to.

Anyway, whenever I have a teacher I've never met before I always slip into that old school mentality that you'd get whenever your teacher was ill and your GCSE maths class was being covered by a supply teacher. Your regular teacher was a known quantity, and it's the same with yoga teachers; Thursday night lady knows what I'm good at, she knows my limitations; I can get away with a bit of back-chat, and she doesn't say anything when I sit at the front of class picking blue fluff out of my belly button.

New teachers aren't like that. You have to impress them, prove to them that you are a good boy and you're definitely putting 100 percent effort in. And no, that wasn't you who farted and made all the other children roll around on their mats giggling like specials.

As it was, though, I had nothing to worry about; temporary teacher was lovely, and the class passed without incident. Although to be honest I am looking forward to my regular teacher's return next week; Thursday evening just wasn't the same without her broadcasting a sarcastic remark to the class about me swan-diving down and kissing Batman.


In other news, I experienced a rather awe-inspiring instance of the detoxing effect of all this yoga last night. Without going into too much detail, let me just say the words 'explosive decompression' and we'll leave it at that.

On the plus side, I do feel about half a stone lighter.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 18 - Temptation

Eighteen days in and this was the first day where I was tempted to play hooky from my 30 day challenge (I'm officially allowed six rest days, but I've actually yet to take one). Not because I didn't want to go to yoga, mind, but because a band I'm currently a smidgeon obsessed with are playing in town tonight.

That band is OK Go. I've been a bit of a fan of theirs for a few years now - way before the treadmill video before anyone tries to accuse me of jumping on any bandwagons - and a few weeks back I ordered a USB drive off their website that contained recordings of a live electric gig, a live acoustic gig, and their new album. Since it arrived at the beginning of last week I've not actually listened to any other music while rocking out with my iPhone.

Upon hearing that they were in London, then, I was sorely tempted to be naughty and sneak off to see them. But, as it turns out, I'm a dedicated yogi; I went to class, and I was pretty damn awesome. And anyway, I think I've found my yoga theme tune - I had this playing in my head all throughout class:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 17 - flirtrageous

Going into this 30 day challenge I expected a number of things to happen. These included differences in my body shape and muscle definition, lots of clothes needing to be washed, and getting very sweaty.

What I did not expect was for the yoga to make me more attractive to women.


OK, I might be exaggerating a bit, but no word of a lie after class this evening I popped into Sainsburys to pick up some food and something to quench my thirst (or rehydrate if I'm being scientific), and after paying I decide to stand in the foyer while I sexily knock back my Lucozade isotonic drink. While I'm standing there, patches of sweat beginning to show through on my t-shirt and inner thighs (nothing turns ladies on more than moist trousers) I get the impression I'm being watched.

Turns out I'm right.

A lovely young lady is looking at me a bit funny (funny as in like she's trying to make sure I am who she thinks I am, rather than funny with clown makeup and eyes that boing-boing out on springs). And then she says:

"Did I hear you say in the studio that you've done 18 straight days of yoga?"

"Oh, it's 17," I reply, shrugging my shoulders as if it's no biggie.

"Wow, that's amazing - I can barely manage two." She says this while turning her face down a little and tossing her hair back, actions that TV shows and movies have taught me are universal signs of instant attraction. I then proceed to impart some of my newfound yoga wisdom on her, scattered throughout with pseudo-macho phrases such as "it's nothing really" and "you just get into a natural rhythm" (hubba-hubba).

Anyway, so we chat for a couple more seconds and then she heads off to do some shopping of her own, but not before turning to me one last time to say "let me know how you get on, won't you?"

If this was an eighties movie that moment totally would've been in slow-mo with fans whipping her hair around her while she blew me a kiss.

Monday, July 26, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 16 - level up!

Possibly as a result of being a rather chubby youngster with child-sized man boobs who excelled academically but failed epically at sports, I now find myself, as an adult (physically if not mentally), seeking affirmation of my sporting prowess whenever and wherever possible.

Of course, when I'm running I have my Nike+ kit to tell me how good (or not) I'm doing. Alas, Nike+ does not work with yoga, so I either have to go with my gut reaction as to how I did, or badger the teacher after class until they give me a verbal pat on the back and send me on my way.

Tonight, though, I didn't have to fall back on either option.

I went into class this evening resolved to taking it easy somewhat. Yesterday in particular was a bit of a rubbish session for me, so I decided to take it down a notch in this class - effectively to allow my mind and body to regroup, although you also wouldn't be wrong in saying I wouldn't be running on all cylinders and would just be going through the motions.

As a result I had what I thought was a decent if unremarkable class.

As I walked out of the studio, however, the teacher looked at me and said "there was a bit of a competition between a few of the guys in the front row there - and I think you came out on top."

I stopped and looked around like a bit of a special before pointing at myself and mouthing "me?"

"Yes," she said.

"B-but I was taking it easy tonight - I hit the wall!"

"I don't think you did - you were doing very well in there tonight."

I continued to stand there with a bit of a dumbfounded look on my face, at which point she said:

"You're Tim, aren't you? I could tell by the Star Trek towel."

Ah yes, the legendary Star Trek towel - evidently the source of all my powers.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 15 - Halfway

Let us never speak of me quoting Bon Jovi lyrics again. We shall assume I'm delirious from too much yoga.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 14 - wall

I knew it was coming, but that doesn't make it any less annoying: I think I've hit THE WALL (and I don't mean one that leaves me with bloody knuckles and tears in my eyes).

Some of the teachers and staff at yoga warned me that I might reach a point where I feel I can't quite go any further, and while I don't think I've actually reached THAT point - I'm still enjoying it and I'm still doing everything quite capably (I think) - I don't feel like my practise has actually been advancing over the last few days. Basically that means I feel like I'm going through the motions a bit.

On the plus side, bad yoga at the moment is actually still a bit like decent yoga from a few months ago. And to be honest the situation's not helped too much by Friday's class being in the evening and Saturday's being first thing in the morning with only about 13 hours between them. Still, I do get a nice long rest between Saturday's morning class and Sunday's evening class, so hopefully my powers will be restored by this time tomorrow…

Friday, July 23, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 13 - snigger

Some bullet points for you:

• Genuinely almost fell into a proper deep asleep before class started. At one point I might've entered a micro-sleep; I certainly jolted awake somewhat comically about 10 minutes before we kicked off.
• Someone farted halfway through. This made me laugh. Lucky I wasn't in posture at that point.
• I hit a little bit of a wall and struggled a smidgeon halfway through.
• And I'm doing it all over again at 9:00 tomorrow morning.

That's it for now; I've got the new Scott Pilgrim book and I intend to spend some special* time with it tonight.

*Not that sort of 'special.'

Thursday, July 22, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 12 - blow me

Let's get one thing straight: I am awesome at toe stands. So awesome, in fact, that my teacher tonight asked if I practised them while sitting in front of the telly because I did it so naturally. I don't, but maybe I should - not because I need to, just because I can. I am rock-solid when balanced on one foot, my bum raised above my heel (NOT resting on it).

What I'm not so good at these days is using my patented 'I WANT' expression to get the teacher to open the window. This expression has served me well throughout my life - from getting Sparky Ma to buy me new toys when I was a kid (not now, obviously; I can afford my own these days), to wangling free coffee; it's the same sort of expression that Princess Diana used in that interview with Martin Bashir, though with less mascara. It used to work on the yoga teachers when I was new and inexperienced and obviously close to overheating, but now they just look at me like I'm making a fuss.

I tried desperately to get that look to work tonight, but to no avail. I did actually do everything in class, but I really just wanted a blast of cool air. I would've turned to the person next to me and asked them to blow on me, but apparently the one thing people hate more than someone making a fuss these days is Mel Gibson.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 11 - poop

Don't go thinking I went into this 30 day yoga challenge blind; I did my planning, and I did my research.

The planning entailed making sure I had a comprehensive idea of how many pairs of kit I'd need, and exactly when they would need to be washed.

The research involved Googling other people's experiences of doing the 30 day challenge, and reading up on how it effected them. The results were overwhelmingly positive as you might guess, because otherwise it's highly unlikely I would've bothered with the challenge and this post would instead be about something inane like stroking a kitten or buying a solid chocolate KitKat (love those - as I kid I convinced myself they were so rare that they could imbue me with magical powers).

There was, however, one comment on a message board that did ring some alarm bells. I can't for the life of me find it know, so trust me when I say the gist of it was:

"Wow, I find Bikram yoga has so many positive benefits. I can just feel the toxins flooding out of my body - I even have to go to the toilet (no. 2) around four or five times a day!"

Now, I love a good poo as much as the next person, but four or five times a DAY?! I'm a busy man - I don't have time to keep popping off to the toilet because my body's running at peak effieciency! Four or five times a day? That can't be good, can it? Surely by about the third or fourth time you'd be straining your spleen and colon out? I've had diarrhea less potent than that.

Fortunately, my worries have fallen by the wayside. Eleven days in and I genuinely don't feel the need to recreate the end fight sequence from Aliens where Ripley flushes the Queen out of an airlock over the toilet bowl on an hourly basis. Although, in one class last week, the teacher did use the word 'hemorrhoids' and the phrases 'constipation-relief' and 'follow-through' in quick succession, so maybe there's something in it after all?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 10 - Benjamin Button

As I said yesterday, there are some aspects of yoga - particularly the whole zen part - that I don't quite get. But then there are other aspects I totally get - aspects that have been far more noticeable as I continue my way through my 30 day challenge.

One thing I knew would happen was a change in my body shape - shoulders, biceps, that sort of thing, because I know from past experience when I've gone three or four times a week for a couple of weeks that it has a noticeable effect on those areas.

What I was not expecting was to start growing younger. But that, apparently, is what is happening.

The first inkling I had was when I noticed that the rather deep line on my forehead from where I raise my eyebrows incredulously at people rather too often had softened somewhat, and gotten a little bit shorter. Then I noticed that the laughter lines around my eyes had decreased in size, and the dark rings under my eyes had disappeared altogether. My jaw line is more defined, and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to produce mock double-chins. I've begun to look like that bit of dodgy CGI they used in X-Men United to make Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen look younger.

And then today I walked into the office only to hear the phrase "holy shit, have you gotten taller?!" hurled at me by Scanner. Apparently I have.

So, while I'd previously scoffed at anyone telling me that yoga could make me look younger rather than just feel younger, I now can't deny the evidence - because it's staring right back at me every time I look in the mirror.

And all this after just 10 days. At this rate I'll be back in nappies by the time I hit that final class.

Monday, July 19, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 9 - Urge to punch

The one thing I've never *quite* got with yoga is the slightly zen-like feeling it's supposed to induce. I always leave class on some sort of endorphin high, and then I walk into Sainsbury's, some scrummy-mummy wheels her trolley into me, and quite frankly I just want to punch someone.

Today was the first time I've wanted to actually do it in class, though.

Before class had even started I began to suspect that the rabble might be in; there was a bunch of people who were nattering away really loudly, which you're not really supposed to do in the studio and it seriously put me off my nap time a bit. In the end a young lady got up and asked them to keep it down a bit. Props to her.

But then when class started…

Basically I had a mannish-looking woman on my left who thought it was OK to dump her towel on my mat when she didn't need it, and a guy on my right who thought it was OK to put his water bottle on my towel when he'd taken a drink. It wasn't, and I let him know as such by relaxing fully backwards in fixed firm pose - which I can't usually do, but somehow gained the ability today, possibly because I was so incensed - and knocking his water over.

Good times, I think you'll agree.

He did actually apologise, but then at the end of class while relaxing in savasana I felt something against my leg. Turns out he'd decided to spread himself out a bit and encroach on my Batman towel. Outrageous. In disgust I got up and pulled it out from under him. I hope he got carpet burns on his hands as a result - it's not what you'd call a fluffy towel, and cheap, sweaty, fast-moving towelling can be particularly unforgiving on soft skin.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 8 - the story so far…

It was exactly one week ago today that I began my 30 day yoga challenge, so I thought I'd look back and see how I've been coping.

The answer? Very well, thank you for asking.

I originally thought I'd struggle to go every day, and even if I did manage to actually get there I thought I'd certainly struggle with the class itself. Turns out the regime of actually having to be at the studio at a certain time each day (particularly during the week) has been something of a blessing in disguise; I'm actually getting up on time because I know I have to be at work by a certain time so that I can leave at a certain time to be at the studio at … well, you get the idea.

And far from struggling more with each passing day I'm finding that it's actually getting easier. The 90 minutes often feel like they zip by in a flash (although I do still hate balancing stick pose with a passion) and before I know it I'm queuing in Waitrose to buy a refreshing fruity drink.

As for other benefits … well, my shoulders have gotten noticeably bigger, my thighs and calves more defined, and I've dropped down a hole on my belt (which is both awesome and a little worrying because I'm on the last hole now). All that in just one week.

Lord knows what will happen in the three weeks still remaining.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 7 - a mighty wind

Having done Bikram yoga for well over a year now I think I can say with some certainty that I pretty much know what I'm buying into every time I step in that room. While my yogic powers (is yogic even a word?) may fluctuate from day to day (although they've been consistently awesome this last week) I know for sure that the room is going to be hot.

Well, except for that time toward the end of last year when the heating broke.

Anyway, so yes, it gets very hot. Fortunately, the teachers are well aware of our plight as students, mainly because they're also in the heated room with us so they're sort of going through the same thing, and they take measures to make sure we don't a) collapse, or b) die. These measures basically involve opening a window or a door, or a combination thereof.

Of course, they don't do this too frequently because then all the hot air would just float away and you'd just be in a normal room, which kind of defeats the object. And by 'kind of' I mean 'completely.'

As a general rule of thumb, then, I go on the expectation that we'll sizzle for the standing series of postures, then get a window treat around the midway point, thereafter followed by an occasional treat every now and then until the 90 minutes is up.

Believe me, a window being opened has never been so exciting. If you're flagging a bit, it's basically like all your Christmases have come at once. And the studio where I practice really does get a nice through-flow of air if both the windows and the door are opened. You'd never believe how rejuvenating a blast of cool air could be.

Not everyone likes a nice breeze, though, so more often than not they don't stay open very long. As a result, I have come to the conclusion that I have two means at my disposal to keep cool if the teacher's being particularly stingy. The first is simply to tip water over my head, which is both quick, easy, and effective; the second, which involves an attempt at bribing my teachers before class, has yet to prove successful - although I did buy some additional open-window time once with an angrily-raised eyebrow.

Friday, July 16, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 6 - nap time

I've just done my sixth day of yoga and I'm now in totally uncharted territory. I think the most I've ever done in a row before is … what - three? And what's slightly miraculous is the fact that I don't actually feel like I need a break. In fact, I feel energised - and not just physically.

Because I always get there early - primarily to nab my spot of choice in the studio - I actually end up with about half an hour to kill before we kick off our 90 minutes of sweaty madness. And because you're not really supposed to take anything in with you I can't use the time to play Angry Birds on my iPhone or leave witty comments on your Facebook pages.

So instead I go to sleep.

OK, I don't *properly* go to sleep, but I do doze rather impressively; I'm still conscious of everything going on around me, but my eyes are shut, I'm totally chilled out, and quite frankly it's entirely possible that one day I will drift off and then there'll be an awkward moment where everyone else will have to wait while the teacher tries to wake me up (which, let me tell you, will be nigh-on impossible).

But until that time I do love my pre-class doze; it's one of the few times I genuinely have where I've got nothing to do but lie back and relax without anything going on to district me.

Yes, Angry Birds, I'm looking at you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 5 - naughty cows

I was particularly looking forward to today's yoga because Thursday night class is with one of my favourite teachers, a really funny lady who always keeps things lighthearted so you end up smiling and doing more than you think you're capable of. And she just happens to have been pretty instrumental in making me take on this 30 day challenge in the first place.

"I'm doing it!" I said excitedly and a little bit like a mentalist when I arrived. "The 30 days, I mean - I'm doing the 30 day challenge!" (I thought it best that I should clarify exactly what it was I was 'doing')

"Brilliant," she replied, beaming at me a bit like a proud mum even after their simpleton child has staggered in last in a primary school egg and spoon race. "How do you feel?"

"Really good, actually," I said. "All my classes since Monday have been amazing."

"Great, but don't be disappointed if you do find that you have a bad class at some point. You can hit a wall where your body just tells you to chill out."

"Yeah, I'm kind of prepared for that, and I'm surprised it's not happened already to be honest. It's been great so far though - I wake up in the morning and think 'yay, yoga in 10 hours!'"

That's when she looked me straight in the eye and said "well, first of all you really need to get a life…"


So class went well AGAIN (I expect you all want me to have that bad class now just so I stop sounding so smug, don't you?), and as usual quality teacher lady kept it all fun and lighthearted, which helped bring the best out of us. Probably the peak of hilarity came when she was explaining how to do a Bikram sit-up and actually quoted the man himself:

"An empty barn is better than a barn full of naughty cows."

I have no idea what that actually means or how it was related to achieving the perfect sit-up, but it was very funny.


Just after class while I was chilling out max and relaxing with my eyes closed on my Batman towel I felt something nudge my arm. I opened my peepers to see a chap I've occasionally chatted to standing over me.

"How *do* you do those toe-stands?" he said.

"Um, I dunno," I replied. "I just, y'know, do them…"

He looked at me with mock anger, harumphed, and stormed off, pausing only briefly to turn round and shout "I HATE YOU AND YOUR BLOODY TOWELS!"

Did I mention I'm loving yoga at the moment?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 4 - sweaty betty

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but day four: nailed it AGAIN.

Now, the thing with Bikram yoga is that because you're in a hot room you sweat. A lot. It's a bit like doing yoga under a running shower, except the water stings when you're doubled over with your forehead pressed against your knee and everything runs down your face into your eyes. Seriously, sometimes I've come out of posture and half expected someone to give me a tissue because I look like I'm blinking back floods of tears.

Anyway, so sweating in class is a given. But what I've found since I started Bikram yoga is that when it's warm my body's instant reaction now is just to open the floodgates and SWEAT. It's warm in the office? SWEAT. Wander into a warm shop? SWEAT. How do I like my tea? SWEET. At one point I was actually a little bit confused about why I was sweating so much, but then a few weeks back one of my yoga teachers - maybe picking up on my sweaty psychic vibes - mentioned in passing that it's a side effect of spending so much time in the hot room. Sweating is, after all, your body's natural way of trying to cool down.

So if you see me wandering around the streets looking like I've just done several lengths of a swimming pool fully clothed, just remember that while I may look a damp mess, my yoga-honed physique is actually running at peak efficiency.

At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 3 - parachute pants

Three classes down - heck, that's 10 percent of my challenge nailed, if my incredibly poor maths skills don't betray me once again.

So, another day, another new pair of shorts to break in. Today's were some Puma running shorts which weren't quite as light as yesterday's wearable-air Nikes, but still did the job more than adequately. Somewhat bizarrely, though, they're even more sweat resistant than the Nikes, to the point that I began to wonder at one point if they'd been coated in the same stuff that makes water run off ducks' backs; my sweat was just flowing off them, a bit like I was in the midst of peeing myself rather energetically.

On top of that, if I sat down on my heels rather too vigorously in the upright postures of the floor series they inflated slightly at the front, basically so … well, look, I'm enjoying my yoga challenge, but not THAT much, if you catch my drift.

As a result there was rather a lot of smoothing down done throughout class. Still, they were cheap and they cover my gentlemanly bits well enough, so I shan't complain too much.

Roll on day four.

Monday, July 12, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 2 - new kit

Well, that went well; in fact, I think you could say I nailed it.

*flexes muscles, feels awesome*

As part of my 30 days of yoga I obviously had to go and buy a load of new kit because quite frankly there was no way I'd be able to see it through with just the two pairs of shorts I've been using so far. So, the other week I bought a few new pairs of shorts, and today I wore one of these new pairs for the first time.

They're actually running shorts, and as a result they're very light and breezy. Don't get excited, they're not transparent or anything, but it does sort of feel like you're not really wearing anything, which made me do a double take at one point. It's the closest I expect I'll come to naked yoga, which is probably for the best. Anyway, they were very nice, although not very absorbent when you're trying to wipe sweat off your hands. Still, the pros more than outweigh the cons.

Also nice is the new towel I bought from Tesco for the bargain price of £3. While it doesn't have an awesome picture of Batman on it, it more than makes up for it by being really fluffy, which was very nice when we got to the floor series. I almost wrapped myself in it, despite the fact that by about halfway through the class it had pretty much doubled in weight after absorbing a considerable amount of my manly sweat.

Anyway, two down, 28 to go.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

30 days of yoga: Day 1

Well that went … OK. There were only about 20 of us in the class, and admittedly I did drop to the mat and sat out the second set of two different postures, but I definitely perked up a bit when we did the floor series, which is bizarre because that's the bit where I usually collapse the most (if I'm going to collapse at all, that is).

Essentially, then, while that was a very long first sentence indeed, what I'm trying to say is that the first class of my 30 day challenge was completed without too much trouble, and set the bar reasonably low for all the classes that will follow. Definitely no repeat of last September's full-face pins and needles trauma, though.

As 80s singing sensation Yazz (and I use the term VERY loosely) might say, from here on in the only way is up.

And … here we go

A few weeks ago I was chatting to one of the guys who works at my yoga studio and in passing he just said "you're good enough - you should do the 30 day challenge."

I replied "…huh?"

The 30 day challenge, for those of you that don't know, is quite literally 30 days of yoga. Well, not literally, to be honest: it's really 30 classes in 36 days, so you do have six days leeway in case you want to take a day off here or there to, well, die.

They usually push it in January when everyone's on a post-Christmas health kick. I'd actually thought about doing it back then, but was put off the idea by the simple fact that I didn't think I'd be able to get all my kit washed and dry in time (and not forgetting the fact I was snowed in for two days). It wasn't until it was mentioned to me again the other week that I realised they actually ran it all year long, which is perfect because my washing is drying in about four seconds in this glorious heat.

So, the idea stuck in my head. In the days that followed I grew more and more interested in the idea of doing it, started working out how many new pairs of shorts I'd need to buy, and, crucially, whether there was going to be a glut of decent films coming out at the cinema that I'd risk missing while I dedicated my life to yoga (turns out there's not). I started working out how I could get to the studio everyday - which quite frankly is easy because it's not far from work. I liked the idea of having a challenge in my life. I cleared my social diary. I've told friends I'll be MIA for the next four weeks.

I bought this in preparation.

I'm doing this, and I start tonight.

(OK, technically I could've started yesterday, but I had a rather late night on Friday - my last social hurrah for a while - so I allowed myself a lazy day)

I'm fascinated by what it's going to do to my body. When I did three classes a week for a couple of weeks I noticed more definition in my shoulders, so lord knows what sort of effect 30 constant days of it will do. And yes, I'm aiming to do 30 days straight; I'll only use one of my six rest days if I *really* need it. Starting today, I should finish on August 9th.

That being the case, there'll obviously be a significant drop-off in the malarkey quota here for the next month or so. But! I'm thinking I *might* try to write very short daily updates tracking my progress; no promises, but it *might* happen.

So, wish me luck, and in the words of Mr J…

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Tuxedo hotpants

As if you haven't noticed, Britain's been basking in a much-needed, long overdue heat wave for the last week or so. And bearing in mind I only seem to own three pairs of casual shorts what does that mean?

Summer wardrobe - yay!

OK, so while you'd imagine that sort of statement would go hand-in-hand with a little jump that stops at the apex in a freeze-frame - which would be awesome - it didn't; it actually led to a bit of sighing on my part because I'm having real difficulty finding any clothes I like at the moment. Still, always one for a challenge I decided to hit-up some shops.

My first stop was of the online variety - specifically ASOS - where I picked up a new white wifebeater vest because I inexplicably seemed to have dumped my old one. Either that or someone snuck in through my open window, stole it, and is currently sat at home reading Star Trek novels with it wrapped around their head or something. I also picked up a grey sleeveless tee because I had one of those years ago and absolutely j'dored it, but also seemed to have thrown that away at some point. Weird huh? Anyway, both tops were six quid each, making them, I think you'll agree, a bloomin' bargain (even if they end up disintegrating in the wash).

I was also tempted by a vest with a palm tree and dramatic sunset on it because it reminded me of something Tyler Durden wore in Fight Club, although one swift Google reveals that it's actually nothing like anything Tyler Durden wore in Fight Club so I don't know what I was smoking back in 1999 when I saw that movie. I still might buy it though.

If anyone can actually find me a vest with 'LIVE HARD SEX' written on the front that would be just fantastic.

The day after my vest shopping extravaganza I wondered down to Westfield to try to rectify the whole 'I only own three pairs of shorts' thing, because quite frankly it's a bit awkward only owning three pairs of shorts as it leaves you having to go at least a couple of days in jeans in the hot weather - an unenviable position because not only do they get hot and sticky, but because while the upper portion of my body tans rather easily, my legs are still embarrassingly pale; it's like they were transplanted from an albino. And before you say it, I am vehemently against this whole rolling up your jeans thing that everyone seems to be doing these days; they end up looking like capri pants, and my calves are too manly and bulgy to nail that look (thank god).

Anyway, bearing in mind I'm trying to be a bit more dapper these days and my three existing pairs are all of the tres casual variety (just thought I'd throw a little French in there), I thought I might look for something a little more tailored. So I went to Topman, primarily because I am, I like to think, a top man.

An epic fail ensued, however, because I found their selection depressingly limited. Not only that, but the one pair I did pick up - which I thought were just simple black shorts - actually turned out to be a horrific pair of truncated tuxedo trousers. I kid you not, they were *short* shorts made in the style of tuxedo trousers. I was so horrified that someone might actually see me holding them and mistakenly think that I was actually considering buying them that I flung them back on the rack and hot-stepped it out of there faster than Ini Kamoze. I simply can't fathom where or when they would've been appropriate to wear. Or, bearing in mind how short they were, legal.

I think the tuxedo hotpants scarred me a little bit because I felt a bit queasy after that and had to go and sit down for a while. Because I'm such a conscientious blogger, though, I thought I'd give you the option of seeing them for yourself. Please approach with caution, however, and note that while they may look of reasonable length here, in real life even Kylie might balk at the prospect of slipping into them.

*voms in mouth a bit*

On the plus side, my vests were delivered on Friday. Curiously, though, while I ordered both in medium and the white wifebeater fits *perfectly,* the grey one is huge. So huge, in fact, that as I stood there looking at myself in the mirror, I had flashbacks to when I was about four years old and tried on some of Sparky Pa's clothes. As a result, I'll be sending that one back.

Of course, what all of this summer shopping adds up to is the fact that inevitably just as I'm baring arms and finally ready for this wonderful hot weather the sun will implode and - BAM! - autumn will arrive. Always one to look on the bright side, however, at least then I'll have a reason to go shopping for a new winter wardrobe - hopefully without fear of my eyes being assaulted by a pair of tuxedo hotpants.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Jerk off

About a month ago I received an email telling me that a comment had been left on a post I wrote back in September 2007 entitled Crotch rot. That post, for anyone who can't remember or can't be bothered to hit the link and go read it, told the thrilling tale of me having to buy a new pair of jeans to replace a pair that had developed a rather ill-placed hole in the groinal region (although you might consider it a well-placed hole if you can't be bothered, or don't have the time, to undo your trousers before going to the toilet).

Seriously, though, you should go read that post; it was vintage - a bit like the jeans.

So anyway, this comment dropped into my inbox. Comments made on old posts are more often than not spam or, even worse, spam in Chinese so I can't even read it and dream about what I would do with piles of cheap viagra, an 18 inch penis, or the money deposited into my bank account by a Nigerian prince, but this one grabbed my eye because it was a legitimate comment from a real person, albeit one named Chip Monk (although not this one - at least I don't think so anyway).

And then I read it.

"Crotch rot? Holes in the crotch area in your jeans, underwear, sweats or any other fabric that covers your genitals? Well, maybe you have the same problem I have -- I find whenever I'm sitting down in any semi-private area: at my desk, in the car, etc., my left hand mysteriously (and chronically) somehow finds its way to my penis where it habitually wants to massage the head of my penis through the cloth. Over varying amounts of time all this penis attention eventually gets the best of any clothing I wear over my groin area. Having had the problem of crotch rot for many years its my opinion that your problem may be the same as mine. I wonder if anyone will ever come up with a solution that works?"

Now, I've been accused of many things over the years, but causing the material of my clothing to disintegrate via the medium of chronic masturbation is one of the more bizarre. I mean, unless you're buying really cheap clothing from Primark I think you'd really have to be going pretty gung-ho to wear a hole in anything. Particularly denim. And in the car? Bitch, please; I can't even begin to fathom how that would work. I mean, I use my left hand to change gear - can you imagine the tailback it would cause on the dual-carriageway if you couldn't change out of first?

Don't even get me started on the "at my desk" part. I work in an open plan office - just imagine how awkward that would be:

"Call on line one for you."

"Oh, um, could you, like, maybe take a message or someth- oh shit, I've worn a hole in my trousers."

So, dear Chip Monk, if you're reading, while I'll happily admit that I have on occasion been plagued with crotch rot in my jeans, I can assure you that my problem most certainly does not originate for the same reasons as yours. As for a solution that works, maybe you should try a bowl of corn flakes, or at least sit on your hands for a while? Basically anything that gives your wiener an opportunity to recover even for a few hours is probably for the best - the poor thing is probably more chafed than an arctic explorer's cheeks.