Of Yoga, and classes to teach one how to live artfully…

Yesterday I meandered down to the society park in the evening for my daily constitutional when I came across a throng of women filling out forms in triplicate and fighting through the above mentioned throng, handing back filled forms, and all flushed with the excitement that led me to believe that diamond jewellery was being handed out in exchange for the filling out of said forms. Naturally, being a best friend of said stones, I rushed to gather and fill mine own form. “Join quick,” said a lady of my acquaintance, all flushed and happy, in a strange and elated manner which had me sniff her breath suspiciously, “There are a few seats.” Anything that required me to join, and offered few seats has me immediately backing off pronto. I held my hands above my head and backed away gently from the scene.

The women in charge chased me waving a form wildly in my face. “Its a yoga class, and a class to teach you the art of how to live *.” I backed away even more determined not to have any truck with this. Yoga, I tried, for exactly three months and then I gave it up cold turkey. I am extremely proud of myself for being able to quit good and bad habits with equal impunity. I gave up tea and coffee and alcohol in the same cold turkey, no looking back manner.  I also gave up eating fruits and salads in much the same manner. I am a woman who makes no distinctions. I am a woman who knows her mind. And sticks to it for as long as it takes not to get bored and need a change of palate or scenery or whatever it is I was missing out on. (Having said that, I’ve stuck to the no alcohol for around four years now, and the no tea and coffee and colas for four months now. Never felt better. Let me get that halo out and scrub it clean and bung it on now.) I did try to give up animal protein, that lasted all of two months before I went screaming into a restaurant and downed butter chicken with naan singlehandedly without a pause or a burp to break the proceedings. It was either that, or being certified and institutionalised thanks to the visions of tandoori chickens doing the chorus line in front of my hallucinating eyeballs.

Therefore, I knew that no way was I going to stick long and hard to yoga classes at six am, in the garden, on winter mornings. I set the alarm for 5.30 am every night with a shaky hand. At five thirty when the alarm goes off I open one eye, shut it and sleep on till six, then I bound up and run down and having reached, realise it is with unwashed face, and slept in PJs and stare goggle eyed at the rest of the class all sleek in coordinated yoga ensembles and colour matched yoga mats, and slink to the back of the class, where I wait for shavaasana. Sometimes my snores reach the head of the class, and the instructors ears and she is compelled to make a trip to the back to gently bring me back to the land of the wakeful, where I jump up, sputtering, “Wha…wha…what…”

I am a girl who needs her eight hours of deep undisturbed sleep. I have been known to bite little heads off when woken up in the middle of the night for serious discussions on whether ghouls are holding a party in our balcony. The offspring has decided that it is safer to watch the ghouls in the balcony than awake the sleeping mother.

Therefore, I resisted valiantly, all the concerted attempts to enrol me into yet another early morning yoga class. “No, no, ” I staved off the form with the same kind of pluckiness that early gladiators used to keep out of biting distance of the lions. “I’m not going to join up. I’m sticking to my walks. Theyre working for me and I like walking.” The determined ladies were not going to take no for an answer. “Walking doesnt work out the entire body. And we teach you a lot more than just yoga, we also give spiritual talks on how to cope with life and how to deal with people….”  If this was a sales pitch, she just lost a potential customer right there. Spiritual talks at six am will surely send me into deep REM. And as for coping with life and dealing with people, I think I do okay without needing to attend a class on it. I havent killed anyone yet. Nor has anyone killed me. I have a simple formula that has worked for me thus far. Be polite. Be honest. And say no. And so I did. I said no. Firmly. And politely. I was honest. But the lady taking the class was not able to cope with my politeness and honesty and spent the next fifteen minutes pinning me to the bonnet of a car while she expounded the higher glories my soul would reach through concerted yoga training and mind control. I took it as a sign from God that I was not meant to reach such lofty realms when the driver of said car honked, wanting to get out of the parking lot.

I am sticking to my daily evening walks. There is something soothing about the evening, with the sun setting gently on the horizon, the sky turning from orange to red and then a deep royal purply black. The birdsong gradually fading out (though it is a sharp ear that can catch any birdsong in our potted plant landscape), and the squeals of excited children drawing blood in sandpit wars. My early mornings are meant to be clutching a mug of hot chocolate grimly, while sitting in the balcony, watching the sky change colour, and willing the eyes to open to their fullest. I take time to thaw out.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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5 Responses to Of Yoga, and classes to teach one how to live artfully…

  1. girish says:

    Nice One Kiran-ji. You are so funny ji! and witty and charming. Great writing .



  2. Gigi says:

    Those Art of Living classes are very expensive – way more $$$ than the regular studio Yoga classes.

    They are, I didnt even get to the fees bit…


  3. Nish says:

    terrible…the way they badger people to join. Spent a horrendous and tension-filled last week trying to avoid a friend who insists that I join her for some “Landmark” education series of sessions (held on Sunday mornings) to help me deal with life problems…

    Wtf…sorry, I can do that on my own. And my life will be even more problematic if I have to schlepp to the other side of town every Sunday morning to attend bhashans!!!

    Agree absolutely, I hate the evangelical zeal folks get when theyre trying to improve your life…

    Sorry for this rant, but I just had to vent somewhere 😦


  4. Poornima says:

    You know..your posts are my stress busters! And they are free…who needs art of living classes? Definitely not full-time working across timezones mom of 2 with maid issues.

    I can see some of me mirrorred in ur posts. Have been reading for quite a while now. Commenting for the first time. Thought its kinda selfish to have all the fun and not let you know its appreciated.
    Keep it up!

    Thank you for delurking, and keep coming back.


  5. Gypsy Girl says:

    hahaha!! when they came knocking i told them ” not interested ” with the biggest smile ever! i joined the yoga classes post the little imp’s birth.. and when muscles i didn’t know i had started protesting i just gave into the temptation of giving it up! 🙂 doesn’t say much for my will power does it?!

    You are sensible. I find yoga immensely boring…but then thats me. I’d rather do a brisk walk.


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