Aruna sat as cross-legged as she could on the narrow strip of foam optimistically passing for a yoga mat. This was her first time in this group.
Oh-exhale-mmm. Rise into mountain pose.
Aruna scrambled to her feet, hands still palms together in front of her.
Arms pointing to the sky. Stretch your fingers to the ceiling and your tailbone to the floor.
Oh! Did her spine just align, or slip out of place?
Urdhva hastasana. Stretch backwards, face to the ceiling. Inhale.
She didn’t bend that way anymore. Aruna wistfully remembered how flexible she’d been in her twenties. She’d been limber and lithe.
Uttanasana. Bend forward. Palms flat on the floor, head to your knees. Exhale.
Palms flat on the floor? She’d be lucky to get her fingertips into the general vicinity of her feet. The layers of her belly wedged her open. She stared at her knees. Would it be cheating to bend them?
Ardha uttanasana. Lift your head, walk your hands onto your shins. Flatten your back. Inhale.
Oh my gawd. She really wasn’t flexible anymore. When was this class going to end?
Exhale. Jump into plank position.
Maybe step into plank position. Aruna didn’t think her wobble would cease to, well, wobble if she jumped. Her nose was itchy. She wondered if she could scratch it discretely, or whether it would look too obviously like she wasn’t concentrating.
Exhale. Glide into chaturanga dandasana. Inhale and into cobra.
Aruna stole quick glances around the room at the others; more beached seals than cobras. Middle-aged, sagging skin, and extra rolls around their middles that jiggled with each jerk, they had eschewed the high-cut, fluoro pink gym gear, and embraced their glass of red with dinner and ice cream for dessert lifestyles.
Exhale. Push your bum up into the air, and into downward dog. Back straight and hold. Inhale.
Except that woman at the back. Everyone else was in yoga pants and baggy t-shirts washed into muted colours and a softness money couldn’t buy, but she was in highlighter yellow LuluLemon gear. The label was strategically placed for maximum visibility. Aruna caught herself mid-eyeroll.
Exhale. Back into uttanasana.
This torture was almost over. Aruna made a mental note to ice her knees and run a hot bath when she got home.
Inhale. Arms out to the sides then up above your head. Stretch fingers to the ceiling and tailbone to the floor.
Exhale. Return to mountain pose. Palms together.
Aruna bowed and relaxed, relieved the class was finally over. She wondered if she’d return.
Lululemon was making her way towards Aruna, waving perkily.
“Arooona,” she chirped, stretching the second syllable, warping it out of shape. “Thank you so much for the class! You’re the best teacher we’ve had since Betty, I mean Ammavarua went on maternity leave. Do you think you’ll be our permanent teacher?”