I had booked a session of Stretch Yoga, which I was told was an intermediary session for those who had some knowledge or experience of yoga. Charlotte, my yoga instructor for the day, talented and softly spoken, was waiting for the class under a shady tree to the left of the main entrance to the gardens.
We sat on our mats. After a brief introduction about what she was planning to share with us, we started our session. The first step is finding yourself and relaxing into the class. As I lay there listening to my breaths coming in regularly and more deeply, I could hear life going on around me. The sound of an aeroplane flying overhead, mothers and children interacting in the playground, the traffic accumulating just nearby.
I have done yoga in the past, so was actually expecting this to be a walk in the park – pardon the pun – it was quite different – it is what it says – stretch yoga. I was using muscles that during lockdown had also hidden from any extra activity and I could almost sense my body coming awake with the clear instructions from Charlotte, who managed our progression through various steps and postures, making sure we were comfortable with them, taking account any injuries we may have and explaining the benefit where appropriate.
After 45 minutes of stretching, balancing and reaching, I was laying on my mat listening to Charlotte gently taking us into Shavasana, enjoying my moments of relaxation and releasing any tension from my body. It could not have been more rewarding but it also served as a bit of a wake-up call. Yes, getting lazy in lockdown is a "thing" and shaking ourselves out of this stupor is important as we take literal but also emotional steps back into the world.
This world, where arguably a lot of us feel that we do need to be more careful even as lockdown restrictions are eased, so this can be part of my comeback. Through easy but energetic steps to reconnect, but in ways which assure me of my safety and well being. Stretch Yoga in the Park could not be a better choice for this.
The lessons in the park are on offer at the moment. There will be a gradual return to the studios where socially distancing measures, as well as extra hygiene measures, will be put in place. Various lessons are offered for various abilities. There is a lot to choose from and we can all find our niche and level of comfort.