While this wasn’t really a trip that included many ‘firsts’ one thing I was introduced to for the first time was Yoga. My host, Phong, has been practicing Yoga for some time and, while he claimed he was no expert, he knew a great deal more about it than I did.


I had always thought that Yoga was what vegans who wore loose fitting clothes and comfortable shoes did instead on watching TV. I’d also noticed that it seemed to be popular among middle aged ladies who drive Mercedes and BMW’s and call everyone darling. It didn’t really seem like my kind of thing, but I’ll try anything once.

Phong took me along to a free Yoga session at a shop called Lululemon in Camberwell, Melbourne. Our instructor was Lelda Kapsis, who apart from being a Yogaologist (or whatever they’re called) is also an actress and a voice over artist.

Pretty soon the room was full of people (and probably some vegans too!) all sitting dutifully on mats before Lelda. In her soft Australian voice overtone she welcomed us to the session then asked if anyone had any medical issues or injuries.

I glanced around the room wondering to myself why such a question would be required if all we were going to do was sit on a mat and pull the occasional funny pose. But, oh boy, my understanding of Yoga was way wrong! While softly spoken and clearly a spiritual kind of girl, there’s little doubt in my mind that Lelda could kick my ass in a gym with very little effort.

I thought Yoga was supposed to be relaxing and leave you feeling chilled out and one with mother earth. But instead, after just a few minutes of introductions and a few closed eye exercises, I was straining to point my butt to heaven while sending my dignity to hell.

It quickly became apparent to me that I was very likely the only Yoga virgin in the room. I probably should have figured that would be the case when the venue was a shop that sold yoga-inspired athletic apparel.

Lelda was giving great instructions explaining how to get into positions with funny names like the ‘Catcow,’ ‘Royal pigeon,’ and the ‘Deputy dog,’ or something like that, I can’t really remember. The problem was I was getting confused. Everything was happening so fast, amplifying my novice status, like playing xbox games with a teenager.

Free YogaConfident I had gotten into my stride, and at least got the hang of the ‘Deputy dog’ position, I looked up to just check I was in unison with the class. It was then when I realised that I probably needed a ‘Yoga for dummies‘ class. I had the pose right, but had done it the other way to everyone else, they were all pointing left while I was pointing right. I shuffled to the correct pose while struggling to stifle the fit of giggles that was now consuming me.

All the meditation stuff we did between stretches and poses was going over my head as I couldn’t still my thoughts. All I could think of was that if this was being filmed I would very much stand out as the class idiot. The clumsy novice whose failure to figure out his left from right was the least of his problems.

The hour long session was probably not long enough for the vegans in the room, but for me it was quite enough. I’ve clearly got a lot to learn about meditation and Yoga, but at the very least the session was a fun experience and I’ll know what I’m getting myself into next time, and I’m sure there will be a next time.

Yoga for dummies
Meditation for Dummies
Naked Yoga!
Laughing Yoga
Zen Habits