Year of men versus Year of zen

At the start of January I declared 2010 the ‘year of men’. It was a spectacularly foolish thing to do because all expectations of a repeat of last year’s excitement, have, eight and a half months in, been cruelly dashed. Thus far, there have been no men to write home about.

BUT I will not be despondent. Instead of dwelling on the elusive nature of love (a rare and beautiful thing as B often says) or the increasing prevalence of banditry among the guys I have met, I have decided to turn all my rantings into something positive.

WB, a much wiser woman than I, declared 2010 the ‘year of zen’ (the rhyming was very important) and perhaps hers was a better call. To see if she’s right, and also to combat the troubling appearance of back fat, a couple of days ago I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for a ten day hot bikram yoga trial.

Essentially this is stretching your body in every possible direction, in a hot room filled with blokes wearing shorts that were banned after the 1980s and very bendy girls, sweating so much every surface of your skin gets slippy, for 90 minutes.

Waiting outside the practice room I had no idea what to expect except the sweating. I could smell that before I even walked in. It masked the smell of my own fear about how I was surely about to humiliate myself.

The door opened, and the previous class walked out, pushing a wall of hot musty perspiration-filled air out in front of them. What on earth was I about to do? Still there’s nothing like paying money to make you see something through.

I don’t have a reputation for being balletic, graceful or even for having good balance. I will fall off a bike if I have to take my left hand off the handlebars my centre of gravity is so poor. Yet I discovered I could actually do yoga. I can balance on one leg while holding the other leg up behind me. I am bendier than I thought I was. I did not look stupid.

And what’s more, I totally loved it.

I left feeling like I was walking on air, I felt euphoric, flushed and exhilarated. I slept well and have been in an excellent mood since. All the things men are supposed to make you feel but never do.

So sack the year of men. Zen wins every time. I’m off to class.


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