Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Essence of Yoga

You’re no one in Ubud if you don’t do Yoga. Sadly I’m a yoga-phobe, afflicted by the fear of Yoga after a traumatic experience the first time I tried it. I’m going to share this horrific moment with you on my blog for the first time ever, in the hope that it will help me overcome my fear.

The first time I went to Yoga was with a housemate Chiara from Kentish Town. She convinced me that it was amazing and that I would see the light, so I pulled on my tracksuit and trainers and off we went to the community centre around the corner.

The instructor was tall and thin, with a voice that seemed theatrically soft, and a 1000-yard stare that looked beyond me as he welcomed me into his class with hands clenched in prayer. I instantly recognised these characteristics as that of a heavy stoner, which reduced my anxiety about the impending effort of exercise I’d been dreading. Much later I would learn this was actually the gaze and stance of the enlightened.

And so we took our places on the mats and started lifting our hands, bending over, lying down and various combinations of these poses; Lying down with our hands up, bending over while lying down, and lifting our hands while bent over. I looked across at Chiara to share a smirk at our inability and gracelessness, only to see a look of total concentration had taken over her face and furrowed her brow.

Starved of an accomplice with whom to snigger I too turned my attention to breathing and bending. Plank to Cobra, Namaste Hands and Mountain Pose. But after a just few moments of these body folds and exhalations, a new preoccupation descended on me. With my buttocks raised in the air while bending, lying and lifting my hands I felt a fart wrestling its way through my bowls on its way to the surface. I clenched down firmly on my coccyx, imagining the shock and condemnation Chiara and the teacher would give me if I let one fly in the midst of this sacred workout.

For a few moments I soldiered on, holding back the gaseous floodgates. Wincing with all my might in Warrior Two, Downward Dog and Lunge, I held on, but my grip was loosening, and I knew it was just a matter of time. Finally as I went from Cat to Cow there was nothing I could do and out it came. Like a trumpet fanfare at a jousting contest, the pitch changing musically as I arched my back, the noise filled the room, drowning out the earnest sounds of nasal inhalations. My eyes shot left and right looking for an escape, perhaps there would be enough confusion over its origins if I played it cool.

“Good Andy” said the instructor soothingly, quelling any doubt the noises origins. “Your body is expelling negative energy.”

‘Huh? What?’ I thought, my blush fading as Chiara confirmed the acceptability of my fart with a sweet smile that would have been just as appropriate if I had offered her a bite of my chocolate ice cream. ‘It’s Ok to fart? Well thank God for that,’ I mused, ‘cos there’s more itching to come out’.

Over the next few moves I relaxed my sphincter into the poses and emitted the ripest of peaches into the shared atmosphere of the hall, contented and calmed by the satisfaction that I was really overcoming my western inhibitions in the pursuit of Yogic truth. To hold back, after all, was to hold on to negative energy, anti-zen, yang, or was it ying, whichever the black one was.

The first few screamers were met with sympathetic and knowing smiles by the other students, but as the smell started to take hold, and the flow of my bad chi showed no sign of abating, resignation and then irritation took hold of the facial expressions around me. Even the instructor’s calm voice started to crack with irritation as my negative essences reached the front of the room and overpowered the essential oil burner.

Chiara shot me a glare of disapproval, which I misread as concern, so I responded with a gaze of serene profundity, to reassure her that I was sincerely bubbling my way towards enlightenment.

By the time I had expelled all my negative life-force the hall had a hum of natural spirit to it which was making even me wince. The instructor, unable to open the security locks on the windows, decided to end the class early and was obliged to part refund the other students. I was relieved the bending and lying down had come to an end, because as well as draining my internal chakras, I’d also worked up quite a sweat and my muscles were ready to give up.

Chiara didn’t speak to me for the walk home and in the wake of her admonishment I’ve never been able to face Yoga again.


  1. For real?! Its ok - the studio where I work is open air - and I'd put you in the back by the exit....

  2. That is absolutely hilarious. That's what he gets for telling you, "good, Andy." ;)


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