Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Hatha Yoga: Football & Enlightenment

You don’t remember if it was James Joyce, or that bloke who wrote The Making of Ulysses, or just some pisshead down the pub, who insisted that you can’t begin to understand the intricacy of the human soul until you have come to terms with Basic Truth Number 1 – that we are all rooted in our bodies. You do remember that it was your mate Mick Supple who pointed out that most of us are too busy trying to come to terms with Basic Truth Number 2 – that we want to be rooted in someone else’s body – to bother with Basic Truth Number 1.

For some reason this is running through your mind as, kneeling cross-legged before the Om, you try to coax the sole of your reluctant left foot to turn up and face the ceiling. As you look around at your companions breathing serenely and emitting harmonious, rainbow-like auras, it occurs to you that Joyce, or whoever it was, probably made his startling discovery during a yoga class: it is not until a human being establishes through surreally rigorous experimentation whether his limbs are made of rubber or not, that he can really start to comprehend who he is. Gasping, you wonder if everyone experiences what you are experiencing: the blinding light flooding into your consciousness, the dawning realisation that you’re physically fucked.

There is a yang to every yin, of course. In the twinkling of an eye (for the moment, not yours), the excruciating cramps have washed away every trace of the rage that drove you to Hatha in the first place, and, as you lie foetal and exhausted on your mat, you realise that you no longer wish to punch Mark Clattenburg¹. You have attained a state of Enlightenment and it is suddenly crystal clear to you that the wiser way will be to get one of the Tai Chi masters down the corridor to do it for you.

¹Footnote for the Uninitiated: Mark Clattenburg is the liverpool fc supporter who on 20 October 2007 stole a referee’s kit and “officiated” in the match between Everton and liverpool. Experts agree that Clattenburg’s performance was the most biased in the history of Association Football. A close friend of Stephen Gerrard’s, he is hallowed by liverpool fans on account of his having transformed a certain defeat into victory and having saved Dirk Kuyt from prison.