04 Jan Ready, set, Yoga!
Some days I just want to samastitihi, swan dive into an Uttanasana then transition into an Adho ukha svanasana. If you have no idea what I’m on about, then you probably haven’t been to a yoga session with Olamipe Okunseinde. Mipe is a certified yoga instructor that recently started teaching classes at Bodyline gym in Ikoyi and when you step into one of her classes, you’ll notice two things right off the bat:
The first thing is that she instructs in Sanskrit – an ancient language of India. Whenever Mipe guides her class though a movement, she calls out the name of the movement in Sanskrit as well as English. After she’s taken you through a movement a few times, she might ‘forget’ to call out the movements’ English names, so try to get familiar with her Sanskrit instructions (or, just look at her and do what she’s doing).
The second thing you will notice, is that Mipe is quite… intense. This lady isn’t here to play games with you, and neither is the variation of yoga she practices. Hers is a variation of Ashtanga yoga, which will give your body quite a workout. So if you thought you were here for some meditative poses and breathing exercises, boy are you in for an awakening.
Sessions with Mipe start out simple enough. You usually begin by standing and raising the hands into a sun salutation, followed by a forward bend to get the kinks out of your back and loosen up. Then you plant your hands on the mat. Upward facing dog, downward facing dog. All is right with the world.
About fifteen minutes in, however, you start to notice that things are not the same:
- Okay Class, palms on the floor (okay, that’s simple enough)
- Straighten your legs and get into plank position (ah, the plank. As a fitfam bros, I got this)
- Now bring your right knee to your nose. (… ehn?)
- Right Knee to your nose (excuse me ma… what?)
At this point, I’m clearly not hearing well, because how is that knee supposed to meet the nose? Witchcraft? Sorcery? Juju? I somehow manage to suspend the knee in midair (nowhere close to the nose), and we continue. “That pose must have been a one-off”, I say to myself. “The rest of the class should be fine”. It wasn’t.
I soon realized I had entered one chance, because things went from zero to a hundred. Real quick. And they stayed at a hundred; About a couple dozen twists, turns and balancing poses later, my internal dailogue with mipe was a bit more line this:
- “bend over and grab your toes” (hello ma I am not plastic man)
- “Lift your right leg up” (excuse me ma, but the leg no fit up)
- “Strong the left leg”. (Sorry ma, but the leg no fit strong again. )
For the rest of the class I was the physical embodiment of “Can not even”. Needless to say, my favorite part of the session was when I was sprawled across my mat in what I’d like to call the ‘thank heavens the class is over’ pose.
Jokes aside, Mipe’s class has been one of the best additions to my fitfam regimen, with the benefits of building strength, balance and overall body control in ways other forms of fitness cannot. Maybe that’s the reason why, despite its occasionally torturous twists and bends, I find myself grabbing a mat and heading to bodyline every Tuesday evening. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for punishment. Grab a mat and find out for yourself!