There I was, quietly having breakfast a few mornings ago in the little apartment I share with my flat-mates Saffy and Amanda. The sun had only just begun to peep over the neighbouring HDB blocks, turning the sky a mellow gold.
Saffy emerged from her bedroom, doing her best “Girl coming out of the TV in The Ring” impersonation.
“I’m fat!” she announced by way of greeting and promptly collapsed on the sofa, clearly exhausted by the effort of talking so early in the morning. “Ooh, don’t forget we have yoga tonight.”
A few weeks ago, Amanda had arrived home, flushed with excitement. “I just signed us up for yoga class!” she declared with the kind of fervour she normally reserves for a new Brad Pitt movie. “It’s very tomorrow, and I’m surprised we didn’t do it years ago. And Tock Oon is taking it. He’s gorgeous!”
And after a few false starts – we missed the first two lessons on account of The Voice – we were finally ready for our first lesson; the girls primed for their yoga debut on Orchard Road with a whole new wardrobe and matching scrunchies for their hair.
As usual, we were late, this time on account of the fact that you can never find a single taxi in Raffles Place on a Friday night. After a breathless dash to the MRT and loud complaints on my part that going to yoga on a Friday night with my flatmates was one reason why I was still pathetically single, we arrived in class with everyone already into the Archer’s Position.
And for the record, Tock Oon looks like a dog, and not in a good way either. He also has an annoyingly fake American accent that makes you want to turn off the radio, except he’s not on the air.
“What! Is Amanda kidding us?” Saffy mumbled as she grabbed a mat, looking splendid and not a little like Wonder Woman in her tight Spandex yoga outfit. “He’s a dog! But PS, I’m loving that guy in the third row. He can rearrange my chakras any time! Let’s go sit next to him!”
For the next hour, Tock Oon made us do things that I’m sure would be banned if they ever appeared in a cinema near you. At one stage, I suddenly found myself flat on my back and my legs thrown over the back of my head. It occurred to me that from this position, the world looks very strange upside-down amid a forest of unidentifiable legs.
“Hmm,” Amanda murmured beside me. “This reminds me of that time I dated that Italian gymnast, Paolo. Remember him?”
“Remember him? The painting on the wall between our bedrooms fell off its hook!” I gasped in pain, losing complete sensation in my ankles and wishing I’d worn some tighter underwear.
Meanwhile, Tock Oon had stopped next to Saffy who was struggling with her Forward Bend position.
“Stretch!” he exhorted her. “Reach for your toes! Reach! Why you not reach, one?” his perfectly modulated Mid-West, East Coast, West Coast and Texan inflected accent temporarily abandoning him.
“Well, maybe if you cut off my spine, I would be able to!” Saffy snapped, her body fixed at the vertical, her fingers unable to get past her knee-caps. “This is not natural!”
By the time we progressed to the Wheel Position, I was hurting in places that had no business feeling pain, convinced I’d dislocated my shoulder in several spots while Saffy moaned that her head still hurt after her fall from the head-stand position.
“I’m still waiting to be energized!” Saffy complained bitterly in the cab home. “And if this is how I’m supposed to feel with aligned chakras, then I want a refund! I can’t believe we actually paid money for that. What a rip-off!”
The next day, we received an email from Tock Oon announcing that Monday’s class was cancelled as he’d torn a ham-string while doing his Sun Salutation, completely vindicating Saffy’s conviction that yoga is an inherently dangerous activity, on par with bungee jumping and parachuting.
“It’s karma, I’m telling you!” she huffed with satisfaction as she picked up the phone and dialed the yoga school. “It’s for all that pain he put us through, the sadistic sicko. Yes, hello? I want to cancel my classes. I would like a refund. Yes, immediately. In this lifetime, definitely.”