The weekly yoga expedition

01 April 2010

I think I might have one of the most absurd journeys to a Yoga class in the UK...but it’s all worth it. Every Thursday through the winter I’ve been carefully assessing the strength of wind all day: will it be safe enough to cross this evening? Then, as evening falls, I bundle myself up in my oilskin jacket and dungarees, my yellow wellies, and a life jacket. Then I trudge round the shore and row the dinghy out to the boat, trying not to soak my Yoga kit. For the first half of winter it was always the ‘RIB’ (Rigid Inflatable Boat – a trusty old coast guard boat, which goes like the wind) but now I more confident driving the slightly more ‘precious’ Patricia, she is my chosen craft; she’s much more fuel efficient, if a little less exciting.

Then the crossing: six minutes in the RIB (finger-and-nose-freezing but exhilarating); 15 minutes in Patricia (more sedate, and warmer). Then mooring up at Badentarbet pier; always a slight struggle to judge the wind and the waves, and then both position the boat and grab the right ropes with no one to help, particularly in the dark. But (as I’m helpfully reminded by the rest of the family!) it’s the best way to learn. After carefully calculating how much the tide will move whilst I’m away, and checking and re-checking the length of the ropes, I’m off up to the car for a five minute drive to the cosy village hall.

But it’s all worth it: to see some other friendly faces (quite a treat in the depths of winter!) and because the classes with Martin are a great mixture of hard work and fun. He has high standards and knows how to encourage us to make the most of our own bodies, whilst being remarkably tolerant of my beginner’s grumbles and giggles. Although he has been practising Iyengar yoga for 20 years and teaching for 13, Martin still travels down to Bath every few months for an intensive lesson to top up his skills, returning with fresh ideas for the classes. After an hour and a half we leave feeling well exercised, refreshed, and peaceful.

Arriving back at Badentarbet pier after the lesson, I hold my breath as check the boat is still waiting for me. No disasters yet. Crossing back over in the dark beneath an inky, starry sky  I’m always on the look-out for Aurora Borealis in the north, but no luck so far... I don’t mind though; the phosphorescent plankton have been glowing in the dark water. Such a miracle.

Guiding the boat back into the harbour in the dark, avoiding other boats and buoys, can be a challenge, but the cottage lights help. By this time I’m pretty hungry and keen to get home, so I have to concentrate quite hard to ensure the boat is moored securely’s always a bit of a relief to see her still there in the morning!

The classes are over now for the Easter break. I’m hoping that with some warmer weather and lighter evenings I might be able to kayak to the mainland for the classes. It might be even more effort, but at least the carbon footprint might be lower.

There are still spaces on our Yoga retreat, from 30th April – 2nd May. Why not come along and experience the combination of west coast beauty and Martin’s excellent tuition?

Tanera Mòr, Summer Isles, Achiltibuie, by Ullapool, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV26 2YN

E: tel: +44 (0)1854 622797 mob: +44 (0)7824 828858

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