I never thought I would be a ……

Alex demonstrating in the Atlas Mountains

Yoga Model. When I was growing up, I had the usual set of fantasies about how I would save the world single handed, earn millions and give it all away, and marry an array of actors/singers/cowboys. Being  a yoga model, did not feature in these, and yet here I am below in blue , posing badly as a tree for a young, veiled photographer in a fitness studio in Agadir.


The reason for this new career is my former flatmate, Alex. She is a yoga teacher and was holding her first class in Agadir. That is her featured at the top of the post, casually doing the splits while we were walking in the mountains. She has abs you could bounce cricket balls off and is very bendy beautiful.

I haven’t done much yoga, some Bikram to prepare for the Marathon des Sables and then the occasional class in the gym, and I am very stiff and unbalanced. Alex’s speciality is yoga for healing and she promised that I would be able to cope and that there would be no splits involved.

The morning before the class, we went round the Agadir Souk buying yoga props. Foam cushions, which were sawed out of a big piece of sofa cushioning by a handy upholstery man, and some pretty scarves to help us bend. Back at Alex’s flat, she guinea pigged me through some of her moves. She did look a bit dismayed when I couldn’t even sit cross legged comfortably…..

When we got to the centre, we set up the room and then waited. There was that horrible ten minutes when we thought that no-one would come, but in fact we were fighting for space. It was all beginners: me, one French woman and nine Moroccan women of whom three were wearing the traditional headscarf (hejab)

Soft music on, we started with some breathing, and then moved on to the poses with Alex talking us through in French and Darija.

I had worried beforehand that I would be the worst and wouldn’t be able to keep up, but Alex kept it really simple and our row at the back were soon exchanging smiles and grimaces.

For almost everyone there, it was their very first exposure to yoga and there were lots of giggles as we all fell out of our standing poses.  I could feel the benefit though, as I stretched out some of my stiffness and focused hard on breathing properly. Alex came round and corrected our posture. Although I have to say my warrior pose felt more like an “I’m a bit cross” than a “with this body, I will conquer empires.”

It is still strange for me in this environment where, even though we were all women, some of the participants kept their headscarves on, but the camaraderie and the effort are universal.

At the end of the class , there was a burst of excited chatter after our hour of concentration. Everyone had really enjoyed it and were asking questions and making plans for the next class. Alex had pitched it just right.

We all exchanged kisses and handshakes, and then, just as the last woman left the room, the photographer arrived. She had got stuck in traffic and was late but Alex still needed some shots for her marketing.

So, that is how I became for one day and one pose only…. a yoga model!




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