Sun salutations … in Glasgow?

Published

The yoga phenomenon that’s sweeping across campus

Rebecca Day

Laura McCrimmon When I told friends I was taking part in a yoga class, the age old quips were thrown back at me with a wry smile: ‘are you a 45 year old fruitarian?’, ‘that’s not a proper sport…’ yet I was determined to enter the William’s room for my first taste of Laura McCrimmon’s Yoga class with an open mind and a free spirit. I was instantly impressed by the turn out, considering the class is run and organised entirely by Laura, a third-year English Literature and Business Studies student. 22 mats tightly squeezed into every crevice of the hall on this grim Friday evening. The class started with a short meditation, in which we were encouraged in soothing tones to forget the stresses and pressures of everyday life, and reassert our inner strength. Feeling relaxed and content we plunged into our first core exercise, the dreaded and unforgiving plank. We held this position until my trembling forearms almost gave way, and swiftly moved into the downward facing dog. A succession of agonising positions followed, in which bodies were pushed to the upper limits of pain endurance.

Laura took care to give a variety of options for each move, depending on the skill and experience of the student. This was quite a relief in momentary lapses of physical stamina by my weak neophyte’s body. At one point in the class the group took five minutes to try a head stand. Short cuts such as kicking were strictly forbidden, and as I took the challenge head on and tried to lift both legs off the ground, they quickly came crashing back to the mat with a colossal thud. It seemed an impossible feat but some keen yogis managed it, and Laura’s unrelenting optimism convinced me that I too would one day, despite the odds, reign supreme and proudly stand tall on my own head. This was the most enduring aspect of the class, Laura’s friendly and positive attitude helped explain the overwhelming turn out, and the students’ determination to push themselves, ignoring the weary cries for help exerted by their strained bodies.

Laura was first introduced to the sport herself when, 5 years ago studying in Canada, she participated in a class out of personal curiosity. She says she never looked back, and hasn’t gone a day without practicing the discipline in some form ever since. Laura commends both the physical and spiritual aspects of the sport, saying the later has helped her in her own personal life. She feels like a stronger, calmer and more self-assured person because of it, and in moments of stress or anger turns to yoga to preserve a level head. She is equally enthusiastic about the physical benefits, and feels her previous studies in anatomy mean she has a great understanding of the practical aspects of the sport. She has since changed her degree course to English and Business Studies, in the hope of one day establishing her own Yoga Centre. It is soon apparent that this is not just a hobby for Laura, but an outward manifestation of her entire philosophy on life.

I asked her what advice she would give to novices, like me, who may feel intimidated by the prospect of a mixed ability class. She explains she is always willing to help out anyone who is struggling, and it is important to not compare yourself to others, but be aware of the possibilities that can be achieved through dedication to the practice. Laura is already half way there in reaching her lifelong goal, running a 2 weekly class at Dance Glasgow at £4 an hour, and the Friday class which is free to students as part of her affiliated SRC club.

Laura talks of exciting future prospects for the club, she will be holding a charity fundraising class for RAG week on the 13th of March in the Williams Room from 12 to 1pm. If you want to get involved in this fantastic class, try it for yourself, like Laura McCrimmon Yoga Teacher on Facebook for info on event times and location updates.

Laura McCrimmon