‘Ok, let’s start in table-top,’ said the impossibly firm woman on the tablet rested against an upturned plant pot. Bryony tried not to notice the spider skirting around the edge of her mat and instead focused on the colours of the freshly bloomed rosebush at the end of her garden.
‘Push the earth away, let the energy flow up through your arms and legs.’
Bryony was pretty sure the only energy beneath her came from a screaming microscopic hellscape where all living matter was being relentlessly devoured by nematodes, but she did as she was asked anyway. Over the fence, neighbour Seth casually coughed as he pottered about his garden filtering every breath through the pipe which seemed to be surgically attached to his mouth. Between that and the unmistakable smell of cat shit, Bryony was beginning to regret bringing her yoga session outside.
The woman on the screen moved seamlessly through positions until she ended up bent neatly in what she described as a ‘forward fold’. Bryony forced herself into a teetering teapot shape and grimaced. She could hear Seth humming indistinctly as he moved around and offered up a prayer he wouldn’t come too near the fence. Looking through her legs, Bryony could see the upside-down figure of a cat she didn’t own staring critically at her backside.
‘Reach for the sky.’
‘Climb every mountain high!’ Bryony responded involuntarily, causing Seth to spin around just as she lifted her reddened face into view. Bryony turned and gave a flustered wave. Seth offered a curt nod as he applied a fresh match to the end of his pipe.
‘Bend your left leg and place the foot against your right thigh as we go into tree position.’
Bryony tried to do as instructed but was pretty sure what she arrived at was closer to drunken pigeon position.
Feeling herself wobble, and unable to tell if Seth was still watching, Bryony desperately tried to find a point to focus on to help her balance. Thankfully, a man had just decided to take a wild piss through the railings which joined the pub car park to the dandelion covered alley behind Bryony’s house. There was probably a yoga name for that sort of fortuity thought Bryony as she locked eyes with him.
‘Push your foot to the back of the mat and turn into warrior pose.’
Having two feet on the ground was a relief, as was turning away from the rogue urinator. The judgemental cat mewed a brisk review of its observations and sloped away. Bryony took a deep breath of the lavender now in front of her and forgot about the smoking neighbour at her back. Finally, she felt relaxed.
‘And back to forward fold.’
The rip Bryony heard as her head approached her ankles was unmistakable and unarrestable. The lycra which had once held around her backside peeled away like petals on a blooming flower. The sunlight rushed into its place and the breeze tickled as it passed.
Between her shins, Bryony saw a pipe fall to the lawn on her side of the fence.