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Making a game of getting in shape

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From 'um' to 'ohm': Island's newest yoga man strikes a pose before bending it like Beckham

Happy Baby pose, Big Toe pose, Half Lord of the Fishes pose, Cow Face pose and Downward Facing Dog pose.

You might be wondering what I'm talking about. It's yoga! This weekend's boot camp comprised of yoga, an obstacle course and a football match with three teams, three goals and five balls. Hey, I'm as confused as you are. In other words, a mish-mash of calorie-burning rituals sort of like putting ketchup on your ice-cream.

I looked up the definition of yoga on the internet and it says: Yoga: A Hindu discipline aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility, that is achieved through the three paths of actions and knowledge and devotion system of exercises practised as part of the Hindu discipline to promote control of the body and mind.

I'm not sure I walked away with any of that. In fact, the comment made to me while I was trying to find my consciousness or whatever it is, is that I have the “dexterity of a brick”, which is true. I have no sense of balance, and I'm not limber by any stretch of the imagination. Me trying to balance on a Bosu ball while doing squats is something that could very easily end up on 'America's Funniest Videos'. As a matter of fact, my trainer has more than once threatened that he would charge admission for people to come and watch me and get a good laugh.

So here I am trying to breathe and fill my lower belly and my middle belly with air while standing on one leg with eyes closed, looking something like distorted flamingo. I say to myself, 'self, I could really get into this'. Of course I would have to find my 'spiritual fingers' the instructor keeps talking about and get one of those cool mats that everyone has apart from me. Nevertheless, this is one of the most relaxing workouts I've ever had. I feel relaxed, energised ready to go home and make world peace, solve every global problem, etc etc.....

A voice disturbs my peace: “Everyone outside on the double!”

Hang on a minute! I'm in a state of harmony and tranquility here and now you want me to run outside? What's wrong with this picture? Waiting for us outside is Bermuda's international footballer John Barry Nusum.

“Right morning,” he says. “We're going to start off with an obstacle course followed by a game of football.”

Say whaaat! Hey Nusum, I'm still in deep meditation here ... don't disturb me while I'm in my Downward Dog Facing pose!

While jogging around the field, we're checking out the obstacle course. A lot of thought has gone it to this. There's 1ft hurdles that you have to bunny hop over, rope ladder contraptions laying on the ground that will require some fancy footwork to manoeuvre, there are higher hurdles for jumping over, bars to duck under and a football that you have to dribble around the cones with the ball and take a shot at the goal.

Cool! This looks like fun. Okay, meditation time is over. Time to re-focus on the task at hand. We get our into teams and we start off by running around the cones, under and over the bars and doing that fancy footwork in the rope ladder thingy. Then, we dribble the ball, shoot at the goal. Score! Okay, we do this course five times. The second round I was feeling pretty good: I can do this.

The third time around I started thinking, “This is getting a little tiring.”

By the fourth time? Hello, this is turning out to be a killer. I'm going to have to really push to complete.

I did the fifth round and shouted “finished” and I was a little more than peed-off when one of the other team members accused me of cheating and not doing the full five circuits.

“There's no way you could have overtaken me,” he said.

Hey pillock, I was the one that overtook you twice while you were having a siesta on the sidelines.

Now on to the football game.

Try and keep up with me on this three teams, three goals, one ball ... for now anyway. Whistle is blown, ball is thrown in, Team Magnum has the ball and they are heading towards our goal. I tackle, gain the ball for about .0003 of a second and then lose it (this is why I played rugby in boarding school). Alright focus! Where the heck is the ball? It must be in the middle of those 20-plus people huddled together. Need to get over there. What's that?!! Someone has just thrown in another ball!

Alright, no one has noticed. Cool. Time to 'Bend it like Becks'. I take control of the ball and use what little knowledge of ball control I have. I take the shot. It's heading towards the goal mouth. Will it make it? .....It's a goal! By Skinner! I turn around expecting to see the team run towards me followed by a little victory dance on the field. But nothing, not a soul to share my exhilaration with. That's because they're all at the other end of the field, fighting it out with the other ball!

Right, I'm greedy now, I want goal number two. I scan the field, see a ball in play and run after it. Hey, what's that? Another ball has just been thrown in!!!

“Can I do this again?” I ask myself. I head towards the net, take the kick. It's blocked by a well-placed right foot. The ball is returned straight to the middle of my face. Ouch! That stung. There was an apologetic goalkeeper to go with my red face.

“Sorry,” she said. Well at least she was sorry. Just then a ball went past my right foot. I have no idea where it came from or who was it intended for, but it was mine now. Okay, try and stop this goalie. Hurt my face would you. A nicely placed ball in the bottom right hand corner gives me my second goal for the day.

Then the final whistle blows. Team Sea View has scored a total of four goals beating the other two teams meaning we are this week's Boot Camp champs.

All in all, a fun day had by everyone. My first try at yoga. My first goal in 35 years. That's a hell of an end to a very long dry spell. So, as they say in yoga: Namaste.

Feeling centred: David Skinner (centre) in his quest for balance without 'one of those cool mats that everyone has apart from me'.
Yoga position: Challenge participants are kept on their toes.

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Published March 22, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated March 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm)

Making a game of getting in shape

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