Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Getting into a character's head
This week I did Ashtanga Yoga for the first time. I went to a beginner's yoga class about ten years ago and pulled a muscle in my back so I haven't tried it since. My friend suggested we go and I decided to. I haven't been able to motivate myself to do any exercise since Christmas and summer is approaching.
This is what I recall from the yoga class:
The teacher was friendly and she approached my mat, shaking my hand from above before doing the same with other newbies. When the class began, I couldn't see the teacher demonstrate what to do because I'd placed my mat at the back of the room. The teacher told me and my friend to take off our socks. I'd kept them on because the room was cold when I arrived. I tried not to laugh when the teacher said we were going to practise 'alternate nostril breathing' where you inhale through one nostril and exhale out of the other. This apparently slows down your heart rate and relaxes you. As I worked through the exercises, the parts of me which were being stretched ached. I wondered how I'd feel the following day, hoping I didn't pull any muscles so I could return. The room was a calm environment to be in and I was surprised at how quickly the hour and fifteen minutes went. Towards the end of the class, everyone did shoulder stands and then put their legs backwards over their heads. I decided to opt out of this move as I worried about what I might do to myself. Afterwards me and my friend went to the café downstairs where we ordered cappuccinos and shared a pain au chocolat, noting in our diaries to return the following week. If we could we'd try to squeeze in an extra class every week as the teacher had said this would help sort out our spare tyres in time for the summer (as long as we didn't share a pain au chocolat afterwards).
I doubt I'd have got this information without going to a yoga class. If I'd asked someone who did yoga, I probably wouldn't have picked up the minor details which could bring a scene to life.
We were talking about research in the writing class I attend last week and I realised that I need to go into an art gallery (the kind which is more like a shop) and speak to the staff so I can get into the head of Book 2's main character. I need to know what paperwork there is to be done, how the relationship between the artist and the owner of the gallery works and many other facts. If I'm feeling brave, I could ask to work there for nothing for a day or two (as long as they don't think I'm casing the joint said someone in my class!) I haven't done it yet, but it's the only way Act 1 of Book 2 is going to come to life.