I took a rest day today and it wasn’t easy to accept. My alarm woke me at 4:00 am. The problem was that our baby girl had been doing that all night. Anyway, I dragged my arse out of bed, sat on the loo for a bit, brushed my teeth, looked in the mirror and realised that I was so not up for 90 minutes of asanas. By this time it was 4:30 so, having accepted my complete knackeredness, I fumbled back under covers for another 90 minutes of fitful horizontitude.

I didn’t feel guilty about this – I was just disappointed. I was sad to miss out – which is daft since this was only my third day off in the past 30 days (moonies not included). I love my asanas lately – a couple of nights ago I caught myself actually anticipating and looking forward to the poses I visualised myself doing the next morning.

But not last night. Last night I watched Arsenal put one leg into the European Cup final by beating Villareal 1-0 in the first left of their semi-final. What does this have to do with asanas or yoga? As I watched the game, I realised how far my yoga had come. Indeed the real measure of my progress as a Yogi has been the degree to which I am able to watch my beloved Arsenal with ever-increasing equanimity. I call this Arsenalasana. I was a bit tense admittedly. 1-0 is a pretty slim margin and if the Spanish side had scored an ‘away’ goal, we would absolutely need to win at their place next week. However, as things stand, a draw in Villareal puts into the final for the first time ever – at the Stade de France in Paris against (most likely) FC Barcelona. What a dream final. It’s the one most purists want as there are no two more ‘watchable’ sides in the game today. Villeareal on the other hand are hard to watch (or at least they were last night); they showed no ambition and were more interested in rolling around feigning injury whenever Arsenal broke on a counter attack – the cheating @#$*ers. Was a time when I would have screamed righteous abuse at Villareal for such antics.

Indeed, was a time in the not so distant past when I couldn’t eat before a game (remember that I’m watching rather than playing here) and where, unless Arsenal were up 3-0 at half-time, I was a nervous wreck. And, it’s a good thing they’re a pretty successful side because when they lost you pretty much stayed away from me the whole day. To get a sense of what I was like watch Fever Pitch – the movie based on the book by my fellow Arsenal supporter Nick Hornby (and here I mean the original movie not the crap one that replaced football with baseball – hah! as if you could substitute a mere ‘past time’ for ‘the beautiful game’).

Today I realise that what is worth celebrating is the manner in which they play. The result (most likely a win) is merely a consequence. They play with flair, speed and eboullient panache. At a high tempo with crisp accurate passing and movement off the ball. So I try to watch it in a manner befitting them – with driste…and…(this is the hard bit) detachment and equanimity. Arsenalasana.

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