Forgive me Glasgow, I have considered yoga

Being a Glaswegian bloke means anything vaguely metrosexual is banned

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The Independent Online

Real men come from Glasgow, and, as a son of that finest of cities, certain activities are forever subject to self-denying ordinance: voting Tory; eating greens; watching cricket.

Anything vaguely metrosexual is banned. We do wash, but to moisturise, for example, would be scandalous. On discovery of your dirty secret, you would be banished from right-thinking company for good. If ever spoken of again, it would be in hushed tones and with a sad shake of the head.

Football’s fine: compulsory, even. Athletics: OK, you can just about get away with jogging, a grudging concession to the 21st century. Tennis: too posh, but dispensation is available for one annual trip to the municipal courts in celebration of our patron saint, Andy.

But there is one fitness activity that is utterly beyond the pale: forbidden, défendu, verboten. More than anything, being a Glaswegian bloke means you must never, ever, ever contemplate yoga. The embarrassment of it! Think of the shame brought on your family!

I have rigorously abided by the Law of Yogic Abstinence for more than half a century. But now, dear reader, I can feel myself wavering. Help!

My potential fall from grace began six weeks ago. At the age of 52, I ventured back on to the football park.

Eight years earlier, my long career as a strolling midfield maestro had fallen victim to a smashed front tooth, torn ligaments in my right ankle  and a new job, which ruled out Saturday games. I had wanted to play again, but I became terrified that I’d be useless, and I couldn’t bear that. Until a friend came calling.

It was a joy to play again, though there was a niggle in my Achilles throughout. The following day, it felt as though someone had shot it out.

I hobbled for most of the week, and turned out again. After 10 minutes, I went in goal. Though I had never had a moment’s problem with them before, both Achilles were gone – not ruptured, just causing me agony – and, ever since, I’ve struggled even to walk.

So my (near) daily run was out, and I’m at that age when lack of activity means I pile on the pounds. Within a fortnight, I had put on half a stone.

So, I bought a bike – perfectly permissible under Glaswegian Law – a lovely 40-year-old Swiss flying machine. Alas! Unused to drop handlebars, I felt something go in my shoulder, and so riding it is currently impossible.

This is the body equivalent of looking in the mirror and seeing, with some surprise, someone old looking back at you. After a life largely injury-free, everything is giving out at the same time.

The solution? Perhaps I have been down south too long, but this week I may well be making my debut on the yoga mat.

Just don’t tell the folks back home, or I will never be allowed through the city limits again.