Teacher training: absolute madness at Absolute Yoga, Koh Samui

We’re sitting crossed-legged on cushions listening to a tone deaf Frenchman and his bendy Chinese beauty chanting what I only know as Deva Premal’s Gate chant. 14 of us are listening intently trying to work out what tune we’re meant to be following. We all look at each other, a bit perplexed, stifling giggles.

Welcome to my 500 hour teacher training. Michel Besnard is 70 years of age and has studied with both Sri Pattabhi Jois and Iyengar. He tells tales of both masters whilst introducing us to the Ashtanga primary series. He’s already had me up in front of the class in Warrior I. I attempted to be grounded and steady whilst he bent down and slapped my inner thighs. “Tense! Tense these! They’re so floppy!”

Catherine my accomplice and buddy from the Sivananda Centre in London has had her buttocks made into a spectacle in front of us all. “What are you doing with this bottom?! Everyone look! What is she doing wrong?!”

I’ve never sweated so much in a class. It’s day two. We’ve got five weeks of this. By the end, I better have thighs of steel and let’s hope Catherine’s bottom behaves.