I was recently given the gift of yoga. Literally. For my birthday, I was given 10 yoga classes at a yoga studio, along with a yoga mat, yoga mat cleaner, and a box of salt (yes, you read that right) to condition the mat prior to using it for the first time. Sounds like a great gift, huh? It probably is, but I’m not a yoga person.
I know several people who are yoga enthusiasts, and every time they’ve talked about yoga my reaction has always been the same: not for me. In absolutely no way did the practice of yoga appeal to me or seem relevant to my life. Every person I’ve mentioned this gift to has responded in pretty much the same manner—shock or surprise.
At the same time, I’m also a person who is pretty grateful, and who knows that moving outside your little box of comfortable things and places, trying new things, growing, stretching, and being open are important factors in living a good life. So there was no doubt I was going to give it a shot.
But that didn’t mean I couldn’t be really resistant.
I sat with the gift certificate (and my mat, mat cleaner, and mat conditioner) for a couple weeks before doing anything. I called it “getting used to the whole idea”, rather than procrastinating. I started slow—by conditioning the mat.
After the mat was ready, I sat on the gift certificate, mat, and accessories for another week without doing anything. More getting used to the idea.
The next step was to call the studio and find out what class a person like me—with ZERO yoga knowledge—should sign up for. I was given several options, and a couple days later, I visited the yoga studio’s web site to see what the schedule was, and how I could fit one of those classes into my schedule.
A few more days go by before I go back to the web site and check out the schedule again. By this time, I’ve started getting a little aggravated with myself for putting it off so long, so I actually signed up for a class.
The class is called Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra. I had no idea what that was, but Yin was one of the classes that had been recommended, so yin yoga it was.
The class was five days away, and I spent those five days getting more and more nervous. My thoughts ran wild.
Since it’s not an actual beginner’s class, I’m not going to be able to keep up, or the class will be slowed down as the teacher has to spend all her time with me, and everyone else in the class will be upset. I won’t be able to do any of the poses. I might fall. I’ll be embarrassed. I’ll be humiliated.
But as Mark Twain so famously said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” My first yoga class was last week, and none of the things I worried about happened.
Turns out, Yin Yoga is the most laid-back, mellow yoga you can imagine. Never even stood up! Perfect for me!
The poses were relatively easy, and even though I couldn’t get my body to do them all the way they were being presented, I gave it a shot, and was given alternatives that I was able to do. Each pose was held for a long time, so when the instructor had to give me one-on-one attention, nobody else was missing out.
The Yoga Nidra portion is a meditation, and I’m a meditator, so I had that part down already.
My instructor was great, really understanding and patient, and my fellow yoga-ers, to whom I apologized in advance, were supportive and helpful.
Ultimately, my first yoga experience was pretty good. Good enough that I’ve signed up for another—same class.
I’m thinking I should try another type of class, too, because I might find out I enjoy that just like I did with Yin and Yoga Nidra. I’d probably go through the whole nerve thing again, but I can deal with it.
So now I can say I tried something new. I did yoga and survived.