Yoga Class Isn't as Scary as You Think
So the truth is; I’m kinda a yoga pusher. In my defense it’s only because I know first hand how it can so amazingly change your life! That said, I’m here to tell you that I had friends who tried to get me to go to yoga for YEARS before I finally drug myself into a class as a last ditch effort to save my sanity. I never went before because I had a lot of preconceived notions and (truth-be-told) fears about going. Unfortunately, I let those things rob me of the practice I desperately needed and I know I’m not alone. I’m hoping what I’m going to share with you today will ease your fears so you can feel a little more prepared to take that first class.
Fear of Being Exposed
I think one of the biggest fears I had about going to yoga was that I was going to be in a room full of people doing what I didn’t know how to do and that everyone was going to be able to see me fumbling around.
It may surprise you but yoga is not typically done in a silent room. There is usually music playing, (sometimes some seriously good music that you can get lost in or even jam a little) but more importantly yoga is a very inner focused practice and despite the fact that you are on a mat next to a bunch of other people, no one is looking at you. Everyone is focused on what they are doing. As a matter of fact occasionally everyone looks around to see what the rest of the class is doing because they got so lost in the practice their minds drifted away and they missed the cues from the instructor. So seriously, NO ONE will be watching you. Trust me.
Fear of Looking Foolish
Before I went to yoga I was very worried about looking silly in class. I didn’t want to try and do something that I couldn’t do and be embarrassed in front of all the highly experienced yogis in the room.
The truth is every day, someone wobbles and topples over in yoga. Yoga itself teaches you to try new things, stretch yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It teaches you to honor your body where it is and lovingly play with it to see what it might be able to do. Honestly there are tons of giggles AND CHEERS in yoga class. Many, many times when we attempt a more challenging pose we receive cheers and applause from our yogi buddies in class. Everyone is with you rooting each other on as we stretch ourselves literally and figuratively.
I think the number one excuse I hear about why someone can’t go to yoga is because they aren’t flexible. Um, that’s the point…. We go to yoga to gain flexibility and balance. These are so important to our health as we age and if you are telling anyone you are inflexible you absolutely NEED to go to yoga. When I first started I could not even sit on the floor comfortably I was so weak in my core and stiff in my hips. Even years of practice later I have stiff days where I am not so flexible. Everyone’s body is different, but if you intuitively feel like you are significantly less flexible than you should be it’s time to start a regular yoga practice. You will be so happy when your body begins to hurt less and the stiffness in your joints subsides over time.
Let’s be super real here. I think the number one fear many people have is getting into yoga pants and tops and walking into a room of super fit yogis in their less than perfect bodies.
Yoga class is full of people of all different shapes, sizes and abilities. That’s the beauty of it. One yoga class can be for anyone therefore there are lots of people at all different fitness levels and body types. There are also waaaaay less perfect bodies than you expect because yoga is for REAL people. I have been in yoga with retirees, fitness instructors and all kinds of other folks all in the same class. It’s beautiful and NO ONE is looking at your body or judging you.
It's Not A Real Workout
It’s so funny to me when people tell me they can’t go to yoga because they just really need something more active and strenuous.
Do me a favor, stand with your feet close together, raise your arms up over your head and now while continuing to reach toward the ceiling act as if you are sitting in a chair. Now stay there and breathe. See how long you can do that before your heart starts pounding and you start sweating and your legs start shaking. Now, don’t let that scare you because yoga isn’t about holding chair pose as long as you can. I just wanted you to know it’s not all stretching and it can be a very, very good work out. Just go try and see for yourself :)
You Don't Have Any Yoga Stuff
The best part of yoga is you can drop in to a class, pay a one time fee and everything you would need (except your clothes) is there for you. So you can try it without even investing. (you don’t even need shoes people!) You don’t even need to wear “yoga” clothes but you will probably be more comfortable in class if you did. You want to wear clothes that conform to your body because you will be doing things that can expose your body in looser fitting clothes. You may want to test your clothes this way before you go into yoga class if you feel self conscious: Get down on all fours, does your shirt hang open and expose your tummy? If so you may not want to wear it because in down dog it may fall upward and expose your stomach and chest. If you spread your legs apart can you see your underpants? Maybe wear tighter fitting shorts or pants or you will be exposed in class. And even when you make your best efforts sometimes you get in a position that your belly will fall out, your pants slip down a bit - it happens to all of us - we just adjust and move on, no one is looking.
You Can Do It At Home
There are tons of yoga videos that walk you through a home yoga practice and they are fantastic. But if you are new to yoga I really recommend you take yoga classes with an instructor and even recommend you take a yoga 101 workshop offered at your studio to teach you how to correctly do the poses. You will get so much more out of your yoga if you do it correctly AND you will learn how to avoid serious injury that can occur when you repeatedly do moves incorrectly.
I also recommend classes because you will get much more out of them physically and emotionally. It’s too easy to quit a video. It’s too easy to pick up the phone at home or notice you forgot to do something. In class you are there until it’s over and honestly, everything can wait for one hour while you take care of yourself. There is also something very powerful about going to a specific place to do your yoga it becomes a special place with special people and you share in the experience with others. I would hate for you to miss that at home.
So what are you waiting for? It’s a new year and if you have been thinking you wanted to start a yoga practice but fears were holding you back hopefully now you feel a bit better and you will muster up the courage and go.
Let me know in the comments if you are venturing out and trying yoga for the first time or if you are seasoned, what were your fears before going?