Entering ‘the yoga room’ for the very first time can be quite intimidating for a lot of people. It’s not an easy thing, to put yourself forward to try out a brand-new activity.
Especially one that has such an avid following and a billion Instagram pages!
The social pressures
There’s a social pressure that you should look a certain way, or wear something in particular. Many people feel like they should be able to do specific movements before they’ve even tried it out. So many people are entirely put off yoga because they can’t touch their toes!
It’s such a shame, because true and authentic yoga actually couldn’t be further from this stigma.
The essence of yoga is actually about releasing judgement altogether! Releasing those fears and limiting beliefs. Connecting with yourself. Connecting with your breath. In that space, you couldn’t give a crap about what yoga pants you’re wearing!
When you let go of what you think you should look like, on the mat and as you walk in, you are in fact already doing yoga! However, to get to this point, it’s handy to have a few tricky up your sleeve.
Finding your confidence
In order to get yourself to the yoga room, we need to feel cool and confident about giving it a go. That part is where a bit of insider knowledge can help.
My first experience
I actually have scoliosis. When I first went to a yoga class I literally couldn’t touch my toes. I was embarrassed and almost laughing out loud at myself. About as graceful as a potato. Especially at the ‘forward fold’ section of the class. I was like oh crap, I’m 23 going on 93 I’m telling you! *self-chatter*.
The funny thing, is that I look like I should be way more flexible than what I actually am. I’ve always had rubber band quads, but hamstrings made of actual stone. It’s crazy to look at and I was so self-conscious about it that I was missing all the verbal ques. I spent all my time thinking about how it looked. Subsequently more time thinking about how I then missed the verbal ques.
Following my first class
Even after my very first class, I started to question whether or not I was good enough to go to that particular class on the timetable. I questioned if that was a ‘style’ for me, or if I should look at one particular style for my body type or level. It was a total mind field. It put me off for weeks after.
Back to your mat
Somehow, I found my way back to the mat. It was only through practice and education, that I had some of these realisations that I’m going to share with you now. All I xcan say is that besides, just ‘suck it up and go’ which is actually not that helpful at all! There are other ways of finding comfort in being a complete beginner. Other considerations to take you out of that fearful mindset and one step closer to your greatness.
It’s totally ok to be new
I know, it’s easy to say and harder to accept. Honestly! It is totally ok to be brand spanking new to yoga. Do not freak out. Everyone started somewhere. Most people who found their way to yoga have fallen in love with it because of the connection to others. Without being all over the top about it, the whole ‘namaste’ thing is actually a translation of: The light in you is the light in me’ basically. Which promotes and understanding of the person to your left, right and on the other side of the planet. No matter where you are on your journey, yogi’s will have a deep respect for you for where you are on your path to yoga.
Absolutely no one cares if you go left while they go right
I spent half my first class thinking everyone would be rolling their eyes or laughing that I kept missing all the cues. Literally, no one cares. You could lay down pretending to be a potato and still, no would care. Honestly. The thing is, the people who are there are doing internal work as much as external work. They are finding their own zen and the practice of yoga is all about letting go of external factors. So actually, when I say no one cares – that’s why people are there, to not care! Ha! Ironic I wasted so much time freaking about my uncoordinated entrance to yoga really.
Your arms will probably hurt in the first 15 minutes
No one ever tells you this, but I’m going to be real. Downward dog is designed to be a ‘resting pose’. They may even tell you that in the class. Ha! (you’ll think) A resting pose!!? You do like a hundred of them (not really) in the opening sequences. If you aren’t used to using your body in this way, you may be internal chatting to yourself something like this;
‘If there is a god, please make this be over. Why, why did I sign up to this yoga class? I could have just stayed at home and watched Netflix. That’s it, I’m never doing this again. Surely, surely that’s 5 breaths already?!’
Totally normal. In fact, to be expected. Your body isn’t used to holding itself in these ways, please prepare yourself to feel challenged in your first class. This internal chatter of why oh why me, is closely followed by one of the most blissed out feelings you could imagine. What comes after all the arm shaking and downward dogging, is shavasana. The light at the end of the tunnel. By tiring yourself out, you actually find it much easier to find a deeply restoring and restful finale. A feeling like no other. The thoughts then become softer, less frequent. The sensations in the body are, well, euphoric. Accomplishment and relaxation rushes through you and it’s totally worth the effort. You can also bail out if your arms are hurting and fund yourself a child’s pose! Totally fine! You write the rules in your own practice.
It doesn’t matter what shape, size or stage of fitness you turn up to yoga
Intimidated much? Yes, I know the feeling. Feeling like you are overweight or too unfit to go to a yoga class. I have felt it, my friends and family have communicated it to me as well. I’ve met many others walking this path. Trust the process, have confidence that the biggest hurdle is the one within the privacy of your own mind. When you step over your own mental barrier about how you feel about yourself, you will enjoy the rewards. My yoga teacher told me to just GET ON YOUR MAT. Just show up. Get there. Be there. The rest will come. The hardest part is getting out of the house, in to your car and on to your mat. The yoga itself will actually be far easier than the initial push needed to get your feet walking towards that yoga room.
I don’t have a fancy mat or pink flamingo yoga pants
Look, I get it. You want to try something new and you want to look and feel the part. Oh no I can’t go to yoga I haven’t bought the fancy mat yet. I’ll buy the mat and go to the next class. Well I’m here to tell you that whether you have your own mat, the latest technology ‘breathable prana’ pants, or whatever…it’s not important. You can wear pretty much anything (within reason) and have a great yoga session. Men women and kids alike, if it’s comfortable, its fine. They have mats there and guess what? In ancient times… they actually didn’t use mats at all! So, the mat isn’t a good enough reason not to get to class either! Just grab the keys, get to class and let the yoga do the rest. It has your back.
So in summary, there are many reasons why we may feel like not going to yoga. Or there may be things that have been holding you back from trying it. Hopefully you have had some insights in to all the things most people go through when trying it for the first time. Release the fear and the doubt and step in to your greatness! Get on to your mat!
Try out my yoga challenge here!