My First Yoga Class
Where do I put my shoes?
Will they have lockers?
Do I have to bring my own lock?
Will they have towels or mats for rent, or should I bring my own?
Will the check-in clerk be nice and welcoming?
Or will they just stare at me because they can smell the newness on me?
What if I suck at the yoga?
What if the teacher laughs at me?
What if the other students judge me?
I actually cannot remember the very first experience I had with yoga.
But I do remember the first time yoga really blew my mind and kind of changed my life. Which, in hindsight, maybe this was my first experience with yoga as it was the first memorable one.
I struggled with drinking problems in my teens and twenties and ultimately, in recovery, I found meditation as a practice for calming the mind. Sometime, newly sober, I walked into a meditation group. They turned out the lights, lit candles (you know, the little kind with batteries), and played a guided meditation for 30 minutes, and then we all shared about it afterward.
This was not immediately life-changing, but I did begin to play with meditation as a way to calm the mind. Soon thereafter a friend of mine who is a yoga teacher taught me the Bikram Series in my living room. Now if you’ve ever done this sequence you know that it can be quite challenging, especially in the hot room, which thankfully was not my first experience. I remember being surprised at my access to a lot of the postures.
What truly changed me, which I only realized in hindsight, is that when we were practicing I was 100% launched into the present moment. All anxiety of the past and the future worries ceased, if only for that one hour. That is a feeling that I would continue to chase for years after it and I continue to chase now, although my perspective on that has changed.
This first yoga class LED me on an adventure of seeking all types of yogic experiences. Now my anxiety was still pretty high so it was actually really hard for me to walk into Studios. I would dabble and practice along with YouTube videos. I remember spending hours and hours reading yoga blogs, watching yoga videos, and fawning over studio class schedules wishing and dreaming about a studio membership.
At this time I was still working in retail and had a fairly strenuous schedule, that was never consistent, so it would have been hard to go to these yoga classes at studios, or so was my excuse. I’m not sure what finally pushed me over the edge but I feel like it was probably a Groupon.
I bought the Groupon or class pack or whatever it was, I don’t remember, and I worked up the courage to get to the studio and walked right into 103 Hot in Southwest Las Vegas. Now if you’re an anxious Yogi like me some of these thoughts may run through your head every time you go to a new studio:
- Where do I put my shoes?
- Will they have lockers?
- Do I have to bring my own lock?
- Will they have towels or mats for rent, or should I bring my own?
- Will the check-in clerk be nice and welcoming?
- Or will they just stare at me because they can smell the newness on me?
- What if I suck at the yoga?
- What if the teacher laughs at me?
- What if the other students judge me?
This list goes on and on…and on. And this doesn’t apply to only yoga studios! These are the kind of questions I ask myself when I go to a new doctor’s office, a new store, it’s kind of ridiculous. But for those of you without anxiety, here’s a peek into our crazy souls.
So with all of these thoughts swimming in my head, I pull up to the yoga studio. I park, I get out, grab my mat, and confidently walk up to the door thinking “I’ve got this!” Suddenly, as I pull on the door (mind you, this is a large 10-ft glass door), it won’t open. This is my worst nightmare – I can’t even open the door! How can I pull incorrectly?! I pull a little harder and suddenly the door shatters! I am not exaggerating when I say this giant glass door completely shattered.
It’s almost as if the universe was playing the craziest joke on me since I was so anxious they were like, “why don’t we just have this door break and laugh”, which is the worst thing that could absolutely happen. The employees came out to see what happened. It turns out the door was locked at the bottom and I pulled at it just the right way for it to shatter. This would have happened to anybody, but of course it happened to me. Everyone kind of laughed incredulously because how could such a small person like me shatter this huge heavy glass door!
So of course I want to leave and run and cry but I can’t, I have to stay. Because don’t you know, ‘I am such a strong yogi, this does not affect me! I have to take the class.’ The next problem is I signed up for the hardest level class which I did not realize at the time. And I don’t know anything about self-care, self-boundaries so of course, I tried to push through and do everything. I was sore the next day, probably for three days, but you know what? I went to the class, I finished the class, even after shattering the huge glass door!
What’s funniest is somehow in my yoga teacher training I ended up sharing this story. Now it had been about 4 years since this event, and one of my teachers said oh my gosh, you’re the one who broke the glass door?!” So this is my Las Vegas legacy! If you’ve practiced at that studio and you remember the glass door being shattered – that was me. You’re welcome!
After this seemingly, terribly traumatizing event, I somehow mustered up the strength to go back to this yoga studio. I started trying out other yoga studios around town. This is the best way in my experience to find out what you like. Go to a lot of yoga classes. Go to gyms, go to yoga studios, go to free events out on the lawn, or in parks. Try out a bunch of different styles of yoga, try out a bunch of different teachers.
Through this time I learned that I don’t really like hot yoga, I love yin and meditative yoga practices that are very wrapped up in self-care. I like structure, which I think is why I landed on an ashtanga practice, but that’s for another blog.
If you’re just beginning your journey, here’s to not breaking glass doors!! And here’s to finding your flow by trying out a bunch of different stuff. There’s a lot of amazing yoga out there, go experience it!
P.S. If you want to try out some yoga with me, sign up for my email list to stay informed of when and where I’m teaching!