My friends, the deed has been done. Last night, I moseyed over to a yoga studio and took part in my very first yoga class. I’ve watched and listened as yoga has climbed from That Thing That Hippies Do to So Mainstream There’s Even a Yoga Barbie, but hadn’t yet brought myself to actually try it out. I even bought a pack of classes at the beginning of the year, hoping to knock out one of my yearly goals, but let it expire without ever lifting a finger. After a recent conversation with some yogi friends and a spark of inspiration that had been growing inside me, I decided to check it out for myself. Here’s what I discovered.
(Oh, and that picture up there? I snuck into the locker room bathroom and snapped a sweaty post-class selfie for your enjoyment. You’re welcome. I should also mention that one of the poses sounded like “burrito,” which of course made me crave Mexican food, so I got a late dinner from Del Taco as soon as I left. It felt a little sacrilegious, but my teacher told us during class that we should “do what feels right.” So, I was obviously following his orders, na mean?)
You will sweat your booty off.
Dudes. Yoga is totally a work-out. I didn’t really consider the expectations I had for yoga, but falling over because I couldn’t hold a pose as long as everyone else was definitely not one of them (Note: That totally happened. Several times!). I can certainly see how yoga can tone your body. If you happen to be like me and exercise about once a year, then it might be difficult for you, too…but don’t let that stop you! No one made me feel like an outsider if I was in the wrong pose or couldn’t hold it long enough. The environment felt very welcoming.
Girls. Girls everywhere.
This isn’t something I really thought about until I walked into the waiting room and was surrounded by 20 other women waiting to be let into the classroom. It felt like I was back in my sorority days. It made me a little nervous at first, since I’m not usually in an all-female environment, but the nerves quickly faded and the class was so interesting that I don’t know if I would’ve noticed an elephant practicing next to me, let alone another chick.
It is even more spiritually-focused than I expected.
I knew that yoga was a mental game as much as a physical one, which is a large reason why I wanted to try it. But I wasn’t expecting to end class laying in Savasana in a dark room while listening to instrumentals. Not saying I didn’t enjoy it (quite the opposite!), but it was surprising. I also noticed that my teacher would give spiritual anecdotes and advice almost as much as he’d describe the poses we should be hitting. I thought it was pretty cool, and very much what I was looking for.
Let everything have its moment.
Going off of the spiritually-focused method of yoga, the teacher would often inject some wisdom or thoughts while we were flexing our bodies. One thing that he said was particularly meaningful to me. He told us to think of things we wanted to let go of or that are no longer serving us and to “let them have their moment” before releasing them from our present. I appreciated his advice to acknowledge the past and allow it to live before letting it go, rather than shoving it somewhere in our mind where it will eventually resurface.
You’re exactly where you need to be.
One of the things I loved most about the class was that it was very focused on the fact that “you are exactly where you need to be.” So, if you can’t hit the pose he’s teaching or you have to do an easier version, it’s all good. You’ll make it happen when you’re ready. I feel like I’m used to fitness regimes where there is a right or wrong way, but our teacher emphasized to just “do what feels good.” Isn’t that neat?
I enjoyed my first class so much that I’m going again tonight! I am doing Core Power Yoga’s free week trial, which is nice if you’re new to yoga since you can take as many classes as you want for a whole week. Honestly, I think it took me so many months to get to a yoga class because I was both lazy and didn’t know what to expect. What do I wear? How do I pick a mat? What if I have no idea what a Downward-Facing Dog is? If you’re nervous, I encourage you to just check it out. It was a lot more comfortable than I expected, which is surely saying something since Exercise and I have a very
lovehate-hate relationship. What have you got to lose?