Yoga Schmoga

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Want to torque off half the Birmingham population? Start your blog post with a nonchalant yoga title.

The post title relates to how I feel about attending yoga classes in public. I’m a bigger gal and I have pretty limited flexibility compared to other yogis I know. I know we’re not there to compare ourselves to others, but it’s inevitable as a woman (unfortunately). I’ve attended a few yoga and other classes where I got a lot out of it, but I was self conscious the whole time. The instructors were great, but I am automatically self conscious and want to melt into the floor.

My most recently foray into this was a tai-chi type class. It was quite small, but wonderful and exactly what I had hoped it would be…until the instructor changed directions. After being invisible in the back of the class, we turned and I was in the front. No, no, no, no..not for a first timer. I was pretrified. I will never do that again.

So, my question for all of you: How do you deal with being a newbie at something, but wanting to give it an honest and thoughtful try without intimidation clouding the experience? What are your tricks for overcoming that initial terror, especially when you may not be the typical student? Ideas and tips welcome!

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6 Responses

  1. My only advice is just keep going. Give yourself points for showing up. You’ll get more comfortable if you do it more. There’s a reason yoga is called a “practice.” Also, don’t forget you’re awesome the way you are.

  2. Nadine says:

    I feel your struggle for being self conscious doing things like that in front of others. I always fear I am constantly being judged by the others in class who are fitter than me. I will say though, I am never paying attention to anyone else, and I bet that is the same for most people. I just applaud anyone who is there!

  3. tarahulen says:

    Laughing at the absurdity of anything is my go-to for everything. But, of course, we all have our triggers (fear of what we look like/sound like, are we fit enough/smart enough/cool enough, etc.) that turn us into 13 year olds with our worst insecurities screaming in our heads.
    It’s easy to say out of the moment, but everyone was a newbie at some point, and if the people you are with aren’t complete jerks, they will either laugh WITH you and offer some help and/or consolation as you will inevitably fumble as you learn, or, well, they are complete jerks and find another thing to do or people to do it with! But, yes, having a class full of people suddenly looking at your tush and bad form and hopefully not up your yoga top that will surely decide to droop as you are in downward dog would scare anyone.

    BTW, every yoga class I’ve tried, at some point, I tip over and fall, usually sideways … I feel like the bit on Laugh where (insert then famous comedian’s name from a time before most of y’all were born) tipping over on a tricycle in slow motion. I can’t help but laugh – it is just silly the pose I was in to begin with when viewed out of context and I can’t help but giggle at what me falling and on the ground looks like. I don’t cackle so it’s not disruptive, but strangely, usually, no one else even offers a slight smile to indicate “I’d laugh with you but I’m concentrating on my breathing.” To me that’s especially strange given the “we all start from wherever we are” nature of good yoga classes.

  4. Steph says:

    You might try the Sunday Community Class at Birmingham Yoga. It’s beginner-friendly (but I’ve been practicing for ages and still get a lot out of it), so there are a range of skill levels, and it’s super low-key. It also tends to stay facing front or side, so if you want to hide, you should be safe in the back.

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