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EXPERIENCE STRENGTH AND HOPE

My first time in a yoga class…I was nervous, to say the least. I just wanted to be unnoticed, like I belonged there.


What kind of a mat do I get? How much do you spend on a mat? I wasn’t sure if I would like yoga so I didn’t want to spend too much. However, I didn’t want to rent one as I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing by walking in with my own mat tucked under my arm, unnoticed.


Where do I set up my mat? I wanted to be in the back corner, next to a wall, unnoticed. I got the feeling that I was in “someone’s spot.” That made me even more uncomfortable like I was an interloper.


What do I wear? I wanted to fit in, unnoticed. Many yogis had great coordinated outfits. Others had shorts and a t-shirt. I donned myself in black leggings and a black tank. The middle ground, again hoping to be unnoticed.


Will I know the poses? Some, yes, most, no. Certain ones are obvious like table. Other ones I knew from the jokes people made about yoga, like up dog and down dog. Some were completely foreign, LITERALLY. Is this instructor speaking in another language? Yes, yes, that is another language.


Do I need props? I didn’t want people to think I needed props because I was incapable.

How long is savasana going to take? Have I been lying here too long? Did I fall asleep and not hear the instructor tell us to get up? If I did fall asleep, was I snoring? Is that person next to me snoring? Why is it so quiet? Shouldn’t I be doing something?


Eventually, it all got easier. I learned there are no “spots.” I learned that any yoga mat will do but that you can pick one based on your needs. I learned you can wear whatever you are comfortable in, there is no “uniform” so to speak. I learned that no one expected me to know all the poses when I started. I also found out quickly that yoga works muscles I didn't even know I had. Grab the props…whether you use them or not, it is great to have them nearby. They are not only used because someone doesn’t know what they are doing or they are not flexible. They are also used for adjustments, support, alignment, etc. I began to yearn for long, quiet, restful, restorative savasana.

I began to start each class with acceptance. I took a moment to appreciate my body, my life, and my circumstances, exactly as they are, right now. I released expectations. I got into the right mindset knowing my practice will evolve naturally, beautifully, and safely. I started to understand the core of yoga. It is a process and a lifestyle. The physical practice is only one part. I learned to get comfortable in stillness. I learned more about my breath and how to breathe. I eventually fell in love with the practice and completed a 200hr YTT as well as additional training that focused on different types of yoga.


I still get a little nervous going to a new yoga class whether I am a student or a teacher. I don’t think that will ever go away for me. I do know it won’t keep me from experiencing different classes. I also realized that I didn’t need to be “noticed or unnoticed”…I just needed to show up and focus on me.


Peace,

Helena B.

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The camel each day goes twice to his knees.

He picks up his load with the greatest of ease.

He walks through the day with his head held high.
And stays for that day, completely dry.

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