Friday, July 27, 2012

Another New Chapter

Warning: Nervous Post Ahead.  You've been warned.

I'm starting to believe that from age 20-29 (not that I've reached 29) individuals are at the point in their lives where life is starting to come together, or you begin TRYING to make life come together.  Is this too deep or philosophical? Maybe.  But I truly believe that this is a time in my life where I am learning more about myself, and the world, and people in general.  In my attempt to continue on my path to mental and physical fitness, I have done research (at length) and will now prepare for my first yoga class.

I've done the research.  I've seen the yoga bodies.  I've peered into the yoga studio windows enough to know that this is something I NEED to try.  

I'm not going to lie- I'm nervous.  I'm scared.  Can you fall in yoga?  Does that happen?  What's acceptable and what's not?  Am I going to be able to do a headstand?  I could go on for hours...

Maybe this is premature, and maybe by next week I'll have answers to these questions.  Please feel free to comment and share you experience.  I would love to hear about it. :)

P.S.  I'm not related to Jimmy Fallon.  I get that question quite a bit these days.  I WISH.


  1. Embrace the imperfections and if you fall, dust yourself off and get back up again! Keep us posted.

  2. Dear Carolyn: Your willingness to share your concerns and fears is both touching and commendable. As a yoga instructor and mental health counselor, I offer the following advice.

    It is perfectly natural to be anxious before a new class, so you are right where you should be with your apprehension. Once in the class, realize people are (psychologically) normative—most people will try to look, act, and be like everyone else. Normative behavior helps keep us safe in unfamiliar environments, but the class can quickly become a game of “Simon Says.” You, however, must try to remain true to yourself. Try not to mentally or physically compare or compete with the other yogis/yoginis—your yoga is your yoga, whether you’re the most skilled or unskilled person in the room.

    You should probably not start out with an advanced class. Headstands, leg balances, and twisting like a pretzel are skills that most people learn over time (learning to fall safely with grace, calmness, and a smile, are also skills). After we slowly develop our physical abilities, these advanced poses become mental challenges—the place where our true yoga truly begins. You definitely seem like the type of person who will understand that. The real challenge in yoga is to sift through the layers of your Being. Ex). “Why am I afraid . . . is there more to me than this thinking mind . . . what was that second of pure peace I just felt within, etc.” Buddhist monks spend a lifetime working past the mind/ego, but notice they spend no time learning yoga poses.

    Finally, most people get an adrenal rush of relief after having survived a first class. The real question is to ask is if you felt safe and comfortable. The instructor must keep you physically safe with alignment and such, and mentally safe with helping you feel you are sacred and special no matter what your ability with the poses. If you don’t tangibly feels those components, I suggest you move on. Sadly, a lot of (beautiful) yoga instructors have watered down yoga’s true power and purpose and offer classes that are poorly conceived calisthenics (you already spin and workout right, this should be something more). In fact, a lot of well-meaning instructors don’t understand TRUE yoga philosophy. I have actually been told many times by instructors that I should strip the authentic spiritual component out of my classes. Again, it sounds like you are on your journey toward enlightenment, and you will need to explore different classes until you find gifted instructors who can help you push your physical and spiritual abilities in your own way at your own pace. In sum, it is the instructor--not you--who should be nervous.

    Sorry for the long-winded comment, but the world desperately needs you and your yoga. I hope I have helped in some small way to clear a bit of the path for you. Your honesty and simplicity have done so for me, and our class tonight will use your thoughts as our guiding theme as we release into the flow.

    With Love and Respect,

  3. Wow, I can't possibly add more than Kevin already did! Great advice. Hope you're first class goes well, I was hooked right away when I took my first class 4.5 years ago :)

  4. Awesome comment from Kevin & SO TRUE. I would add that I really like what heat does for yoga -- I know it's not yoga in it's purest form ... but the heat always seems to make my muscles and mind release on new levels - just works for me - but is NOT for everyone! I can think of many classes that as the sweat drips - so do the tears...always the best class...when it's you and the mat and you forget anyone else is in the room!

  5. Hi Carolyn, thank you for sharing your questions and thoughts here! I am a big believer that anyone can benefit from yoga. For me, it was a matter of trying (many) yoga classes and teachers until I found one whose style resonated with me, as well as finding a studio that was a good fit for me. To me it was really important that I felt welcomed and at home in the yoga environment - that they truly cared for me as an individual, not just my "business". I also valued the fact that the teacher respected me (and my limitations) as well as challenged me in ways that are safe and nurturing.

    I do hope you try yoga! Just try several classes, and try a variety of styles with different teachers. Do some research on their training. I'm sure there's a yoga class or teacher out there whose style "speaks to you" most.

    Lastly, falling is ok! (as long as you don't seriously hurt yourself, of course!)

  6. YES - you CAN fall into yoga. And beware -- it's incredibly addictive. But in the BEST possible way. It's almost hard to imagine that something so good for you, can feel so good. ;) Namaste...

  7. Your apprehension towards entering yoga is really obvious here. But I want to know your stand about it now. Yoga isn’t all that hard to do, although it can cause every muscle and fiber in your body to hurt after the first session. With yoga, you have to prepare not only your body, but also your mind. It is a limitless art. So you shouldn’t be satisfied after getting good in some poses. Are you close to becoming a Yogi? ;]

    Saundra ^.^

  8. Saunda - I have definitely come around more to Yoga, although I wouldn't consider myself to be a Yogi quite yet! I have been to a few classes, although not as many as I would like to as I have been quite busy lately! I have also started to expand my horizons a bit into alternative types of workouts as I continue my quest to a healthier, more-fit life. I do have to say that I like yoga more than I thought I would, and my apprehension level has gone down quite a bit from when I started!