It’s hard getting into any new hobby. Often you don’t know where to start or you don’t know what to wear the first time (shoes might be no but socks? do you bring socks? do I need to bring water or will I look stupid if I do?). When you do summon the courage to go, the first time is always rough. Keeping up with the speed while trying to understand what you are supposed to do, it’s really hard. Especially if you are upside down. And especially when doing something as foreign as yoga.
Let’s be honest, the poses do not come naturally. No one just casually finds themselves in a yoga pose prior to doing yoga. It’s not like you wake up one day and find yourself in a warrior pose. Which adds to the discomfort. Does it hurt because I am doing it right – or does it hurt because I am doing it wrong? All these thoughts do not encourage the zen feeling yoga has claimed to invoke. You look to others to see if they are doing the same thing and feel like it looks so much better when they do it compared to your awkward stance.
Negative thoughts like that are not encouraging. They have caused a lot of people to give up on yoga. As a teacher I often hear “Yoga is too hard for me” or “I just don’t have the body to do Yoga”. It breaks my heart because the essence of yoga is that it is all inclusive and for everyone. It is very simple and easy and hence why it helps you feel connected and zen. The issue is that many teachers or practicing Yogis take it to the next level. I’ve been teaching for over three years, I walk into classes feeling intimidated! If I walk in and people are already in head stand I wonder if I am in the wrong place – an intense course in reverse blood flow or the morning stretch class I signed up for before going to brunch. I check instagram and so many teachers are inventing poses, doing handstands on one hand I wonder if I chose the wrong profession as I doubt I will ever be as good as them.
In true human nature we compare ourselves with one another and compete, instead of adhering to the essence of yoga – namely inner peace. Just because other people are not adhering to the core of yoga, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. If you aim to do yoga because it helps bring balance into your day and makes you feel better, then you are doing it right. Don’t do it wrong and compete with others. Try to do the poses so they feel like tension in your body is being released. You will feel the difference from that to pain. Focus on doing it right by leaving the class feeling better about yourself, not worse. Yoga is simple, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
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