So I took my first yoga class yesterday.
Okay, it wasn't exactly my first class ever. I have taken yoga classes in the past. As these classes were largely taught by someone who basically hit play on the VCR and fast forwarded through Vanna White's more difficult breathing techniques whilst shoveling in Taco Bell food, I don't really count them. This was my first real yoga class, with a real yoga professional, in a real yoga studio. Okay, so the studio is small and on a busy street and during the class I could periodically hear the "bing bong" of the crosswalk warning. But still. It was legit.
Another thing about it? I'm not good at yoga.
Okay, actually? I fail at yoga. Add this to the list of hinty billion things that I fail at. Hurray.
Among the reasons I fail at yoga:
1) I am not bendy
2) Okay, I'm kind of bendy. But I'm not bendy in the way I'm supposed to be to do yoga
3) My hair is long and keeps getting in my face
4) I didn't paint my toenails and they look ridiculous, so I kept my socks on
5) Socks made me even more clumsy
6) I was already incredibly clumsy before the socks
7) I have no idea what any of the poses are so I keep looking at the instructor
8) I have balance issues
9) I have horrible headaches which make lying flat on a mat an uncomfortable experience
10) My teacher does not appreciate my efforts to alleviate said headaches by propping a blanket under my neck
11) I'm fat
12) Yes, still
13) I mistakenly continue to think exercise will be fun if I just do it every day
The most important and main reason that I absolutely fail at yoga?
I cannot calm the Hell down.
Seriously? This is my brain pretty much every single second of every single day:
This is all the time. I can't turn this off. I can't breathe deeply and make all of this go away. It's an eternal loop. It is endless. This is my brain. Right now as I'm typing this I'm having to force myself to think really hard about what I'm typing, because I'm also thinking about dinner and the emails I haven't responded to and if it will keep raining and the library book I'm reading and the call I have at three o'clock and what I'm going to say. It never stops. (It does explain why I sometimes type things that make no sense though, right? Good)
Understandably, when the teacher says to clear my mind? I kind of want to laugh. Really loudly. Which, in case you didn't know, is also frowned upon in yoga.
I did the things I was told. I turned off my cell phone. I tried, I really, really tried, to clear my mind when she turned off the lights and put a sandbag on my stomach and a cloth over my eyes. I kept thinking about work, though, and emails. And if I missed any calls. And the call I had scheduled for later. And what I was going to say. And how I was going to explain why everything has gone so wrong lately. And how long it would take me to get home. And if my dad was feeling okay. And what time I had to pick up my daughter from play practice. And...well, you get the idea.
Then, after class, I went back outside to my car and I did actually turn on my cell phone and there were dozens and dozens of new messages and so I sat in my car for a few minutes and answered the ones I could. When I pulled out onto the street to drive home I was almost hit by a foolish young lady who was so busy texting that she totally forgot to stop at the Stop Sign. I was really tempted to yell out the window, "NAMASTE, BITCH!" but I really don't think that's the intended purpose of that phrase. I don't know, I'm a newbie. But I'm pretty sure.
My legs are sore today and my heart is sad, because I fail. I used to actually be good at things sometimes. Today I'm not even sure what those things are. But I know I used to be. I know I used to periodically feel good about myself for something, even if I don't know what it is anymore.
I'm going back to yoga tomorrow. I'm not sure why. Maybe just because I keep believing, like Jake on Adventure Time says, "Dude, suckin' at something is the first step to being sorta good at something."
(When advice from cartoon dogs is the most logical thing in your life, you should probably be worried, right? I'm not even sure anymore.)
I do think it takes guts to go back and try something that you see as "done badly" I can't usually make myself do it. Yoga gets easier, you find your groove. HOwever, your yoga teacher might be bad too. I would agree that you should look at diet while you practice getting the thoughts managed with relaxation techniques. I know you live a Christ centered life, so maybe focus your prayers on getting help one day at a time with the stress load. Finding scriptures to memorize that you can say when the roar gets too much might help...I bet it is one of these life lessons that you learn to manage bit by bit over time. I am in the same boat concerning my self image and eating.
The calming of your mind will come with time. Try thinking of it as a file cabinet. Lock that bitch up when the lights go out (yogo or otherwise). Not easy, but possible.
And listen... you do not fail. You find creative ways at succeeding. You didn't fail at yoga - your legs are sore. It might not have been pretty, but something worked. You are easily redirected. You succeed at a lot of things, just maybe not at what you're being redirected from. Celebrate the successes... all the other stuff you do when you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. Those things count too!!!
Woman! More often then not, you (being the collective you, not you personally) are not good at things the first time you try them! Its called learning and practicing and growing!
To address your points:
1) I am not bendy -- Takes time, takes practice.
2) Okay, I'm kind of bendy. But I'm not bendy in the way I'm supposed to be to do yoga -- see #1. ;-)
3) My hair is long and keeps getting in my face -- Try a braid. Or a sloppy bun. This is why they made hair ties!
4) I didn't paint my toenails and they look ridiculous, so I kept my socks on -- no one cares about your toes.
5) Socks made me even more clumsy -- seriously, just take your socks off.
6) I was already incredibly clumsy before the socks -- time, practice... we're all clumsy at the beginning.
7) I have no idea what any of the poses are so I keep looking at the instructor -- do you think everyone else was just born knowing what the poses were? that's where we all started. look at the teacher, that's what she's there for.
8) I have balance issues -- again, will improve with practice. in fact, yoga can help you with your balance all around.
9) I have horrible headaches which make lying flat on a mat an uncomfortable experience -- talk to your teacher about this. they are trained to help modify positions for certain ailments.
10) My teacher does not appreciate my efforts to alleviate said headaches by propping a blanket under my neck -- again, talk to her. if she doesn't know why you're doing something she's more likely to side eye it.
11) I'm fat -- so?
12) Yes, still -- again, so?
13) I mistakenly continue to think exercise will be fun if I just do it every day -- hopefully it will be fun for you, but you have to let go of this idea that you're going to go into the class and immediately be good at it. sometimes its a little hard at the beginning, when you are still learning everything. but once you spend some time and know the basics, you can start to relax into it a bit more.
And to address the busy mind thing... yeah, we all start there, promise. (At least all of us who have brains that work.) It seems silly, which is why everyone frets about it at the beginning, but it takes practice to really relax and slow your mind down. A LOT of practice. Try focusing on your breathing. Talking it through in your head, inhale 1 2 3 4 5, exhale 1 2 3 4 5 6... etc. Sometimes you have to force yourself to focus on something mundane to keep yourself from thinking about everything else. And forgive yourself when your mind wanders, just come back to a focus on your breathing.
Look, I'm biased because I love yoga. But it was hard for me at the beginning too. I'm glad you are going back to give it another chance. This time give yourself a break.
My last yoga class, I farted. Audibly. The teacher heard it and laughed. Also, I was the fattest girl in the class. Also, I love you so bad.
Expect a lot of hate mail about this one. Yoga people act like they are full of peace but I think the opposite is true. Whenever anyone says anytihng negative about yoga they lose their shit.
It takes a lot of guts to give anything a second try-good for you!
I completely understand the inability to totally clear your mind. I can't do it in meetings, trying to sleep at night, in church, etc. so I know it would be difficult in yoga too.
I haven't visited in a while so am finding this late...
Some people dig yoga, some don't. I dig it but I have found very few studios which work for me, for various reasons. The teachers I LOVE are the ones who actively provide modifications, point out the "steps" to the more complicated poses and never focus on any end goal, just the process. So any person, at any level, can be challenged and not feel anything negative if they can't "keep up". I have incredibly tight hamstrings and any forward bending is super difficult, and that will always be the case, and it's OK. I think it would be really hard to be a beginner in a "mixed levels" class - I started in a class specifically for beginners and if you can afford it it might be helpful to do a private session to get some of the basics down.
Hope that wasn't too "preachy" - I just hate to think people give up on something they think they could enjoy because of some crappy teacher. :)
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