Welcome to your first yoga class…
Do you remember your first yoga class? I do.
It was my first year teaching and my friend and I wanted alternative ways to destress, so we decided to take up yoga. At first we had no clue what we were doing, and luckily we found a really gentle beginner’s class to ease us into, what would later become a life-long practice.
I remember thinking that I loved the gentle feeling I had post class. The kindness in my heart, the ease of my movements, and the grace of my mind. It was probably the first time I had ever experienced that all at once, and have been forever grateful for the practice, as it has healed and supported me since the beginning of my career.
Last night was no different. I decided to try out one of the other locations of Kindness Yoga, wondering what the energy of the other studios was going to be like.
Upon arrival, however, I was a little on edge. After a long day with the kids and Denver traffic (admittedly it’s not nearly the traffic we have in Boston, but it gets worse all of the time here) and thinking I was running late, it was inevitable that hitting the mat was going to do wonders. And I was hopeful, that is until I got there and felt this unusual energy that wasn’t as open as the other studio at which I’ve done most of my other practices.
I was a bit weary of my enjoyment of my practice, and right then and there, I knew I was entering into judgement. I recognized it and sat with it for a bit before we began, and took into consideration all of the aforementioned reasons I might have been a little off when entering the room.
Our instructor was a gentleman, who was all tatted up (trust me, this will come into play), had a beard that covered most of his face and was wearing a kilt. I played field hockey in high school and college, so I’m familiar with the kilt, however, I’d never been in the presence of a kilt in a yoga class! Again, I was finding myself weary of my experience, but took to the mat regardless.
As our instructor began speaking and easing us into our practice for the next hour, I couldn’t get my mind to stop racing about never wanting to come back to this particular studio again, about all of the issues from the day, about all of the judgements I was forming in my head about myself…
And then it happened.
I was in chaturanga and he walked by me with his tatted up bare feet, and I caught a glimpse of his “surrender” tattoo. And just like that, I understood the sign and I let go and surrendered all of my judgements and false thoughts I created in my head to the practice at hand.
From that point (and thank goodness it was in the beginning of class), I was able to open up my mind and physical capabilities to engage with the flow of the practice.
At one point our instructor started talking about judgements (okay, Universe, I get it!) and how yoga is a practice where judgement doesn’t exist because we – our minds, our souls, and especially our bodies – are in a constant rate of change, and that even if you have practiced for 10, 20, 50 years, every time you get on that mat is your first yoga class because you’ve never done it before like you are today.
I had to smile because so often I find myself in that place of, “Why can’t I get this pose? I’ve been trying for years!” and if I just remember to come to the mat every time like it’s my first time, then who cares if I can stay in crow or not?
I’m there, I’m working through my stress, I’m working through my judgements, and I’m working to find a more peaceful version of myself. And that’s enough.
So I had a great first day of yoga on the mat, and I will admit that I actually really liked this instructor, as he had so many funny and insightful mantras; I wished I could have voice recorded our class for that reason. I probably will try to find another class he teaches and have my first yoga class all over again!