My First Yoga Class: 5 Things I Learned

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After putting it off for about 5 months, I took my first official Yoga class. These past 5 months I've made numerous excuses on why I couldn't go. $20 is not a lot of money, but I used that as an excuse. I'm shy, timid, and thought I'd be laughed at for some reason. I'm not shy at all. I've spoken to about me going for the past 5 months and after buying a sling for my mat I figured it was time to take that giant leap. During that hour class, my heart opened up and I learned these 5 important things about myself.

1. I'm a lot stronger than I think.

I do calisthenics, jog, and weight lift. I'm in good physical shape, but Yoga has always been something wholly different to me. Yoga is about those minor muscles we forget to work on. It's stability, and most importantly focus. I incorporated Yoga into my life in January. From brief videos, apps, and fitness routines I wrote about Yoga, I picked out a few poses I felt were beneficial for me. One of my biggest fears was getting into class and not being able to properly do the movements or hold these poses as directed. After about 10 minutes I was putting everything into each pose. Every suggestion on making a pose more challenging I took as part of the routine. I wanted to be able to perfect my form.. Whenever I found a bit of resistance I took a deep breath and readjusted in order to find balance and focus. Surprisingly, I kept up. With the occasional adjustment from the instructor also, I felt strong and confident throughout the entire class.

2. I am open to change.

Taking the initiative in making the poses more difficult said a lot to me. From doing my own Yoga, being introduced into variety and accepting change in order to bring more out of my practice, I felt a shift in my ability to be more open to experiences. My life is not so much routine, rather I know what to expect daily. Something so simple as placing your feet on your upper thigh instead of on your inner knee when doing Tree Pose, like you've been accustomed to for 5 months changes something in you. I don't want to play it safe and do the bare minimum of what I know. I'm willing to experiment and push myself everyday to see what comes if I give an extra inch or two. So far it's been a lot.

3. Community matters.

Fitness has always been something very individualized for me. It was always my escape from the chaos of the outside world. I've always had my headphones on so I could focus and stay in my zone. So naturally whenever I practiced Yoga early in the morning by the beach, I was alone and it felt good. I love the sun and the sound of the waves crashing because it keeps me connected with nature. But this feeling in class was different. As the instructor guided us, I saw and felt my fellow yogi's all working on the routines, poses, and breathing with me. Although our bodies and breathing weren't in perfect unison, we were still connected. When we shared our Ohm's,  I felt their energy and the experience was no longer about me wanting to be strong and healthy, it was about us in the moment, radiating energy off of each other. I felt more alive there than the beach has ever made me feel.

4. I have a deep desire to express myself.

I have a very strong voice yet I am an extremely soft spoken person. I grew up with a lot of yelling around me and to counteract that, I speak softly. Whenever I have gotten to the point where I had to yell in the past, I have always felt this immense release of energy with a hint of guilt because I was yelling. When we did our Ohm's in class, I felt free. There was liberation without the guilt. The rush of oxygen flowing from my lungs, allowed me to release energy.  It was expression. I've never thought of it that way. I usually write to express myself, but this vocal expression was something I haven't felt in a long time. It's similar to that urge people get when they shout to the Lord, sing in unison, or yell from the mountaintops. I need to find more ways to release vocally.

5. I love myself.

During the cool down, we hugged our knees into our chest and the instructor told us to say something nice to ourselves. The first thing that flowed out was "You're amazing. I love you." And I smiled. A huge smile because I meant it. As we lied there, I thought about these past few months, all that I've started creating for myself, all the endeavors and things I've worked on, and I was proud of myself.  Proud that I took the class and proud that it would start a new chapter in my life.

Find your new experience and rediscover your strength. Rediscover change, community, expression, and self-love.