I remember my first yoga class. I was trying to lose some weight, and I had a history of quitting gyms. I was not – and still am not – one for typical fitness training, with non-stop jumping, drill sergeant type trainers and loud techno music. Still, I did not want to give up on my body and its possible improvement, so I decided to try this yoga thing that everyone was talking about.
“Is this going to be very challenging?” I asked the woman next to me, while we were waiting for the class to begin. “You know,” she replied, “no matter how challenging you find it the first time, don’t give up, because it really helps.”
Then, about 15 minutes into the class, I already felt as if I had been hit by a train. I couldn’t stop sweating and I had to take several breaks. My entire body felt stiff and my limbs were as heavy as boulders. Out of the corner of my eye, I snuck glances in the direction of the other class participants, and they all looked so fresh and their motions so effortless.
Needless to say, I was not feeling too glorious at the end of the class. Yet, in spite of myself, I was there for the next class. I couldn’t say exactly why I did not give up. Maybe it was because I was tired of giving up. Maybe it was the relaxed feel of the class and the complete lack of guilt tripping when I couldn’t complete an exercise. A yoga teacher will never pressure you to do something, and they’ll never shame you. A yoga teacher will show you options and constantly remind you that, wherever you are in your practice, it’s OK. They’ll tell you that you can challenge yourself if you want to, but there is no obligation to do so. In short, yoga does not impose. It welcomes everyone and it respects personal boundaries.
I’m glad I did not give up after that first class. It only took about a month for me to get a lot better. I don’t think I even realized it until the teacher congratulated my progress. It only dawned upon me then that the motions no longer made me feel exhausted, and that my muscles no longer felt about to snap. I had finally found a type of exercise that was perfect for me and that I knew I would not renounce.
It’s important though, the same way it is vital to work with an instructor who serves you the best kind of treatment and personalized exercise, to work out yoga not only in a suited environment to your needs, but also to use the best mat out there. This will save you painful mishaps and will make the whole process naturally easier for you. My journey with yoga taught me to compare and research what was the best mat for me, so here’s a top of the best products out there you may want to consider when you begin:
This was six years ago. Yoga is not the only type of exercise I practice now, but it’s the one I always return to. Somehow, yoga brought out the strength in me, when I thought I was weak. It proved to me that I am resilient, when I thought I had no fight in me at all. I’d encourage everyone to try yoga. There’s no telling what it could help you discover about yourself.
Anca Rotar is a Romanian-born writer, over-thinker and caffeine addict. She is the author of two books, Hidden Animals and Before It Sets You Free, both available from Amazon.com. Among her interests, which she finds it hard to shut up about, she counts fashion, yoga, city breaks and deadpan sarcasm. She is also currently studying Japanese, so wish her luck. You can sample bits of Anca’s creative writing here.