The fear of looking stupid in yoga class

 

If I had $1 every time I got a phone call or an email from a new student asking me, “Will I feel stupid or look like an idiot in class? or my favorite, “I have…. (long list of ailments) will it be a complete shitshow if I come to class?” I would have people running my yoga studio while I travel the world. Unfortunately, no one pays me to have these mini therapy sessions with prospective yogis. I joke, but I do take these questions very seriously. I want people to know that I too felt the same way before, during and after my first yoga class. We’ve all fallen over when trying to hold tree pose or passed gas while doing happy baby. It’s part of the process, part of the journey.

Here’s a couple tips, tricks and thoughts to help ease your anxiety:

  1. Use the wall. When attempting any balance poses, use the wall. You will feel much less anxious putting a hand or two on the wall to help you balance then if you don’t and you fall over onto the student next to you.
  2. Get to class early. Find a comfortable spot, meet the teacher, and if you’re feeling really brave, tell her/him your fears, concerns etc…
  3. We all looked like drunk people when we started practicing yoga. Read that again and remember it when you’re in class. None of us started out our practice in handstand. We work towards it.
  4. Take a child’s pose. When all else fails and you are clueless as to what is going on, go into child’s pose. This is a simple resting pose and no one will think twice about you doing it in the middle of class.
  5. If you have any limitations or ailments, call the studio ahead of time and talk with someone about your concerns. They can also recommend an appropriate class for you.

One of the things I love the most about yoga is that once you start practicing it, you are always on a journey. A journey to be stronger, more flexible, more zen more… whatever you want out of it. I compare my yoga practice to a relationship. Like any relationship, you need to nurture it, work at it, and sometimes take a break from it. All of these things help it grow. You too can be on that journey, all you need to do is take the leap and try a class.

 

Namaste.

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