& Why you shouldn’t let them Stop You!
I figure now is as good a time as any to actually impart some practical advice … unless you just subscribed to this for a bit of light relief, in which case – skip to no.1.
In a countdown style … in at:
No.5: You’re going to get lost.
Potentially just to get to class, as they are often held in church halls & random rooms in a centre you never knew existed. But, I’m actually referring to being in the class, understanding what you are being told & converting that into where your hands or feet should be at any given time. Like you’re playing a giant game of twister, only you can’t see the colours & you’re not sure if the person spinning the wheel is playing by the rules.
You look around & you’re pretty certain every other person is in some synchronized dance and you’re the only one who can’t hear the music, but, that’s OK because:
No.4: You’re not alone.
I can guarantee there is at least one other person in the room, who is either lost, stuck, doesn’t know the move (or doesn’t like it & is avoiding it) OR they’ll be some know it all already onto the next thing, making some entirely different shape to everyone else. It’s just your fear telling you anything else.
Whatever you think, however you feel – it’s totally, 100% normal & the secret is, it’s a safe space, because:
No.3: No one else cares what you can’t do.
I’ve never had someone comment that my Downward dog is unbalanced, or my twist not … twisty enough. Comparison is in general non existent in class. It’s your practice & if that means you’ve come to your mat to lay on Child’s pose & not move for an hour, good for you. & If someone does catch a sneaky peak at you, because they’re looking back at you through downward dog, or looking rabbit in a headlights directly at you to check what the hell ‘Virabhadrasana I’* is (yes I googled to ensure correct spelling), to copy you, it’s a compliment. I have only ever looked at someone else & thought – wow that looks good.
& This is where it gets a little more daunting,
No. 2: It’s Hard!
Everyone thinks of Yoga as this cool Zen activity, where you chill & stretch a little, maybe go for a mocha-chino after. Well, I remember how hard that 1st class was, I certainly gave it a good go, but god did it show me … and it continues to do so.
I study Ashtanga which is considered a ‘strong’ type of Yoga & people walk out of those classes dripping in sweat, every time. The heat it builds inside your body, ‘your fire’, you have to give it a go to believe it. & Holding a pose for 30 seconds – that’s not long right? Just see how much you wobble & shake … & to start with count in the hope you are somewhere near the end all of 5 seconds in. Again, totally, 100% normal.
& The truth behind all those beautiful, graceful, easy looking artworks of poses we see on Instagram, is years, sometimes decades of constant & consistent practice. That’s why it’s called practice! & That’s just a snapshot of a split second in time … I’ll bet you now you won’t find a Yogi who can’t without the need of a second thought, tell you something they find hard in their practice, & as in life – that’s where you should go & focus on, not shy away from.
For me this is Pigeon pose – it is my nemesis, for one, the lack of cool name upsets me (my favourite pose is wild thing 😉 but it goes after your hamstrings & my tight runners hammies do not wanna play pigeon!
So, you don’t know what you’re doing, you get the fear it’s just you, you stop & think f@#k it – I’ll wing it – only to realise touching your toes in the 1st pose was tough enough, how the hell are you supposed to balance on one leg whilst doing it?! & Then:
No. 1: You let rip!
Now I can’t speak for the men here, but I don’t just mean in the normal bum sense, but ladies, I’m talking from the front (down there) too! It’s much worse in my home practice, I guess because I feel much more comfortable … I actually wonder if, through the theory of the butterfly effect, any of the more recent storms have been caused by me coming down from a shoulder stand?
But one of the purposes of the practice is to cleanse; mucus, bile … wind. Trust me, you will have to put zero effort into helping that last one along! I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise with how we are moving & twisting our body & especially when we go upside down, how that moves things around.
& The old adage is true – it is better out than in. The only comfort I can provide, is that I have genuinely never heard anyone else! Snore yes, giggle – a plenty (99% of the time at the snorer), fart no. So everyone’s doing it, but there all so concentrated on there own, they’re not hearing yours.
Anything new is scary, we can always find 100 reasons not to in a matter of seconds. Doubt & fear is our natural protective state.
But if I can leave this on a positive, I went back. I keep going back … I actual am now in training to be able to do it myself.
No one else in the room is judging you. They’ve come to take that time out for themselves, to shut off the outside world … & flow … & breathe … & just be.
So if the above is as bad as it gets, well we’ve all faced worse right? & I promise you, the scales are definitely tipped in favour of why you should go, & go again – I promise to share those with you sometime.
But for now – I’m off to practice … Aerial tonight (that’s a picture of me doing Aerial above) … lots of inversions – Oh well, I see a storm coming!
*Sanskrit name for pose: Warrior one … google it, give it a go, I challenge you not to feel empowered in this pose!