I came across an infomercial today for yoga dvd's. I was excited that people were so crazy about them, seeing results, feeling great, but I wasn't so happy about the message they were sending across about yoga studios and classes. It had me thinking all about how they used the ego to play on your fears, self judgement, doubt and everything else negative that pops up on your mind when thinking about starting something new outside the comfort of your home.
So first of all, to clear something up, yoga is NON COMPETITIVE, NON JUDGEMENTAL AND you're supposed to show KINDNESS to ourselves and others or it will bite you in the ass. With that said, the practice of yoga is very unique to every person. My body doesn't perform like yours and your body doesn't perform like mine. It's the beauty of being human, the uniqueness of being you. In yoga, we PRACTICE non judgement, non attachment, kindness (as stated before) and so many other things to help us better ourselves and our lives (the list is long not getting into that in this blog entry). So if you are having doubts about making an ass out of yourself in class, then guess what! EVERYONE feels this at one time or another, I sure have! Aren't bendy or flexible? Guess what! We have all been there at one time or another! Afraid of being picked on by the yoga teacher, go to a class that is way out of your league and advanced, then I suggest checking out their site to find out more about their classes, their teachers, when the beginner classes are held, etc. I also suggest calling the studio, speak to the owner, or someone in charge, ask what are the best classes for beginners, do they have classes for someone with mobility issues, "I have a bad back, do you have classes for someone like me?", or "can I come see your studio before trying out a class?" You want to see if it's clean, if the environment is a good fit for you. Want to try a class but don't want to spend the money? If they aren't running a promotion for first class free, then chances are the owner is likely to give you a free class to let you give yoga a try for the first time or first time stepping into a studio. I personally fell in love with yoga when I stepped onto my mat in a studio, mind you I was practicing at home for years before doing so and never had the experience I get when I am in a studio, plus every class and teacher is different. So you get a unique experience every time. Do not go blind to a studio, do your research, ask friends (there is always someone you trust who can guide you in the right direction).
On a side note, I am introverted, (it takes a lot for me to get out of my comfort zone, yoga has helped me a LOT with this, teaching even more so ), which is why this infomercial pissed me off. It preyed on your Ego, letting the fear of being judged or falling behind if a class or not being bendy enough get the best of you. I feel many times I'm socially awkward, even as a teacher and thinking of trying something new without some kind of support is terrifying, but then I remind myself, how am I ever going to live if I'm living in fear all the damn time! Yes, there is the convenience of your home, there is nothing wrong with that and I would never take that away from you, it's your right to be comfortable. Hell, I did it for years, mainly because there wasn't a yoga studio by me and I was a bit apprehensive.
Benefits of a studio (in my opinion)? The community of yogis you meet, bond with and befriend. You'll find you aren't the only person with anxiety about classes, studio, poses, etc. Your support system is great to have especially if they are practicing with you. The instructors have the experience to help you get into the poses correctly, adjust you where you need it or just to help you deepen your practice. You also don't get the same practice all the time. Some teachers have a "go-to" they use, me personally, I go by how my students are feeling, what I see is going on in their posture, their demeanor and I go by the energy that my students give off because I am empathic and very sensitive. I am also not afraid to tell a fellow yogi to "Mind their Yoga!" because of the fact that every body and every practice is different.
Please don't let something you've seen on television deter you from trying something out. If I did, I'd never leave the house! I wouldn't be where I am today if I did. Use your resources to find out what might be the best fit for YOU. Don't let someone intimidate you or dictate what they think is right for you just to make a quick buck, those actors & big corporations make enough money ANYWAY. You do what's good for YOU!