My First Yoga Class
Do you remember your first yoga class? I do...

My first yoga class was a humbling experience, to say the least. As a self-proclaimed gym rat teaching 20+ fitness classes in bustling NYC, I thought I had seen it all.  I did it all -- step aerobics, hi-lo, "toning," and even some "stretch" classes.  Everything was fast-paced and intense.
So when my mom came to visit and suggested we attend a yoga class together, I couldn't resist the opportunity to try something new. I had been hearing of this thing called yoga and it was on my "should" list. I had a lot of "shoulds" then. 

Walking into the studio, I was met with a sense of serenity that was unfamiliar yet inviting. The instructor, seemingly older and very matter-of-fact, guided us through the poses with gentle authority. My perfectionist tendencies kicked in, and I approached each posture with a determination to excel.

I pushed myself to the limit, seeking validation and recognition from both the instructor and myself.  I honestly don't know who I was competing against or what I was trying to prove, but it was something. The following day, I awoke to a soreness unlike anything I had ever experienced. Every muscle in my body seemed to ache, reminding me of the intensity of the practice.  It took me at least a year before returning to yoga, but with a little more humility. I continued to practice and began to fall in love with the possibilities that yoga provided. Yes, the physical was still my doorway, but I could tell there was more.

It took many years for me to realize that yoga was more than just the physical postures.  Only after delving into becoming a teacher myself did  I begin to appreciate the mental and emotional challenges that yoga presented. Entering the world of yoga through the door of the physical was a revelation for me. As my practice progressed, I came to understand that yoga wasn't about competition or seeking validation from others—it was about finding inner strength and self-awareness. 

In my 20s and 30s, I was a person that tended to be hard on myself and one who craved external validation. I still have those tendencies. But, yoga has provided me with a space to nurture self-compassion and acceptance. It has been a journey of discovery—one that continues to unfold with each practice.


Leave a Comment