5 Life Lessons I Learned from my First Yoga Class
Growing up the way I did, I viewed yoga as Eastern witchcraft. I felt very strongly about it because of what I was taught to believe.
I thought it was all cultish meditation.
I’m not sure I can really pinpoint the exact moment my mind changed. It must have been when I realized that there was so much more to the world than the bubble I had lived in for 10 years.
Now, I have a serious love/hate relationship with Jillian Michaels and her workout videos; but I trust that she knows exactly what she’s talking about.
I didn’t find anything weird or cultish about the sequence.
Then I had my son and my body changed… A lot! I needed something to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight.
*Side Note: Still very far from that point in my life, but I’m healthy and active. That’s the important thing.*
I started searching for programs to lose weight, but I can barely keep up with my daily vitamins. I knew I would have to find something I could stick with.
Then a friend approached me and asked me if I would take a local yoga 101 class with her. It was one night a week for 8 weeks and only $50!
I was ecstatic. I told my husband that I wanted the class and yoga stuff for my birthday as the class started 2 days after. Like most men, he was happy to know what I wanted as a gift. He got my mom involved and I was all set to start with my new fitbit, yoga mat, yoga bag and three new outfits.
I’d done some YouTube yoga videos like Yoga With Adriene and found the first class very simple. I was too excited to let that dampen my enthusiasm for the class.
We started with a full class of 15 people. As the class progressed, fewer people showed up. It ended with 5 of us. Only 3 of us had attended every single class.
Don’t be surprised if this happens at your first yoga class. People get what they want from the class, then may stop going.
Yoga is a practice which has the ability to change your life--Both inside and out. Click To Tweet
I never thought I would learn more than some poses and breathing techniques in my first yoga class.
I didn’t believe that I would leave knowing more about myself.
The classes actually made me a better person.
Here are 5 Life Lessons I Learned in my First Yoga Class
I can let go of the things that are toxic in my life.
During a final meditation in Shavasana (corpse pose), I was listening to the reading from the instructor.
I started getting lost in my thoughts. I thought about my work life. I thought about the anxiety and stress I felt consistently. It was during this time that I realized what I really wanted to do with my life.
I want to work with small businesses. I am done with big corporations.
But I can’t leave my job now; especially now that I am pregnant with my second child. I have to side hustle and finish my degree before I can make a real move.
I can still be happy no matter what because I can keep in mind that this is just a time and season in my life.
I’m capable of so much more than what I can do today.
Every class, we learned a new pose. Some were new to me, some were poses I had already learned via YouTube.
As the classes progressed, I found I was getting better. It was great!
I was more flexible in no time. I became comfortable laying still in my own thoughts for 10-15 minutes at a time.
I realized during some self reflection that it doesn’t matter if I am inadequate today, because excellence is something that must be practiced.
It takes hard work and dedication to get better at anything.
Progress, not perfection is the key to a successful practice.
I may never become perfect in my practice. I may never build the upper body strength to do a full handstand.
But if I continue to practice, I will get better. It is inevitable.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
Judgement of the body and others gets me nowhere.
When I first started yoga, I didn’t think much about my form so much as the way I felt during the practice.
As I got better, I began to look around. I started to compare myself and my progress to other people.
There was someone across the way who would get complimented by the instructor and I would try to copy her form. But her body is completely different than mine. Why would I compare myself to her?
I’m not her. I can only be myself.
Judging her (not in a negative way) and judging myself (in a negative way) wasn’t getting me anywhere!
I found that when I stopped judging others and myself, I began to improve. I had stopped looking around and began to look within.
In a mind filled with anxiety, I can find peace on the mat and beyond.
I deal with anxiety. That will never be a secret from my readers, because I know I am not alone.
When I started the class, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety over work. It’s always work!
I was finding myself thinking about work during my yoga time. That is never a good thing. After just two classes, the instructor mentioned that you should leave your problems with your shoes in the hallway; and you can pick them up when you leave.
I started only focusing on the practice and my breathing while I was on the mat. Have you ever tried to focus on breathing a certain way while doing yoga poses? It is very consuming.
When I began to leave my problems at the door, I found that I was able to better relax during my practice.
I also found that I could leave the stress of the work day in my car when I got home at the end of the day.
I realized that I didn’t have to think about that stress when I was with my family.
It was so liberating!
These are all very important life lessons that I never thought I would learn from an 8 week yoga class, but I did.
I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Do you practice yoga?
Have you learned anything simple or profound during your practice which has changed you?
Comment below to share your experiences.
Alesia is a working mom who fights her way through life, depression, and just plain stupidity. She strives to show others that it is possible to be a bad-ass while you feel like you’re losing your mind. A Bottle of Sanity is a space in which working moms may find easy recipes, parenting tips, and sanity.