Think back to your very first yoga class. Did you run down a checklist of essentials to tote along—mat (check), towel (check), water bottle (check), pedicure (check)— before heading out the door?
If you’re anything like me, the thought of showing off your bare feet to a bunch of strangers likely had you swiping on a few fresh coats of “Sierra Bliss” before you headed to the studio. Your first yoga class is bound to be filled with hilarious inner thoughts that we all shared our first time on the mat. So dim the lights, cue the mantras, and give those spandex pants a run for their money—here are eight funny thoughts every new yogi experiences…
“Back Off, Yoga Master!”
Entering your first yoga class, you likely staked out a comfortable spot near the exit. But low and behold, just as you roll out your mat in the ideal spot at a respectful distance from the person next to you, and with adequate room for another mat on your other side—a guy or girl trudges loudly into the studio and unrolls his or her mat uncomfortably close to yours.
Don’t be embarrassed; the natural response is to feel territorial. But don’t give in, grab your lotus knees a little closer so (goodness forbid) you don’t make contact when you stretch out your arms and legs in a twist during class. If it helps I still experience times when my yoga and OCD collide. For instance, I’m usually pretty careful to line up my mat perfectly with the person next to me. However, I get still a bit huffy if a new person unrolls their mat misaligned next to mine. Just breathe deeply for a few rounds and you’ll tune your lopsided neighbor out.
“Are Her Tights See-Through? Gasp! Are My Tights See-Through?”
I was a yoga teacher throughout the Lululemon sheer pants fiasco of 2013, which means that I’ve witnessed my fare share of see-through tights in yoga class. It honestly doesn’t bother me because I’m used to it. However, if you’re a newbie, you might be aghast at the sight of all of those private parts winking at you through your classmate’s too-sheer tights.
Just wait for Downward Dog or Wide-Legged Forward Fold! Thoughts of, “Oh my, are her pants see-through?” will naturally shift to, “Oh no, are my pants see-through?” once the pose shifts from front to back. You’ll suddenly realize that the see through butt in front of you is about to get a wide-angle view of your butt in the same pose. Before the next class, I bet you do a few squats in front of your bedroom mirror to test the translucency of your tights.
“She Wants Me to Put My Leg Where?”
Your first yoga class introduces you to some pretty challenging, even gravity-defying moves that can seem impossible at first view. However, the teacher doesn’t expect you to perform all the poses perfectly right off the bat. The understanding in yoga is that participants listen to their own bodies and do what they can. This is why multiple variations of a pose are demonstrated.
Don’t be afraid to give the poses a try. It’s true; at first many of the Warrior poses will make you feel like you’re playing a game of solo Twister on your mat. However, once you get into position the pose can actually feel really great. That’s until you realize how long the teacher expects you to hold that pretzel twist!
“Don’t Fall Over, Don’t Fall Over, Don’t Fall Over!”
Falling over is inevitable in yoga class—losing balance in Tree Pose, Dancer, inversions, and almost falling smack on your face in Crow Pose is par for the course. We’ve all done it and we’ve all felt more mortified at the thought.
Think about it this way—what other safe place do you have as an adult to get silly, try new things, and fall down without any negative repercussions? Only in yoga can you kick one leg up in 3-Legged Dog pose, get a side view in Half-Moon pose, and sway like a scraggy Tree in a tornado as you develop strength and self-confidence. Most importantly, yoga teaches us that it’s perfectly alright to fall down—as long as we get back up again.
“That Lint on My Mat is Sure Distracting”
In yoga we’re told to narrow our focus on our breathing. It’s a simple instruction that’s so difficult to follow—especially when you have dirt stuck to your feet, hair stuck to your yoga pants, or lint balls all over your mat.
I still find myself losing track of my breathing throughout class if I catch sight of a stray cat hair or a patch of peeling toe nail polish on my feet, or if the teacher is playing a really bad song. I’m talking about you, John Mayer, you have no place in my yoga class!
“This Teacher is Trying to Kill Us!”
I know; many of us attend our first yoga class to get our Zen on and to emerge from class rejuvenated and focused for the day or evening ahead. But then you mistakenly attend a class with a teacher who really like squats, or worse, plank pose!
Suddenly, you feel like you’re trapped in a painful boot camp course rather than a calming yoga class. I often ask my class to take plank pose and my gaze is always met by a sea of hate-filled-horror. Trust me when I say, with practice you will come to love this pose for the awesome stuff it will do for your rock-hard core.
When Yoga Envy Slips Into Your Practice
We’ve all experienced yoga envy—that wave of blind jealousy that overtakes us when that new guy or girl in class presses up into an oh-so-effortless handstand without nary the sign of an awkward tremble.
When you see red, keep in mind that everyone has their reason for practicing yoga and their own background to draw from. Many folks who are new to yoga have taken ballet, gymnastics, or Pilates before. Yoga is not a competitive space, which means there’s no room for ego, jealousy, and judgment.
Savasana, Ahh, I Can Finally Get Some Shut-Eye
Yogis of all experience levels fall asleep during Savasana, or corpse pose. So as a beginner, if you drift off lying on your cushiony mat with dim lighting and soothing music, you’re not alone and no yoga police will bar you from ever taking a yoga class again.
Savasana represents the end of your yoga practice, but while your body might be lying down motionless, the idea is that your mind stay completely aware. To do this focus on your breath and the rise and fall of your chest. However, if you happen to nod off in savasana, don’t fret, many yoga teachers, including myself, take it as a compliment that you worked hard and have completely given in to relaxation.