Imagine this! Imagine you’ve decided to better yourself, and you heard how good yoga is for you. You step inside, everyone is wearing Lululemon leggings and using Manduka mats. Some men are wearing Under Armour apparel and all of them have an array of stuff around them: yoga blocks, straps and some even have tripods with their phones all ready to catch them in yoga action!
Let me just start by saying that we all start somewhere. When I first started more than 15 years ago, I probably was the only guy in class. I was like a bull in a china shop. It was seriously intimidating.
But saying that, every “first time” was intimidating. I couldn’t sleep the night before I had resolved to join a gym and get fit. It was similar when I first took swimming classes as an adult, among a class of four-year olds who learnt to swim in three or four hours (for the record, I took 13 hours to learn the breast stroke).
New yoga practitioners get on to YouTube and watch famous yoga teachers (or instructors, whichever you prefer to call them) – all beautiful, lean and golden, dropping into backbends, lifting into handstands, falling into single leg king pigeon pose – and it all seems too much!
Here’s the thing – none of them woke up in the morning and suddenly were able to do all those movements overnight. It took us years and years of practise, and sometimes practise of other basic yoga poses that helped us to “get there”.
And here’s another thing: in yoga, as in life, we never really “get there” because there’s always more. There’s always “beyond there”. It’s not a yearning or a desire or a want, but it’s a journey, and that’s just a matter of fact. There is always more and there is no ‘getting there’.
In fact, sometimes the yoga lies in not ‘getting there’. Not everyone is meant to be able to do a lotus pose or a handstand, just like not everyone in life is not meant to be a doctor or an engineer or a politician. And the yoga lies in the ability to have equanimity in the “not getting there”.
I think many people can empathise with the feelings of intimidation and being overwhelmed when undertaking something new. But listen up! You need to commend yourself with the courage you have for getting yourself there and being there, even if no one else does.
Imagine you are running a race and you’re a few paces to the end. Don’t give up. Don’t you care what others think. You are on a journey and your best friend is yourself. Keep strong and brave and you will travel your path and meet handstands and headstands and all the other yoga poses along the way.
Most importantly, you’ll discover your true self within you.