I’ve been practising yoga on and off for about 10 years, but my journey of getting into yoga wasn’t a smooth one. It started at home, occasionally doing some poses with my mum or one of her sisters. My first actual class was one I went to with a college friend at the local leisure centre. The day after I couldn’t walk without every single muscle talking to me. That’s the thing with yoga, it wakes up muscles you never even knew you had.
Drama school = death by yoga
After college I went to drama school pursuing my (at this time) dreams of being an actress. I left halfway through the first year, not without experiencing a gruelling class called ‘performance prep’.
This class involved the teacher trying to kill us with yoga purportedly to prepare ourselves physically for performing. It was my first experience of a faster paced style of yoga, what I now know to be vinyasa flow and really enjoy. I couldn’t hold the postures, had no upper body strength and got ashamed and embarrassed when I was adjusted.
When I left some friends gave me a leaving card inside was a celebratory “no more f***ing yoga” message.
The dippy teacher, and slowly finding my way
Between leaving drama school and going to University I was back at home for a bit and went along to yoga classes with my mum. Even after being destroyed by the drama school flow I knew that my body benefitted from yoga. Perhaps I also knew it helped my mind.
The teacher of this particular class spoke in a voice I can best describe as hippy fairy queen. It really irritated me, no more so than in savasana. The pose you take to relax at the end of class. At Uni I didn’t find a yoga class or join a yoga society, I just didn’t do yoga at all but I did miss it. At some point in time my mum bought me a yoga mat. Maybe I did a few stretches here and there but it didn’t get rolled out a lot.
Now I’m training to be a yoga teacher
After leaving Uni I tried a few yoga classes. I went to one at a gym where the instructor wore a headset and pop music pumped out. To me that wasn’t yoga. Then I plucked up the courage to go to a yoga studio and take a 90 minute class and it was great. I felt that amazing feeling you get after stretching muscles you haven’t stretched in years (or ever) and I felt so much better in myself.
But it still took a few years to find a teacher who resonated with me, and then I started exploring YouTube yoga videos…and found Yoga With Adriene (going to mention this a lot, you might as well get used to it).
Rolling the mat out everyday
Now I do yoga everyday and feel weird if I don’t. My mat’s no longer something collecting dust in the corner but one of the three items I’d take with me to a desert island. Yoga makes me feel fit and healthy in my body and in my mind. It’s helped me with anxiety, confidence and stress issues and I know it’ll continue to have my back for the rest of my life.
Your journey getting into yoga
All this to say that, as with anything, getting into yoga isn’t easy. It might look like an easy form of exercise (or not a proper workout at all as some people think) but it’s hard, it requires tenacity and your muscles do feel it. There’re lots of different styles and teachers. You can have a hippy fairy queen if that’s what you like, but not every yoga teacher is like that (another assumption lots of people have).
Getting into yoga is going to be a unique journey for each person, but I so recommend it. Let go of your assumptions of what it’s going to be like and try a YouTube video or a class. If you don’t like it, try a different one next time. Let me know how it goes in the comments below, and share your journey getting into yoga.