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Confessions of a Yoga Virgin

Are you interested in yoga, but are a little worried they'll ask you to turn yourself into a human pretzel? The editor shares her experience of taking yoga classes for the first time and what you can expect.

I took a yoga class for the first time about a month ago at About Mind and Body on Janmar Road in Snellville. 

I was extremely nervous, imagining situations that always resulted in me falling flat on my face, or being surrounded by enlightened people with zero body fat and the ability to bend themselves into unnatural shapes while I, coated with a layer of pudge and a mind that never stops long enough to even ponder Zen, struggle to touch my head to my toes. 

But I had to do something. Sitting in front of my laptop, typing in a somewhat hunched over position, was making me feel like an 80-year-old, creaking and cracking every time I stood up. 

Speaking of 80-year-olds, my 88-year-old grandmother even does yoga. While it's a little disturbing to see her sit on the floor and wrap her leg over her head, it did give me a boost of confidence that this was something I could do. 

I walked into the yoga studio and heard some light muzak coming from the speakers. A few candles were lit, and the yoga instructor was sitting on her mat in a yoga-ey position. She had zero body fat. Sigh. But then I thought, hey! Maybe yoga had something to do with that! 

I took my shoes off, pulled out a mat and made small talk with the instructor until the other yoga-ites showed up. They came in all shapes, sizes and ages. I was relieved. 

The first thirty minutes focused on breathing and stretching. It felt great, even though I couldn't quite get my head to my toes. So far, nothing was too difficult. I felt a little dumb breathing in various slightly odd ways, but everyone else was doing it so I thought, meh, what the heck. 

The second thirty minutes was a little more intense but still doable. By the end of the class I felt clearheaded and all my joints were moving like a 30-year-old's should. 

I was pumped. I could see why people do this regularly. So the next week, I joined a Power Yoga class.

Why? Why did I do that? I got cocky. I thought I could do too much, too quick. This class did, in fact, result in me falling flat on my face a couple of times and watching other women with zero body fat contort themselves into pretzels. 

One of the positions required me to stand on one leg, stretch my other one back, reach my hands between those legs and hold them together. Tada: pretzel. Tada: Crystal in a heap on the floor. 

But, afterwards, I had such a huge rush of endorphins that I was officially addicted. It felt great, and learning the breathing techniques has helped me focus. 

In all seriousness, I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it, and how great it made me feel. If you're not much of an exerciser, yoga is a great place to start. 

Namaste.

The following locations in Snellville and nearby areas offer yoga classes. Check them out! (Leave a review on the business pages if you attend classes there.)

  • About Mind and Body
  • The Yoga Source
  • Ladies Workout
  • Action Fitness
Yoga Love February 28, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Great post! Thanks for sharing. Nayeema Akter www.anamayaresort.com
Gordon Kaplan February 28, 2013 at 07:14 PM
It is helpful to be reminded of the mindset of the newcomer. Thank you. Anything and everything is labeled "yoga". Just as large conglomerates now label food as "low-fat" or "healthy" so too are many things not Yoga labeled Yoga. We, as prospective students, have to investigate and explore the potential choices with great care. The system of Yoga (not just the physical practice) is an incredibly powerful set of tools for human growth/change/transformation. And, as we well know, a powerful tool in the hands of a master is art. The same tool in the hands of a neophyte is mayhem. The second point is more subtle but still related. What curriculum is appropriate for a student with little or no previous experience? Unfortunately when one can wear the title "yoga teacher" after a weekend of training students are compromised and often walk away with injury or a misconception about the practice itself. Please go to a class that suits your level of experience AND one that has a teacher that crafts the class based on that level. Far too often I've heard students talk of doing postures in beginning level classes that are completely inappropriate for their experience. If only falling in a sweaty heap was the lone consequence it would all be "okay". Consider paying less attention to what class costs and more attention to what class provides. One can attend an $8 class and get $2 of instruction or one can attend a $15 class and get $100 worth of instruction.

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