On Confronting My Yoga Phobia and Why You Should Try New Things

There are a number of places where you would never expect to see me; at Donald Trump fundraiser, inside a Taco Bell or at a yoga session. I have never had anything against yoga (I do have something against Trump and Taco Bell) but I always imagined that it was for the female of the species and had too much scope for embarrassment involving falling over and injuring myself and possibly others (why do things by halves)?

It so happened, however, that some coworkers and I decided to go to Shakespeare in the park on Boston Common (King Lear or King Larry as my coworker referred to him) one evening and there was a yoga in the park session just before it. Against my better judgement I found myself agreeing to go to yoga with them. It was free so it would cost nothing more than my pride and possibly my health. I had vivid nightmares of a photo of me in a pose that resembled a constipated crab that I was unable to get out of circulating around the office for months.

This is where the yoga happens. I was so relaxed I stayed in the park after the session until dusk.
This is where the yoga happens. I was so relaxed I stayed in the park after the session until dusk.

When the day of doom came I was nervous; there were a lot more people than I was expecting and the park was full of potential witnesses to my embarrassment. Just before the session started my coworkers informed me that “she (the instructor) may touch you” and these unfortunate words panicked me until they explained that sometimes the teacher would correct peoples poses.

The biggest issue that I had was that I didn’t know any of the poses. When the instructor told us to get into “downward dog” I didn’t know whether I should bark or look for a lamp post to aim at. As I had to follow what other people were doing I was a little bit behind everyone else and nowhere near as flexible but I did my best and managed to not fall over and my shorts didn’t split. My coworkers didn’t mock me either, in fact they were both really supportive as I should have expected because they are great.

Here’s the thing; I was shocked to find that I actually enjoyed it. Looking up at the trees and the sky as I exercised was really cool and I felt so relaxed after it. The next day I had pains in muscles that I didn’t even know I had but I liked it so much that I ended up going the week after and I’ll be going this week too. I guess the moral of the story is don’t knock something until you’ve tried it! That’s my motto for the week.

Shakespeare in the park was good too!
Shakespeare in the park was good too!

What do you think of yoga? Have you ever had any exercise mishaps?

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31 thoughts on “On Confronting My Yoga Phobia and Why You Should Try New Things

  1. mckelodeon

    The first time I used an elliptical, I didn’t realize that there was a way to add resistance. For 30 minutes, I pounded away furiously and awkwardly. When the timer was done, I fiddled around with the machine a little and discovered that I had programmed it all wrong. Oh yeah, and it happened during my first week at my college in the fitness center.

  2. Excellent, you’re just stepping into a bunch of new things, aren’t you? And enjoying yourself? Above and beyond! You are a brave sort for certain…..I might try yoga, but I don’t think I’d try it in a park filled with strangers!

  3. Yay for you taking a giant leap outside of your comfort zone! I only picked up yoga in the past few years. At first I found it more stressful than relaxing, but over time I learned to let go & just breathe. I have not yet done it in public, though… you are a brave man!

    1. Thanks Karen! I fell over the second time I went trying to do the reverse warrior pose and I’m sure some of the tourists in the park saw so I do feel brave! I’m glad that you enjoy yoga too. 🙂

  4. krista

    Extremely honoured (spelled properly, with ‘u’ ) to be one of the coworkers to share yoga with you! ‘U’ Here’s to many more classes!

  5. Wow, you did better than I did. I nearly passed out the first time I tried yoga. (I have a bad tendency to hold my breath during strength poses.) A friend dragged me, and while I didn’t like it, I couldn’t argue with the results — the end of shin splints, the end of lower back pain, the end of neck pain, etc. I’m not an “OHM” kind of person, but I do yoga several times a week. 🙂

  6. I LOVE yoga. I have been doing it for years. There is nothing to fear. Just do what you can. I am not particularly coordinated or flexible but I enjoy it. It helps clear my mind and makes me feel great after.

    I love your story and can certainly relate!

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you liked the post! I certainly relaxed more once I realised my fellow participants were enjoying the yoga and not judging me for getting it all wrong! 🙂

  7. Wonderful post. Love your constipated crab pose! Hot! 😛 Actually, I’ve been doing yoga (at home) for about 10 years, so I enjoy it. Will you go back for another humuliating session?

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you liked the post and I’m glad you enjoy yoga too. I’m definitely going to the next few sessions, hopefully the more I go the less I’ll embarrass myself!

  8. Points for bravely trying something new! Earlier this year I took a few yoga classes and plan on getting back into it more seriously. The first class I remember looking to the woman beside me in awe as we were told to bend forward and touch the ground. There I was barely able to touch my fingertips to the floor and she had her palms flat on the ground and her nose pressed against her kneecaps.

    1. Thank you! I definitely had your experience; it seemed that everyone around me was more flexible than me. One of my coworkers teaches yoga so I must have looked extra awful next to her! I hope you get back into it. 🙂

  9. I’ve tried different yoga courses with my friend, and one of those courses her husband decided to join us. I am someone who laughs a lot, and once I start I cannot stop. So one day my friend’s husband was to my right when we had to do a pose I forgot the name of but used to call “the dead bug” because you lie on your back, feet pulled towards you and arms around your knees. It wasn’t really funny, but the moment I looked to the right and saw my friend’s husband doing the dead bug I felt my shoulders starting to shake and tried desperately not to laugh. He looked over and that was it… we both couldn’t stop shaking with silent laughter and I had to leave the room. Needless to say from then on I made sure to find a space far away from him. Also, I never signed up for another yoga class. I just can’t do the silent thing…

    1. Haha I can definitely imagine that happening, once I start laughing I can’t stop! Someone had a bee buzzing around them last week and for some reason I found it hilarious. I find the silent part hard as well, its easier in the park because there’s lots of background noise. 🙂

  10. I once signed up for a yoga class looking for everything you’ve described. It was horrific! I thought I was fit going into the class but I was disabused of that notion within the first ten minutes. I didn’t go back and it was about ten years of me being terrified of yoga before, in conversation with a colleague I realised that there are different kinds of yoga and the one I’d been doing was really aimed at ‘advanced’ practitioners. Have since sampled a more ‘appropriate’ form, and even though I still can’t really bend the way I’m supposed to, I did find it incredibly relaxing. Outdoor yoga (for free) sounds amazing but unlike you I’m still stuck in ‘Old England’ and it’s raining here…

    1. Haha the second session I did was a lot faster than the first and i was struggling to keep up so I’m glad it wasn’t my first ever session. Can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you on your first time!

  11. I love yoga because it feels non-judgmental. You can be a lithe 18 year-old or a stiff-bodied 90 year-old and still participate. Your only competition is your inner being (and in my case, my Australian Shepherd who likes to do Downward Dog with me). Great post!

  12. Pingback: 2015 In Review With Photos | Old England to New England

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