Ever since I started doing yoga, I’ve been trying to get my husband, Joe, to come with me to my power vinyasa classes at breathe. While he goes to Planet Fitness on a semi-regular basis to lift weights and run on the treadmills, he’s admitted that he’s not the most flexible guy in the world, so his workout has limits. Still, I was incredibly happy that he’d finally decided to join me for a class on Saturday morning. As much as I like having time to myself on my mat, I enjoy having some company occasionally, too. What better company for me than his?
Joe had actually never taken a yoga class before, so this was a brand new experience for him. Heat isn’t exactly his favorite thing, either, so I was surprised he was actually willing to go with me to a class heated between 85 and 90 degrees. When we got in, however, he had already forgotten about the class’s temperature and asked me why it was so hot in the room.
For this class, we chose breathe’s downtown studio, mainly because it is the largest out of their three locations. Joe didn’t want to feel as if he was surrounded by people, so we practiced in a corner in the back where we still had plenty of space to move. Before class began, I explained a few poses to him and told him to rest if tired and not worry if he couldn’t bend a certain way. I also reminded him to look at me or the other students if he wasn’t sure what to do, or listen to the instructor for modifications to make the asanas easier. This is my advice to pretty much anyone attending a yoga class for the first time; don’t beat yourself up—at least you’re trying! The only thing I really regret is that I probably should have brought him to a beginner level class, just so he could get more of a breakdown of the flow sequence and other typical poses.
The class was pretty standard as far as breathe’s open level classes go. We didn’t do anything too outrageous, just stuck to sun salutations, standing series, balances, and sitting poses for hips and abs. Joe kept up with it well, and even if he had to rest for a moment or just stay in downward facing dog, he remained present throughout the class. I giggled a bit when he looked over at me before Savasana with a confused look on his face and asked “What are we doing?” I quietly explained that all he had to do now was lay back, and he sighed with relief. This part seemed to work for him, but when I asked him what he thought at the end of the class, he summed it up in one word: “Torture.” I’m, of course, inclined to disagree with him, but I can see why he’d say that. The class provides an intense full-body workout, and for someone used to lifting weights and running, working all the muscles in your body is a new, and potentially uncomfortable, experience.
Joe’s visit to breathe reminded me of my first time there when I took an evening beginner class last January. I knew it would be a hot class, but I had no idea how that would feel in a packed room (pretty bad, actually). I also knew some basic poses but didn’t really know what combining them into a series would feel like; it was a lot more movement than I anticipated. Like Joe, I was also nervous about being in the center of the room where I thought everyone would see me mess up, but since space was limited in my class I ended up close to the front of the room anyway. As I attend more classes, I notice that I hardly pay any attention to the other people in the room any more. The nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach before the beginning of each class gradually faded; I don’t feel the need to impress others or compete with the person next to me. With apologies to some yogis, it’s not a competition (or at least your classes shouldn’t be!). Joe mentioned that he fell out of a pose and felt like the whole room was looking at him, but I assured him that they would be ridiculous to judge him for it; everyone falls out of a pose at some point. The important thing is trying it and not being afraid to fall.
Will Joe ever come back to yoga with me? I’m unsure. At the moment, I think it’s the furthest thing from his mind. Yet I think that it shows that it’s always worth a shot to experience it once before dismissing it entirely. I’m proud of him for coming with me and putting forth the effort to keep up with the class. He knew it wasn’t going to be a piece of cake, but he still did it. His open-mindedness gives me the courage to take more risks, whether I suspect a good outcome or not.
As an added bonus, check out some of these pictures of the studio in the beautiful Hutchison House!
Keep checking back to The Novice Yogi! I have some exciting news coming up!