Namaste: A Firsthand Account of Beginning Yoga

SAMANTHA BODDUPALLI

Yoga Illustration
Art by Ziqi Wang

“Namaste, my name is Rainbow and I’ll be your yoga instructor this morning. I would like to welcome you to the beginning of an unforgettable spiritual journey. I want everyone to close their eyes, and empty your minds let the world fall away…”

If you’ve never been to a yoga class, this is probably what you would expect to hear if you decided to try one out. In fact, it is exactly what I was expecting when I attended my first yoga class, and for the most part, my expectations were pretty accurate, minus a few exaggerations. I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy to attend this class. I am actually one of the few people who finds attending any kind of fitness class in the presence of other people to be the most humiliating experience of my young life. In other words, I would rather stick my hand in a pot of boiling water than give myself such a grand opportunity to make a fool of myself. However, I was trying my best to keep an open mind. It’s not that I was opposed to doing the yoga itself. Rather, I dreaded the thought of other people witnessing my poor attempt:It was enough to have me running for the hills.

Nonetheless, I found myself reluctantly trudging into a yoga classroom at six o’clock in the morning asking myself why in the world I agreed to do this. Mind you, this class was actually more of a beginner’s class, so it wasn’t supposed to be all that difficult. This might be a good time to mention: In addition to my painfully awkward nature, I have the flexibility of a steel pole. As we all sat down, the instructor started by asking us all to do some deep breathing. I remember thinking, “Okay, no big deal, I breathe all the time maybe I can do this.”

As the class progressed, we went into a number of different poses, including downward facing dog and warrior poses, all of which I managed to survive, but barely. At some point during the class, while the instructor was relaying a particularly … interesting series of instructions for a pose, instructions I was struggling to execute at the time, I distinctly heard a guy in the back of the room mutter “…what?!” under his breath out of utter frustration. It was clear that he was not exactly having a marvelous time at his first yoga class either. Although I repressed my laughter, I couldn’t help but smile; at least I wasn’t the only one slowly dying on the inside.

Much to my surprise, I actually started to get into it during the last half of the class. I started to relax and think less about how ridiculous I probably looked. Time passed quickly, and toward the end, the instructor had us choose a comfortable pose and just sit in silence with our eyes closed for a while. At first my mind was racing, thinking of all of the things that I could have been doing with my life instead of being there, but after a while, my mind began to drift. I know this sounds cheesy, but the world began to fall away, and I lost all sense of time. It was like a scene from a bad movie. Eventually, my awareness returned, and I couldn’t help but wonder how long we had been sitting there like that. All in all, I would say although it started off shaky, my first yoga class was a success.

I’ll admit: yoga isn’t exactly my thing. I’m far too impatient and uncoordinated to have the desire to wake up at an ungodly hour every week to partake in it. Nonetheless, I had fun, and it was surprisingly very relaxing. I’m not writing it off just yet. There are definitely more yoga classes in my future. I can see why people are always raving about how fun it is, and how good it makes you feel afterward. If you are anything like me, or better yet, if you’re not like me at all, I definitely recommend attending a yoga class. Maybe it’ll be a life-changing experience, and you’ll love it. Even if you don’t, you’ll at least have some fun. To end this article with an overused but beloved cliché, which has landed me into many situations similar to this one, “Don’t knock it till you try it.”

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