I went back to prenatal yoga at Destination Maternity this week as planned (if you are pregnant and live near this chain retail store, I recommend checking them out for their free classes). Unfortunately, this time around, the class contained more of my fears than the first one.
When I went last week, it was a small class and we had a substitute instructor (one of the weekend instructors filled in). This week, the class had almost doubled in size, but was all different people, and the regular instructor was back (she was totally nice, but was different). Also, I got stuck next to a woman who was 8 months pregnant and crazy flexible. It’s so hard not to compare oneself to those around us, isn’t it?
I’m not flexible… at all! I was never flexible and on top of that, I’ve had back surgery – making my back extra tight. In fact, at one point, the instructor came over to pull on my hips because my back didn’t look right. So then I awkwardly had to mention that I’ve had back surgery. So then she immediately stopped touching me (as though I was on fire) so as not to injure me. Ugh… I’m a train wreck. I totally could have benefitted from her help, but I always want to warn people not to have high expectations because fused vertebrae don’t function the way you want them to. I wish I could have really talked to her, but it was just a big ball of awkward with lots of witnesses…
There was really only one downside to having a different instructor: the poses and sequences were different. It made everything feel new again and made me feel more insecure.
Something that I loved about being a beginning runner was that I could do it on my own. I would run along a trail with only a few other people around. I didn’t run on the street or at a gym (although I had tried both in the past), which felt in the open where other people could see me. I loved that I could change my pace as needed without any assumed judgement from others. (Let’s be real, no one actually cares, but it feels like they do when you’re red-faced and just starting out). I loved that I could repeat my trail over and over again, day after day to “get it right”. I was competing against myself until I got good at it. Every day, I would try to run at least 10 feet more than where I stopped to walk the time before (or to the next lamp-post or to the end of the next song). And when I ran that trail from start to finish without a break, I felt amazing and so proud of how far I had come in my own growth!
But with yoga, I don’t feel like I’m mastering things, everything still feels new and awkward and constantly changing. And I know it will get better. I know that when I’m über round at 8 1/2 months pregnant and actually know some of the poses, I will feel as though I’ve improved. It’s just so hard to get there.
And all of this makes me think about the “January Joiners” at the gym (you know, those people who make a New Year’s resolution to get fit and suddenly join the gym). If you are one of those people: good luck! You can totally do it! Just give yourself a chance (and ignore everyone around you).
If you’re a regular at the gym and are feeling a little irritated by all the new people at your gym: take a minute and think about how it felt when you first joined, or if you didn’t struggle, imagine how hard it might be for them. Please, try to make them feel welcome. More fit and happy people can only be a positive thing for our communities (the exercise community as well as your local community).
Being new at the gym can be so intimidating as you’re pushing your own physical limitations as well as feeling uncomfortable in the new environment. Let’s all try to feel welcoming.
I know that when I attended this second class and it was ALL new faces, I was intimidated all over again. It’s so easy to think that everyone around you thinks you’re an idiot if you’re a novice, let’s try to keep that in mind. If you’re not a novice: be welcoming and smile at the new people. If you are a novice: smile a lot at strangers and try to remember that no one is judging you as harshly as you’re judging you.
Or at least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself… (we’ll see how it all goes after I try a weekend class this weekend).