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« Discovering Blockages | Blog HomePage | A Lesson in Detachment »

The Downward Trend Continues

makeover_leah.jpg
I wish I could say that this week was better than last. But again, no Jason. And again, no class. And again, the same thirty minutes of poses that I've been doing for months. And I'm caught in a quagmire because the classes scare me so I don't go, but then I don't learn anything new so my home practice bores me. It's a ridiculous cycle, made all the more ridiculous by the fact that I understand it so well yet don't do anything to change it.

So I did yoga. Three times. And each time, immediately following the practice, I felt good. But despite that, the next time I thought about doing yoga I dreaded it. Wished I didn't have to. Felt like it was an imposition. All of those emotions cloud the practice and make it not what it could be. Which isn't to say it's bad. It's not. But it's blah, and that's not enough to keep me committed past the six months that I've already committed to. People keep asking me how it's going and I smile and say fine when underneath I really want to say it's going horribly (an overstatement, but still.) I want it to be over, and I wonder why I ever thought that this would be a good idea.

Comments

Why are you missing your sessions with Jason? If it is because of work, is there anything you can do to restructure your schedule to make it easier? I know being a young attorney comes with a lot of time constraints, but it sounds like those sessions are essential to your enjoyment and progression.

I feel like yoga is finally a type of exercise I really look forward to, but if it ends up being a chore it's no better than any other exercise. I hope you find the motivation to continue and the time to spend with Jason again soon.

Please don't give up the ship. I was inspired to start Yoga after reading the makeover article in Yoga Journal. As a 50+ year old male, going into a yoga class for the first time was an eye opening experience. I can empathize with your "fear" of open clase, but I usually don't worry too much about it. I just take my spot in the back of the class and try to keep up as best I can, after all it's my personal workout within the confines of my mat that are important. So what, if I can't reach the floor on a triangle pose, have to use a block underneath me in hero's, and my legs are a 45 degree when trying seating in a squat. The classes are an inspiration Each time I feel a little more flexible and an ache in a new spot, I chalk it up to progress.

Hi Leah - please don't give up - could I suggest you look for a Kripalu teacher/studio in your area? I believe you will find classes that are accepting and supportive, gentle and heart-centered, and that will support you in your practice. My yoga of the past two years has progressed from once-a-week classes in a cold room at the Y to an experience that has become an integral part of my life that brings richness and self-acceptance. I hope it can become that for you....

when you get those thoughts, just let them be what they are - incorrect, negative thoughts, but still go to class and enjoy it.

i was going through something similar till i realized why i don't i try a different type of class. so i went into a restorative yoga class and it totally shifted my body focused way of approaching yoga. results are good and i think te most important way to do that is to keep going. also classes will keep you focused more so than home practice, i find. wish me luck!

Leah, I feel your pain! Thats the way I feel as well! I need to change up my routine! I always dread it, until I do it! I find every excuse to stall and maybe even quit! All I can say is we need to keep going! I know in my heart this is true!

don't be afraid to go for classes. Just because you are unable to get into the poses doesn't mean anything. Breathing is more important than getting into the pose. Someone getting into the pose but not breathing properly is worse off than you breathing properly but unable to get into the pose fully.

Leah,
hang in there; I feel the same way when i go to my classes. I feel frustated when facing a challenging position, and even more frustated because my mind wonders and I cant focus. But I always come back, and I have started making changes in my life that i feel were important to make.

It's very difficult when you get into that place. Only you can find the motivation to keep going. Keep looking out for it.

I used to Google motivational quotes, because words have always been most moving to me.

Think about what moves you and seek it out. It'll help.
Good luck!!

An appropriate quote:

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

signed- Kristy Meyer, Down 35 lbs after 3 years of yoga. Am now relearning several poses.

Hi,
Please don't give up hope. We all go through the blah's and the plateu's it does end.

It took me 6 studios before finding one I liked. Once I had to leave in the middle of a class because the teacher was so aggressive.

I always say to my self "find the ease". It will come.
Lindsay

Home practice is hard, but for some of the same reasons that it is so great. One reason is that you are really spending time alone with yourself in the present moment in a way that we usually try to avoid. If this is the reason you dread home practice, see if recognising and acknowledging this fact helps. Think how important it is to establish a relationship with yourself as somebody you want to spend intense, meaningful time alone with.

It sounds like when you do home practice, you are getting something important right, since you feel better afterwards. Focus on this positive! Remember this feeling that you have straight after practising, and see if you can use it to help motivate you the next time. Hopefully the feeling will grow! Meantime, keep up the good work of summoning up the discipline and rolling out the mat, and you may find that your problems dissolve away with time.

Leah.. as a teacher with a few year's experience, I can empathize with your plight. There are times when I feel like going to the studio is the very last thing that I want to do, but once I get there and begin the class, I wonder how I ever survived without yoga! I think the problem may be that you are looking at yoga more from the physical benefits than the mind and spirit benefits. Once you can get your mind in the right place, the rest follows.
I agree with some of the others, however, that you may be better suited to a different style of yoga. It may even be that you are put off by your teacher being a male.. I hear that often from my students. Again, I understand that because I myself prefer working with female teachers. So, the moral of the story is don't give up on yoga completely because you hate your current class.. expand your horizons and try other styles. Whatever you end up doing, best of luck!

Dear Leah, Please keep on trying! Sometimes resistance occurs because you either expect results too quickly or because you are holding onto old patterns and are afraid of change--this can be true of any kind of learning. While completing your current class, you might also look for a class that is less aggressive: a combo of restorative yoga and breathing. I haven't lost weight through yoga, but have developed more muscle and stamina and I look thinner.

I can totally relate to your plight. There is always something inside me that holds me back from going to class or doing physical activity. I found that I would also loose a sense of my progress, so I started keeping a calendar of when I actually went to class (which made me feel better about my achievements) and I've chosen the same classes every week to attend, to get me into a rhythm.

Yoga is about working with yourself and also accepting where you are at right now. Don't judge yourself too much, do the best you can that day and keep on from there!

hello Leah - i don't quite know what to say here ... i mean, i have vacillated myself with yoga and running ... i guess i'll just say that, from what i've read, you are a beautiful person and express yourself as such and you'll find what you need ...

(p.s., i love debate too)

Leah, this is Edith. As an athlete I've been thru this exact same painful psychology that you're talking about. There were so many times when I dreaded my workout/training regiment because it seemed like a repetitive chore. Perhaps just as you feel pressured to lose weight, I gave myself pressure to win races... at the expense of happiness and enjoyment? how silly it is, this self-imposed limitation on our own happiness! After reading a book called "Mastery" by George Leonard, i had a major shift in thinking. It's an approach that helped me enjoy my sports anew and fall in love with the yoga practice. In "Mastery", it talks about the fact that plateaus are a normal and necessary part of the learning process. To become good at anything, to be a true master, the irony is that we need to become detached from the results. Instead we must find things that we can love about the routine, the practice. This is what he calls the path of the Master, to remain patient, to love the process, and not expect quick results or gratification. I highly recommend this book. Hope it helps you as much as it has helped me! much love, Edith

Leah: After glancing at some of the other comments, I advise you too to find different studios/different teachers. Just like there are so many different types of attorneys in the world, there are also so many styles of yoga and so many different personalities of people who teach yoga so it's just a matter of sifting through them and finding some place/someone with whom you will gel.

I must say though that while I think yoga should absolutely be part of a workout regimen, I haven't found yoga alone to give me the weight loss results that I was hoping to achieve.

Peace, Susan

It's easy to get bored of ANYTHING if you do it repeatedly in the same way for an extended time. The secret is to adjust your point of view.
Even if you are doing the same yoga video for the thousandth time, focus on a different aspect of the practice each time. For example, you could dedicate your practice to someone that day. The next day, try focusing on your legs or arms and how they feel during the poses.
Once you've got the video memorized from doing it so many times, you could switch around the order of the poses or modify them.
Of course, the best thing is to go to class once in a while. :)

Leah, I have two words for you: Baron Baptiste. Buy his books, buy his DVDs...the man is a godsend. You will look forward to spending an hour with him via your television day after day...promise.

I am a Kripalu trained instructor and believe it or not I do understand the difficulty of getting to class, and the feeling of being scared to walk into a class. There are only so many instructors in my area, so walking into a class I am not teaching; having everyone know I am an instructor can be terrifying.
The only advice I can offer is what I tell all of my new students. When you feel silly, stupid, uncomfortable, thinking that others are looking at you and all of the other things that pass through your mind when you are in a posture. Rest assured that most if not all of the other people in the class and looking at themselves and thinking exactly the same thing. And really the only person concerned with how you look in the posture is the instructor and he or she is only noticing things they can say to make your practice deeper and safer for you. Everyone, even instructors have limitations and challenges, and something you can do, might be something really hard for the person next to you, whether it shows or not. I am sure you have been told all this before, but it really is the truth on any level.
Good luck with your journey.

Your letter sounds like GOOD news to me! From all the emotional words you used (vs. physical words), it sounds like you are at the turning point where you are really doing YOGA, and not just "exercise." This turning point does feel wierd, and can last a while. Doing real yoga feels different - it's not all adrenaline rushes and endorphine highs and super-sensations like I was used to and thus thought I wanted and needed. Yoga is mad or sad or blah too - it is whatever you feel inside and it sounds like you are really connecting with your stuff! Yay! When I first started "yoga," I pushed myself into all the difficult poses and extreme stretches. Jason Crandell taught me to slow way down and back way off my edge. As a result of Jason’s patient method, I now have the "courage" to take child’s pose in the middle of class, the "wisdom" to use two blocks during triangle pose, and the "strength" to lie still during shavasana. I read that one of your goals is to lose weight. In my new slowed-down practice I've actually gained weight, yet I've never, ever felt better about my body image. Your body image might improve such that you want to change your goals – maybe that is part of what you’re feeling. So hon, you stick with Jason and your practice will bear real fruit - the right stuff for you.

Leah, I have found that it is essential for me to find the teacher that posseses a calm serenity, a studio that is inviting and warm and a yoga class that is more about breathing and holding a pose than aerobics. I hope that you can find what you need to continue with the yoga as I among so many others believe that yoga is the best form of exercise for body, mind and soul. If you find a great yoga class everyone will be focused on their own practice and it will help you focus on yours.

Peace & Inspiration be yours.

It sounds like the main issue is fear of the classes, not a dislike of yoga itself.

Perhaps you can talk to Jason about what exactly is at the root of your fear about the classes and that will release you to enjoy the classes, and the yoga?

Right after I gave birth to my (now 6 y/o) son (my third child), I started doing a little half hour yoga show (Yoga Zone) that came on one of the cable channels at just the perfect time of day. I dropped my (70 lbs) pregnancy weight like it was nothing. Then my son turned 9 months old. He was no longer interested in being strapped into the car seat to watch mommy do yoga, no matter how many toys I provided. And he was not interested in doing yoga for more than a minute himself-either. And believe me-there was no doing yoga unless he's occupied because he sure didn't sleep! He was a very active child. He hasn't stopped moving in (more than) 6 years. My girls were nothing like this.

So I stopped doing yoga regularly because of my "full time job". I've gathered 10's of yoga dvd's which I do occasionally, but not on any kind of schedule.

I have since "used" a specific healing yoga DVD by Lisa and Charles Matkin, which I attribute to saving my life (mentally) and my sciatica. I put myself on a strict regimem (30 minute video-every other day). I get emotional just thinking about the immense pain I WAS in vs. how great I feel now. I had no insurance-I was not seeing a doctor-I am sure the yoga is what fixed it!

After I got better, I tried making a schedule and doing a different video (for variety) on certain days of the week every week (since he started school), but I would find myself going out of my way to get out of it.

Again, it seems like as soon as my "crisis" was over (pregnancy weight, spinal issues) I started dreading it again.

I KNOW FOR A FACT that I feel better EVERY SINGLE TIME I do yoga!

My advice to you (and myself, too probably) simply treat it as a tool -like a car-that you'll use for a little while and then put it down. You'll use it as needed when you are interested, but won't feel like you are tied down or committed to it, just like you wouldn't marry your car.

But, like all tools, it has to be used correctly. You have to give it the attention it deserves or you can't expect it to work properly. You can purchase the most expensive vitamins on the market, but if you don't take one-EVERYDAY- they won't do much for you. The effects won't be as noticable, anyway.

Give 100%-make every class, look for new ways to do yoga (like at your desk), look at magazines and videos in the store-Really give it your all for the 6 months. Then put it down and don't worry about it ever again. But you can't expect it to work if you don't give it your full attention. I promise you, it will not hurt, and may just TOTALLY ROCK!
NAMASTE!

Hi Leah,

I am a convert to yoga myself. Not so new to it now, but when I first started it would be weeks between classes, I'd miss so much, and I would avoid it at home too. But it got better, and it'll get better for you, too.

Breathe into whatever is going on with your emotions (sometimes yoga does bring up other issues and tears because the body remembers and holds what you've gone through until you're ready to release it.) Always breathe through what you need to, without judgement. That means without judging where your body is at, what poses you struggle with, the others in the class, etc.

Without judgement go to class...do what you need to do, including facing fear, and breathe. Hold back on a little more and breathe into the posture, trust your body, and keep breathing. You can do it.

Don't give up. Was law school easy for you? If it was, then think of all the other people for whom it was not--and they didn't quit.

I started yoga at 4 months ago, right before my 36th birthday. I didn't want to be out of shape in my 50s & decided that I needed to make a life change.

Now, I'm going 1-2x/wk to ashtanga, sweating like crazy, and thanking my lucky stars that I decided to do this. My body is changing in a positive way.

In my ashtanga class are people who don't look "strong" but are extremely capable. I don't compete with them; I relish the idea of being 55 and still in the class like they are.

As "aggressive" as ashtanga is, I have not ever encountered any negative sentiments by anybody towards people who are not doing all the poses 100% correctly. Everybody in that class wants you to succeed--more than you think.

Leah,

Perhaps the physical aspect of yoga isn't for you. Or perhaps just not right now. I've done yoga for over 10 years, but I don't always do what many consider 'yoga'. As others mentioned, there are other aspects of yoga that might be more for you. Or none of it might be. Only you can decide.

The magic of yoga is that it gives you an opportunity to be present in the moment, with full awareness of your body, the physical, the emotional, the mental parts of you.

Going through the motions while letting the mind run with all the usual chatter is very close to useless.

I've been going through yoga teacher training for 1.5 years and still find myself avoiding home practice. My ego still manages to talk me out of it, even though I always feel better after the practice.

Classes work better for me. Once I'm there I know I'm stuck for 1.5 hours and might as well make the best of it.

I lost 35 lbs. in 3-4 months early in my yoga practice (going from 185 to 150 lbs.)

It wasn't the exercise, but the increased awareness, that did it.
I dropped 2-3 lbs. every weekend, just by eating better food, whenever I got hungry (as opposed to whenever I had cravings or got bored.)

That was two years ago, and my weight has only gone up by the 8 lbs. I immediately put back on after realizing that I had gone too far (and looked too skinny for my taste.)

So, if you can see yoga as a tool to get to know yourself, it'll do wonders for you.
You might be able to get that just with a little change of mind, by bringing just a little more awareness to the practice.

Forget the other students, forget the personality of the teacher, it's about you, and only you.

The ego isn't going to stop bossing you around until you tell it to get lost.
Good luck, and enjoy the trip!

Werner

Hey Girl -
Trust me we have all been there. I am a size 22 and understand how intimidating it can be sitting in a class with tiny women. I have learned though I don't feel my size, anymore than I feel my age (37). If I just close my eyes are go thru the poses I don't feel embarassed, or afraid. I had a great teacher who taught us the greatest gift we had in yoga was the ability to play like a child. Fall out of tree pose after swaying like a fool to hold it. And just smile and try again.

I have been doing yoga for almost 20 years now and some years I have been more religious than others, but I will tell you I stand taller, feel better, and am in a better place emotionally when I go.

My advice stick it out, find a great teacher and have fun.

Hi Leah :)
I have been doing Yoga since September, 2ce a week in a class. I HATED going at first, I felt awkward, out of place, inferior. However I pushed myself (something new for me) and kept going. Everyone was open and friendly, the teacher excellent in the way she can give an adjustment without making me feel stupid. I hope that things get going with Jason again, AND importantly, that you find a class that is the right fit for you. I hope you don't give up, if this is what is right for you. I can't believe how good yoga makes me feel ... even on the days when I don't want to drag myself there! Everyone has those days ... I hope your yoga blues are over soon - Good luck!

Leah,
I know everybody offers advice and sometimes you don't know who's to take. I try and talk to everybody and then "feel" which one is right for me. I'll usually know which one i want to do b/c i end up talking to the people who are telling me what i want to hear lol. Regardless of that I think it's important for you to find out why you don't want to go to class. In my personal opinion? (which I could be TOTALLY wrong but i MIGHT be on to something ::shrugs::) I think you might be intimidated by class b/c of the people who are "better than you" and by your body image. If this is the case I'd like to say I went through the same thing. Over the past 5 years i've lost 55 or more lbs. It hasn't been easy and i've back slid a couple times but even if you make one good change a month and stick with it those little changes in your life really add up. So plese, please, please try and remember that you are beautiful at ANY weight, but for your health it might be better to develop this exercise routine. One of the things I do if i start to feel nervous in class is to think of something funny, sometimes i even imagine people in chicken costumes lol! It works :) and then when i'm smiling like a loon i'll strike up a conversation with somebody and develop a friendship in class so i don't feel so alone and isolated. Also yoga is a WONDERFUL thing to have in your life if you let it but if you are stopping yourself from going to class (which i really feel would keep you interested and motivated) I think you owe it to yourself to find out why and work on those issues. If you don't think you're good enough maybe you need to develop a mantra. Something like " I am on a journey of fitness and each day i'm getting better" (feel free to personalize your own :) and then let this run through your head when negative thoughts creep in. You can also do this when you're talking down to yourself about your body (it's really helped me). Just remember, you CAN do this just remember you only truly fail when you give up, and it's not giving up to switch your focus or try new things! Hope this helped :) Namaste

Hi Leah!

I have the same issue with my home practice. I just don't want to do it. At times I just don't want to go to a class either. When I do manage to make it to class or do my home practice I do feel better. But I know the psychological strain you are going through. One way I often get myself to go to class or do yoga at home is by saying to myself, "Ok, stop thinking & just do it!" Once I say that to myself I stop all the jibber jabber about how & why I don't want to do it, & I just do it. Then I feel better - physically & emotionally. So, give it a try the next time you don't want to do it - just say to yourself, "Ok, stop thinking & just do it!." Another thing to remember is that in classes, no one is looking to see if you can do a pose or how well you do a pose. Everyone is doing the best they can that day. It doesn't matter how good you can do a pose, just have fun and enjoy the experience.

Peace out!

Tracey

Leah,
I know the feeling of dragging your self to your mat to do your practice & of being scared of classes. For 3 years I did yoga on my own, in my house to the TV. I made myself do the yoga because it was my only excercise & I always felt better afterward. Finally, I moved & found some classes where I felt comfortable & now, years later, I am teaching yoga.
It makes me sad to think you attend a class & afterward feel frustrated. Have you spoken to the teacher? Is she/he moving too fast? Don't forget, you are not a complete beginner, since you do have a home practice. Can you find another slower class? Can the teacher help you after class with what is frustrating you?
The best thing about yoga is that we are ALL students, there are no perfect poses, each of us, individually, has something we are working on. Try not to judge yourself so harshly. This too, less judgement, is part of your practice! Listen to YOUR Body, let it guide you through your practice. Buy/Rent some DVD's or books, try all sorts of different yoga at home. Changing it up can help you come back to your mat again with out dread!

Leah,
I know the feeling of dragging your self to your mat to do your practice & of being scared of classes. For 3 years I did yoga on my own, in my house to the TV. I made myself do the yoga because it was my only excercise & I always felt better afterward. Finally, I moved & found some classes where I felt comfortable & now, years later, I am teaching yoga.
It makes me sad to think you attend a class & afterward feel frustrated. Have you spoken to the teacher? Is she/he moving too fast? Don't forget, you are not a complete beginner, since you do have a home practice. Can you find another slower class? Can the teacher help you after class with what is frustrating you?
The best thing about yoga is that we are ALL students, there are no perfect poses, each of us, individually, has something we are working on. Try not to judge yourself so harshly. This too, less judgement, is part of your practice! Listen to YOUR Body, let it guide you through your practice. Buy/Rent some DVD's or books, try all sorts of different yoga at home. Changing it up can help you come back to your mat again with out dread!

Leah:
What an outpouring of support. You probably won't even have time to read all these. I feel like we are all motivated by love to extend our experiences to you.
I have been doing yoga for 30 years. I have experienced all your feelings at one time or another. Here's what I recommend. Find the quietest class, a restorative or mellow basics. Use the time to develop a relationship with yourself by paying attention to your breath for the whole time. Make this your practise. You will find that this experience will draw you back to class again and again. You will begin to associate going to class with this beautiful state of being with yourself and peacefulnness. Once you have this experience you will be committed. There will be no struggle to go to class. Enjoy your breath and a new relationship with yourself. You never have to go to a more physical class. Yoga is not about losing weight but your heightened awareness of yourself will have that effect. You will love yourself and only want to do good things for yourself. So, my best advise is to find a class that facilitates your journey into yourself through the awareness of your breath. I hope you try this. You will look forward to each class.

Leah, please don't give up. Try another class, another instructor. Part of yoga is learning to accept where you are each day. The breath is the focus.

The class I went to last night, the instructor said we are all students on the mat. The newcomers just reach their challenge point sooner, so the more experienced student has to try harder to get to the same point.

HUGS!!! Keep trying, it is SO worth the effort!!!!

Leah,

I can understand entirely where you are in your practice. When I started my yoga path, I was about 90 pounds overweight and suffering from an autoimmune disease of the joints that frequently made everyday life activities very painful.

With the encouragement of a wonderful teacher, I learned some things that kept - and still keeps - me motivated. First, you need to approach your practice with the principle of ahimsa in mind. In your home practice, in your classes, and in your life, you must treat yourself and others with loving, gentle kindness. Take your body and your mind to the level that challenges you, but does no harm. Some days you will be stronger in your asanas than others. That's okay...and to be expected.

Also, start each class by reminding yourself that yoga is not a competitive sport. It is a personal path. There were times in my early classes when my joints would rebel and not permit me to come anyplace close to proper alignment. A turning point came for me when, in the middle of a class, the enormity that I might have to live with limited motion the rest of my life hit me like a huge boulder and I started crying -- right there in class! How embarassing!! That is, until that wonderful teacher managed to turn my embarassment into praise by using my experience to enlighten others in my class to the knowledge that ahimsa in asana practice means that we must not only be gentle and loving with our physical selves, but also with our spiritual selves.

I also learned that the more I focused on my breath and on how my body felt in every pose, the stronger I became in my practice and the better able I was to concentrate on what I was doing instead of worrying about other students and what they might think of my fat, rigid body looking ridiculous in poses.

It has taken several years, but I have lost about 60 of those excess 90 pounds and there has been no symptoms of my joint ailment for over 3 years now. At 55, I'm more flexible and strong than I was at 35!

To show you how wrong our self-images can be, all that time I spent worrying about being the worst student in the class turned out to be a waste. I discovered that when a set of cute, young and thin twins joined our class and sought me out as a mentor. In their words, "We can tell by looking at you that you're a yoga person. You always look so serene when class is over. Everybody in class envies your focus." I was totally shocked! MY image was that I was a big, fat, ugly cow who couldn't keep up with the others, and that evidently wasn't what I was projecting to others. Now, I feel a lot more like their role model than like that negative concept I had formed for myself.

I encourage you to close your eyes, turn off the "chitty-gritty" noise of the everyday world, focus on being kind and gentle with yourself and others and enjoy your practice. Instead of seeing it as something else to pack into a busy schedule, try looking at your home practice and your classes as time you reserve for yourself. Then...spend it on yourself, not on comparing your poses and your progress to your class mates. Truth be known, they are probably all too busy focusing on their own practice to even notice what you are doing.

Hang in there and do it for YOU!!!

Janet

Leah,
You're quitting after 3 times? Isn't that awfully soon? You have to give yoga a chance as it takes time. Give it a chance. I'm 53 in a large class with 20-30 year olds and I'm in the front and do better than many because I show up every week consistantly. Some days are tuff but you have to persist. You'll get there.

The Downward Trend Continues

Positive(1) Negatives(9)
*Doing the yoga achieved the one positive.
*Practicing for drama class go the other 9 negatives.


Caught in a quagmire. 1N

My home practice bores me. 2N

It's a ridiculous cycle. 3N

Made all the more ridiculous. 4N

I felt good. 1P

The next time I dreaded it. 5N

An imposition. 6N

But it's blah. 7N

I really want to say it's going horribly. 8N

I wonder why I ever thought that this would be a good idea. 9N

Dear Leah,
I think you are making excellent progress because you are developing self-awareness! Watching how your mind is wavering between craving (wanting the practice to be more meaningful) and avoiding (dreading the practice) are common mental obstacles. As you are seeing this going on in your head, remind yourself that you are not your mind, you are observing yourself. This is the goal of yoga, not fitness! Self awareness first, and fitness comes as a bonus=-)

love,
Nancy

Right now I'm sitting here at the computer dreading my trip to the gym in 2 hours. I always do this. The trick is to don the workout clothes, because if you put on the clothes you'll probably go. I also know that once I get there I'm ridiculously proud of myself. Now, mind you, I'm in a Muslim country (Qatar)and share a private gym with men who gape and stare at me like I dropped from Mars. That's a challenge or I've never met one. I still pull on my sneakers and go, six days a week. The action is never as bad as the dread.

Last year, in Yoga Journal magazine, I read the most uplifting, lifechanging comment ever. Paraphrasing, it went something like this: The courage you bring to your practice is directly proportional to what you get out of it. I changed the word 'practice' to 'life' and the above has become my mantra whenever I lack the will to enter challenging situations. I hope it works for you, too.

Namaste.

Paula

leah;
I felt the same way, and being a heavier person I know in a room full of skinny people you feel awkward and uncomfortable.
I also know that the more you do yoga the more emotion it releases, and I think the yoga is starting to release some of your emotions and bringing your inner feelings to the surface.
Leave your mat out, so it is easy to just step to, try just one pose, it will feel like another, and so on, even if you do just one pose you have accomplished something it does not have to be a 1/2 hour it can be 2 minutes but there will still be benifit. You will feel stronger and more centered all day.
find a video and use that, just watch it it will inspire you a little each time. Not to worry we all go through this, just think one pose at a time.
Each pose will release something inside, all those emotions is your body letting go, find joy in that.
-Jane

Try to find a video (VHS or DVD) of a beginner's yoga - and use it for your home practice (many have ways to do a 20 - 30 minute practice to start and then add more as you become more at ease in the poses)so that you can keep learning new poses and break the cycle of boredom. Just a note, I only have a home practice - rarely go to a public class - but I do a 1 hour practice usually INHALE with Steve Ross on Oxygen TV but sometimes videos) 5 days a week. Some days I feel like an "experienced" student (always learning) and some days I feel more like a brand new beginner - this after 2 years of faithful practice! I admit that I now "know" the poses in my body-mind but some days the movements are easier than others... just like everything else in life!
Don't give up! Namaste.

I just cannot describe how amazing it is to read all of these kind and encouraging words. The positive energy is literally radiating off the page, and for that I thank you all!

Leah, I used to feel sort of like you said you do about yoga. Then last year I slipped on the way to yoga class and fractured my wrist badly. For many months after, yoga was out of the question; it was all about surgery and then a cast and then physical therapy. A funny thing happened when I finally was pronounced healed enough to go back to yoga: All of a sudden it seemed like a privilege to be able to do it, rather than a chore. Please do hang in there; yoga is a lot more enjoyable than physical therapy!

Resistance comes usually right before a breakthrough. Take yourself to the mat, and have fun. Don't follow a formula if you don't feel like it today. Just go to the mat. Stay in child's pose for ten minutes if that's what you need. Sit with the resistance, listen to your breath, listen to your body. It will speak to you! Give it a chance.

Hi Leah,
My first yoga teacher was an amazing lady, 70 years old lady who was oh so strick! She always told us that the hardest thing with home practice was getting on the mat! I couldn't agree more with her and after 7 years of doing yoga I still agree with her! I've since moved from where she is and I haven't yet found a yoga teacher that motivated or pushed me as much as she did. Finding the right yoga class and teacher is extremely hard! But you have to keep searching. Yoga changed my life in more ways that I can describe and its hard to describe to people all its benefits because as alot of people here know its more than just an exercise routine. It changes how you view life in general, well it did for me. I want to encourage you to keep going and keep searching for the right yoga studio/teacher to make you love yoga as much as I do. Every teacher has their own style of teaching and yoga. You'll find the one for you if you look :)

Leah,

I was a home practitioner for about a year before I ventured to a class.
The first class I went to was pretty good, and in a very convenient location, but after only a few weeks didn't fit into my schedule any more.
The second class I went to was ok, but didn't set me on fire.
The THIRD class I went to was DREADFUL, the instructor was obnoxius, and it way above the Level One it advertized. I spent at least 20 minutes of that class in tears, screwed up my neck trying to do an inversion I wasn't strong enough to do yet, and wound up staying away from classes for over a year and also sapped my home practice.
The FOURTH class I went to was a wonderful restorative/gentle class on Saturday mornings that got me back on track.
The FIFTH class was a 6-week early morning BASIC BEGINNERS class. I figured, even though I was a little more advanced than that chronologically, that series would renew my committment and really help me get the alignment correct ... rather than overextending myself to try and mimic what I saw on the DVDs. Also, the smaller class size gave me an opportunity to ask questions about modifications to work around my not-inconsiderable fat-deposits (at 243, I am NOT a lithe little yogabody) and injured foot. I learned to work at MY pace and protect myself.

Now, throughout this process, and also when I take on more advanced classes, or work harder in one of my usual classes, all sorts of negative noise pops up in my head. Sometimes I leave the class upset or out of sorts. What I've learned is that this is part of the process of Yoga, and as you release those muscles sometimes the stuff that put the tightness there will bubble back up. It's ok, just part of the process of releasing those negative emotions too.

It can get tough at times, but it's so worth sticking with. Before I re-injured my foot I'd been practicing several times a week for about 6 months solid and I looked and felt FABULOUS. I'm so eager to get back to that feeling, but I know I have to do it with baby steps.

Hang in there!

Sarah

Hi Leah -- Here's what worked for me, even though it may not fit with the advice of the yoga purists: after trying 'beginner' classes at yoga studios and feeling totally incompetent, I started going to the yoga classes at my gym, and it made all the difference.

First of all, there's a huge range of physical types and levels of ability in the class, and I'm just an anonymous one of many (which I actually like at this point, because I don't feel self-conscious). There really are beginners at every class -- I mean people who've never even practiced at home.

And second of all, the classes only last an hour, so it's not such a big commitment -- at first I would literally count the minutes, but now class is over before I know it.

The teachers are competent, even if (because of the size of the class) they're not giving the personal attention you would get at a yoga studio, and the classes have enabled me to build up my strength and even my aerobic capacity. Now I feel confident about going to an actual yoga studio again soon.

Three things I had to come back to tell you:

If you ever get to Oakland or the peninsula, look up a yoga teacher named Chrissy Graham. I take a beginner's anusara class from her at Avalon Art and Yoga in Palo Alto and she is wonderful.

If you are interested in a community of support like these comments are giving you over a longer term, there is a weight loss blogging community called extrapounds.com that I really enjoy being a part of.

If you are interested in mentoring or just meeting young female lawyers, I am in the bay area and would really like to meet more young women who are practicing law, especially those that have big firm experience but don't work there anymore. Your story here is inspiring, and your bio sounds like you would be a great role model or just fun to have coffee with sometime. I don't know how to give you my contact information without giving it to the world, but maybe Yoga Journal can give you my email address. Of course, I won't be offended if this seems too weird, and instead I'll hope to meet you sometime in our professional lives.

Dear Leah, I know that we want to be good at everything right away and thats only natural but please please remember (if you feel indimidated) that all these other students had to start at the beginning too - the 'top yogis' and all they have gained from yoga - started somewhere. Even those that find it easy at the start because maybe in some areas they are stronger, more flexible, thinner, or whatever they will be less good at other things in life than you are! I hope you can find a class where the level and style suit your needs. You should be taught in a multilevel class with a sensitive teacher who values all efforts and assists gently. We have great classes for all shapes and sizes, levels and interests in San Diego - and you are welcome in my class anytime!

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