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Back To Class

If there's one thing that I haven't done throughout this journey, it's go to class. I had every intention of going. I blocked out the time and bought cute yoga outfits so I wouldn't feel like a slob. I looked at schedules and figured out which classes I thought looked interesting. Then I went, and I hated it. I went again, and hated it even more. I went a third time, and thought this just isn't for me. For those of your who've been reading this blog, you know why. The Shoulderstands that I couldn't do combined with the general feeling of inadequacy just killed the feelings of calm and centeredness that I was looking for.

So, for a few months I practice yoga at home. I have a good home practice. But, the truth is, I'm never going to push myself as hard on my own as I'm going to be pushed in a class—a fact that Jason has pointed out to me on more than one occasion. So, after much prodding, I went to Jason's 12:00 Thursday class at the Bay Club. To my surprise, I liked it. I could do everything. In fact, I even felt like it might be too much of a beginner class for me. It was a revelation. The energy was good and I was able to concentrate on my own practice. There were still things that I didn't understand immediately, but in each instance it didn't take long for me to catch on.

So hopefully, at long last, I can insert the class component back into this experiment.


Going to class is the only way that I would push myself. At home, in my ashtanga practice, I skip lots of the vinyasas and do just asanas. This week, I did a vinyasa class and we didn't stop moving for 50 minutes straight! I was sweating buckets! I would never have worked that hard at home & never have gained the benefits of that class at home.

Another point, yoga classes are the least expensive form of "personal training." Take advantage of that. At $10-15 per class, yoga is cheaper than any weightlifting gym personal trainer. When I take a look at the folks in the gym walking around with personal trainers, it often appears that they are wasting their time--compared to a yoga class.


I've been practicing Yoga for many years and there are lots of asana I can not do (and probably never will),such as shouder stands - but Yoga is about doing what you can with balance and ease; and not keeping up with the rest of the class.

My teacher told me about the essense of the postire, try and figure out what the posture is trying to achieve and find a position you can do that has the same essense - suddenly everything fitted in.

I think it also shows the need to find the right teacher for you, just because others like the teacher does not mean you will.

That's awesome! This makes me think I should give the class-going another try.

Dear Leah,

I have followed your journey through the magazine and now read some of your posts here online. I am encouraged by your opinions. Thank you SO much. It is refreshing to read honest disclosure of your personal experiences of yoga, rather than superficial, fawning accolades.

I've been doing yoga - off & on - for about 12 years and I still sometimes really struggle with those same issues of coming to class, and meeting myself in my personal practice.

In January this year I travelled through North America and attended about 35 yoga classes in a dozen different styles. I had some pretty awesome yoga experiences 'on the mat'... some that were crazy, exhilarating, and some downright dangerous.

As with my more regular yoga experiences here at home in Oz, for me, the personal worth of each class largely rested on how well I was able to understand and interpret the instructor, and how open the instructor was to observing my progress and understanding me. I certainly wasn't seeking any exclusive attention, but a 'wise owl' instructor was ALWAYS preferable to a 'proud peacock'!

We don't have Kripalu here in Australia (yet) but the Kripalu classes I experienced were the kindest yoga classes I have ever participated in, lots of permission to be gentle with self but the most encouragement to be brave and really explore possibility!

Consistently, the Kripalu instructors (in a few efficient moments) met each pupil personally before class: inquired as to injury or limitations, and most importantly, honored these factors throughout.

This caring approach is not exclusive to Kripalu I suppose, but the rapport & trust from any teacher in any lineage goes a long way to encouraging us back to the classroom.

Sorry, I'm banging on a bit, but I've been really struck by your candid journal, and wanted to say 'hey!' & stick at it, and you're not alone & et al

yoga blessings from Down Under, Darrell (Melbourne, Australia)

Great job, going to class! It takes alot of disipline to get up and go to the class, but it is worth it, you are worth it. This change is so good and even though the changes come small and sometimes unnoticed, they do come! :)
Keep it up, Namaste.


It's all about finding the right class. In a while you'll be able to go to almost any class and be confident about what you can and can't do, the modifications you need, and still get tons out of it.

yay for you! so happy to hear of your progress :)

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