|photo by relaxingmusic.
I went to a yoga class! This is one of those things that I've been wanting to do forever.
I was super anxious about going (as I am with anything new or anything that I can not visualize every single detail of). I spent way too much time worrying about the tiny details such as what color mat should I get (what does it say about me to the other people in the class if I have an orange vs a blue mat), clothes (how tight of a shirt is tight enough for yoga, without being too tight for yoga), researching yoga etiquette and reading reviews and comments on every yoga place in town (and there are a lot here in Austin).
Fortunately, I have a friend who knows how crazy I am and was willing to talk me through what would happen every single second of class and was persistent enough to keep asking me to go to class with her even though I wasn't quite ready. (Who takes years to psych themselves up for a yoga class? This can't be normal.) Finally, I just went, mainly because I didn't want to have to make up an excuse not to and because I had already spent money on a mat and yoga outfit. I accepted that I didn't know what I was doing at all and that that was ok. I admitted that if I didn't do it now, I would never do it.
And I was so glad I went. I felt unselfconscious and at ease which is extremely rare for me (except for the few minutes we had to dance around the room, literally, which was pure panic for me). I went to an all-levels blend of gentle hatha with Buddist-based meditation. It was the most peaceful, focused two-hours I've spent in a really long time. The instructor has a fantastically soothing voice and she talked through most of the class. People seemed nice and totally not judgmental. I followed as best as I could and didn't worry about it too much. At the end, everyone gathered in a circle and chanted and it felt like singing hyms in church, but better. There was something so nice to be in the middle of a group of people all focusing positive energy in the same direction. I don't know how to describe it, except that it was the exact opposite feeling of standing still on a crowded New York street. I can't wait to go back. And I can't wait to check the next thing off of my forever-been-wanting-to-do list.
In hindsight, I could have worn anything that I normally work out in and not looked out of place, and I could have just borrowed a mat from the studio, but I think investing in a few things specifically for yoga is what pushed me to actually go. I bought versatile clothes that I knew I would use for other exercise too, for instance tight leg pants rather than boot cut. I bought a low support bra and yoga pants from Athleta, both black, and a tank top from lulu lemon* in black and white stripes, and would recommend them all. I bought a gray mat from Target thinking it was the most nondescript and would match whatever I was wearing. The funniest thing to me is that after leaving I tried to remember what color mats people in class had and I had no idea. I didn't pay any attention to it at all while I was there, and I doubt no one else did to mine.
|full focus bra and high rise chaturanga tight.
|studio racerback and the mat in ultra violet.
|gaiam granite storm yoga mat.
*A few words on lululemon: I tried on a bunch of tanks at a bunch of places looking for the right fit and the studio racerback tank was by far the best. It was the perfect length with the right curve to the bottom. I would have preferred a solid color, like gray or blush, but the black and white stripe was the only one in my size at the store I went to. The sales person was so, so nice. She seemed genuinely excited that I was going to try yoga and insisted on gifting me the mat of my choice. She was so nice that even thought there are less expensive workout clothes, I would spend my money at lululemon in the future and feel great about it. For my free mat, I chose a vibrant purple - ultra violet - the color that I would've purchased if I wasn't worried about what people might think if I showed up to class with it. Now that I've used both mats, I actually prefer the Gaiam one, even though the purple retails at over twice as much. I find the vibrant color distracts me, and the smooth surface shows marks too easily - my face moisturizer left a greasy mark (that washed off with soap and water) that would have embarrassed me in class and I imagine sweat would leave a mark also. The Gaiam mat is reversible and both sides are similar to the bottom (black) side of the Lulu lemon mat, which has a smooth top (purple) side. I much prefer the feel of the Gaiam because it's softer on my feet and knees. It's also more slippery, so I guess its a tradeoff and definitely a matter of preference.