Facing My Fitness Fear: Yoga

During the month of May, Propel challenged me to face my fitness fears. When they put this challenge in front of me, I immediately knew what fear I needed to face…Yoga. I’ve done just about every obstacle race that some nut job created, I’m comfortable in the gym and I’ve finished a marathon. I’m not the fastest or have the best form but, in general, I get it done. I can say that yoga intimidates me more than any obstacle or running distance you can throw at me. I’m intimidated by yoga for several reasons:

1) I’m not the most flexible person. I have the flexibility of a tree trunk.

2) The stereotype of a yogi is pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum from me and my personality.

3) Yoga seems like a pretty tight knit community and I am a foreigner.

4) Yoga has its own dictionary and terms, none of which I know. I literally have zero knowledge of yoga.

I’ve always wanted to give yoga a try but, because of the reasons above, I’ve never made any real effort to attend a class. With the fitness fear challenge in mind, I did a little research on yoga studios near me and signed up for a class. I signed up for a class that is part Vinyasa and part Restorative. What the heck did I get myself into?!

I grabbed my wife’s yoga mat, a couple bottles of Propel and head for the yoga studio. On the drive to the class, I noticed that my heart was beating fast and I had a few butterflies in my stomach. What the…I am nervous for yoga class! Not sure if I was nervous for the actual class or because of the unknown, regardless I was nervous and that made me chuckle. Who gets nervous for yoga class? This guy apparently.

Getting Ready For YogaI felt a little better when I stepped inside. The studio was very inviting and people that I would be attending class with were very nice. I think I was putting out the “I’m nervous and don’t think I belong here” vibe as everyone greeted me and mentioned that I was going to really enjoy the class. I have no idea what the protocol is at a yoga class, so I was very observant of everyone else and followed their lead. After taking my shoes off and getting my yoga mat, I followed everyone into the actual studio, rolled out my mat and did some arbitrary stretches that everyone else was doing to prepare for class.

Yoga StudioJust before class started, the instructor opened a closet and told everyone to come get their props. Besides the mat, I had no clue that there were props used in yoga. I grabbed a sandbag (no clue what its used for), a couple of blankets (no clue what they are used for) and two bolsters (no clue what they are used for). In case you’re wondering, bolsters are basically pillows. This is going to be interesting!

Yoga StationNow that I got my station setup and all my props, I’m more nervous than ever but I’m also a little excited to get this party started! We began with a couple of light stretches and then we got right into it. The teacher was giving instruction on what pose to be in and what pose to transition to. All around me, I hear people moving around and getting into poses and I’m on my yoga mat frozen like a deer in headlights. I am constantly looking at everyone trying to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to be doing. I eventually understand what’s going on and fall into a groove. This comfort is short lived however. Shortly after I get a feel for what’s going on, I find myself sweating profusely and my heart is pounding. I’m dumbfounded by the workout I’m getting! Everyone around is making it look easy but I’m in need of a short break to catch my breath and hydrate. I stand up out of a warrior like pose, grab my bottle of Propel and take a quick breather. This was the first of a few breaks I had to take to hydrate and catch my breath.

I jump back into action and get myself into a bunch of other positions that I never knew existed. Poses like baby, table, cat, dog, upward, downward, warrior…all sorts of different poses. This portion of the class lasted about 35-40 minutes, after which I felt like I got an amazing workout and was well stretched out. I was still a little confused at this point, because I hadn’t used any of the props that I gathered earlier. We then went into the Restorative portion of the class and I quickly learned what all of the props were for.

For those of you, like me, which have never heard of Restorative Yoga, you basically allow gravity to stretch you out and decompress. It’s quiet and gentle and completely relaxing. The instructor got us into several poses where we used the bolsters to lay to assist in the stretch for that pose. One of the poses had me on my back and the lower half of my body twisted over so that my leg would lay on the bolster. My body isn’t flexible enough to complete the stretch, so the sandbag was placed on my knee to add weight so that I could get the full benefit of the pose. The blankets were used to prop up my neck so that my spine was in alignment for a few poses. After a few more relaxing poses, class ended with a “Namaste”.

After class, I stayed for a few minutes to discuss the fitness fear challenge with the instructor. I know it was a good workout because I downed an entire bottle of Propel while talking to the instructor. On my drive home, I took a few moments to reflect on the class and to digest what I did and what I learned. I’m taking away a lot from my very first yoga class, but the biggest thing I learned is that yoga is a legit workout! I am proud to say that yoga is no longer a fitness fear. In fact, I truly enjoyed the class. I would like to incorporate more yoga into my fitness routine. I know there are several different yoga styles out there, and I plan to experiment and try a few of them. I have already signed up for another Vinyasa/Restorative class! Thanks to Propel, I faced a fear head on, learned a bunch and found that yoga is something I enjoy and shouldn’t have feared to beign with!

Do you have any fitness fears? Are there fitness events or routines out there that intimidate you? What is stopping you from facing the fear and conquering it?

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6 Responses to “Facing My Fitness Fear: Yoga”

  1. 300 Hour Yoga Instructor Course NJ

    Awesome post you got there. Although yoga helps improve the body it is still not a substitute for medicine. But it is a way to keep yourself fit and healthy in a more fulfilling manner. Visit our site to learn more.

  2. Clarinda @ Enjoying the Course

    “I’m taking away a lot from my very first yoga class, but the biggest thing I learned is that yoga is a legit workout!” Love this! Glad to hear you enjoyed your first yoga class. I’m definitely a beginner yogi, but there are so many fantastic benefits.

    • Jon

      I really enjoyed it and am planning on taking another class soon!


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