I recently joined a gym near my house and decided to give yoga group classes a try. A nerve-wracking idea for my social anxiety-ridden brain, but nevertheless, I persevered and before I knew it, I found myself in a room full of 10 strangers.
I grabbed a mat, placed it in an ill-lit back corner of the room and sat down, stiff as a board, on my mat. I glanced around at the people in front of me, some were chatting with one another, others were sitting like me albeit more relaxed, and others were full-on yoga-ing before the class even started… show-offs.
Once the instructor decided that it was time for the class to start, everyone stood up and got into our first position, aka mountain pose. As the class progressed, my thoughts changed from “yeah, I can totally do this” to “oh f*ck, what have I done”, and as the moves got more intricate and complicated, I tried to remain calm while also attempting to stretch out my spasming foot.
I was bending and stretching in ways I thought only a very flexible cat could, but there I was, head down, leg up, in my dancing dog position. And while I was practically hanging upside down, I had a breakthrough. Perhaps it was all the blood rushing to my brain or the fact that I felt immensely proud of myself for being able to balance in such an odd position, but at some point, I actually started to enjoy it. I realised that I had been concentrating so hard on not tumbling over and falling on top of the stranger next to me that the rest of my worries seemed to fade away.
As we made our way back into a normal, two-legged human standing position I breathed a large sigh of relief. We finally ended the class with what they call a Shavasana, which is basically just you lying on the floor with your eyes closed. It was awkward at first but once I let go it was one of the most relaxing things I have ever done.
Afterward, I couldn’t stop talking about how amazing the experience was and I have not skipped a class since first starting yoga. What I like most about the classes is the fact that you aren’t alone. Chances are that if you’re falling on your face while in your feathered peacock position, someone else likely is, too, or if you’re trying to peep between your shoulder and elbow to figure out what the hell the next position is supposed to look like, you’ll likely make eye contact with someone who is doing exactly the same.
Group classes are a wonderful activity and are a great way to meet new people. As for yoga, well, it is absolutely incredible both physically and mentally. I would recommend it to everyone to try at least once.
Have you tried group classes before or are you into yoga? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic so let me know in the comments below.