Yoga For Beginners

1. Two weeks before you are due to go to Florida, decide that you are out of shape.

2. Google the class schedule for the Greenpoint YMCA, the gym to which you belong but go to maybe once a week when you feel like reading The New Yorker on the elliptical instead of on the couch.

3. Study a PDF of the class schedule at work. Decide that most fitness classes, like “Spinning” and “Total Body Conditioning”, seem too…involved.

4. Settle on yoga because you have “done it” a few times before and write down every single yoga class time in the notes section of your New Yorker day planner.

5. Also, print out a copy of the class schedule to hang up on your refrigerator. You’re going to need all the motivation you can get to go to a class by yourself.

6. Ponder, for a few days, the best time for you to go:

a. Is it the morning? (Have the following thoughts: Can you get yourself out of bed for anything other than money? Not really, but you’ll get it over with and then you can go out after work. But won’t you be too tired to go out after work? And don’t you remember how much you hate showering at the gym?)

b. Or the evening? (Have the following thoughts: None of the classes are late enough in the case that you have to work late. You could just make sure you leave on time to get to class. But what if you have things to do at night, like laundry or wine-drinking?)

c. And then there are the weekends… (Have the following thought: No.)

7. Settle on going to “Gentle Yoga” because it very clearly seems like the least strenuous yoga class and it is also at 7:30 PM, which is both late enough and early enough in the evening that you won’t be able to justify not going.

8. When Yoga Day finally rolls around, spend your time at work vacillating on whether or not you will actually go.

9. Rush home from work. There is a note on the YMCA class schedule that advises you to get there early and you take that very seriously.

10. Rifle through your dresser to find appropriate yoga clothes. Realize that the only clean gym pants you have are extra small spandex that no longer fit. Wear them anyway but tie them tightly to hedge against the exposition of your butt crack.

11. Arrive at the gym 15 minutes before class. Sit on a bench outside of the classroom by yourself, anxiously wondering if you’re in the right place.

12. Take stock of your fellow yoga-goers. Become even more anxious when the first two people who show up have their own yoga mats. Relax a little bit when three older Polish women sans yoga mats arrive, followed by a woman wearing a karate outfit.

13. When the time comes, enter the classroom – er, gymnasium/basketball court – and put your stuff down on the side. Grab a yoga mat from the supply closet and lay it out towards the back, slightly to the right of the teacher but where you can still see her.

14. Get asked to move over by an old man wearing baggy sweatpants because you are in his “spot”.

15. When the teacher asks if anyone is new to yoga, raise your hand even though technically, you’re not “new”, you just haven’t done it in a while. You just don’t want to look like an idiot when you fuck up. Feel self-conscious when no one else raises their hand. Feel relieved when the teacher explains that this is a beginners’ yoga class and that anyone with a more “advanced practice” is welcome to go to a more difficult class.

16. Wonder if you’re doing something wrong for pretty much the entire class, especially when the teacher says “chaturangaand you just kind of collapse on the floor. But also, feel great about remembering most of the basic poses.

17. Hope that no one saw that your pants did slide like pretty much halfway down your butt.

18. At the end of class, when you are doing the final relaxation thingy – OK, you know now it’s called shavasana – think about literally everything even though you’re supposed to be thinking about nothing.

19. When class is over, put your mat away but worry that you didn’t wipe it down thoroughly enough even though it was kind of dirty in the first place.

20. Walk home, feel accomplished and motivated. As soon as you sit on your couch, begin psyching yourself up to go next week.


Note: I have now attended Gentle Yoga three weeks in a row. At this point, I am literally an expert at the corpse pose and I think/hope the older Polish ladies have accepted me as a regular because all of them smiled at me in what I took to be a warm manner this week.


3 thoughts on “Yoga For Beginners

  1. Great advice. It’s important for people to not feel discouraged after their first yoga class. I think a lot more people would practice more regularly if they prepared better for their first class.

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