If you’ve never been to a public yoga class, let me just take this opportunity to encourage you to give it a try. Just once. If you hate it, you never have to go back again. But just this one time, face whatever it is that’s holding you back, and try it.
The thing is, on one level, yoga is a physical activity – sort of a set of dance steps, if you will. And in that sense, you can certainly learn to do it on your own, with a book or a video. I learned Hatha yoga from Rodney Yee, and I’ll still pop in that Power Yoga DVD when I’m looking for a good, sweaty workout that I can get through without having to get in the car and go someplace.
The physical part is just one aspect of yoga, though, and a public class allows you to experience some of those deeper levels in a way that’s tough to get at home (especially if you’re trying to interact with a TV or computer screen). Going to the class in person is not just about having an instructor there who can correct your postures. They do that in some classes, of course, but the presence of the teacher and the other students in the room – that’s what’s really special about going to a yoga class. There’s an energy, a connection that happens in that space that’s tough to describe, but you’ll feel it when you’re there.
I know there are a lot of excuses that stand in the way of going. Heck, the thing that made me sit down and write this tonight is that I finally got myself back to class after some weeks of dwindling motivation. I’ve been avoiding it: running on the treadmill at home, skipping class in favor of a nap or going out with some friends, not wanting to fight traffic to get over to the studio. But then, when I go – pretty much every time – I end up feeling SO GOOD.
Don’t be afraid. A yoga studio is nothing if not a welcoming space. Go give it a try.