My brother came to visit for Thanksgiving, and of course I wanted to drag him to yoga. Turns out that while he has been interested in trying some form of yoga for awhile he has never taken a yoga class of any kind in his entire life. He said he was game, and I informed him we would go Thursday and Friday. I’d have made him go more, but he had to go home.
I interviewed him before his first class and then after each one. I thought it would be interesting to see what someone who had never done any yoga before thought of the experience. Here’s a general summary of his thoughts:
1. He said he had no preconceptions. Having never done yoga, he really didn’t know what to expect.
2. The first class was overwhelming. While he did ok with the heat initially, some of the postures were a bit confusing and the dialogue is a lot to take in. The heat didn’t really get to him until about the last 15-20 minutes.
3. Even though you think everyone’s going to be watching you, it turns out no one is actually interested in what you are doing except the instructor.
3. Taking the second class is key. He said that if anyone wants to get into this yoga you have to go back as soon as possible for the second class. He went back the next day – because that was his only option – but he thought doing a second class within a week of the first was necessary. He wasn’t as overwhelmed the second time, he had an idea of what was going to happen, and while the class was still difficult it became more enjoyable.
One thing I love about my brother is he hates the first breathing exercise. I hate it too.
We had an interesting discussion about what postures he had an inclination to dislike. At first he named a couple, and when I asked why he didn’t like them he said it was because he couldn’t do them. I pointed out that there were postures I couldn’t do much of when I started, but I still enjoyed them and looked forward to improving at them. Point being that you can love postures you can’t go very far in just like you can hate postures you can go deep in.
After the second class though he declared he was not fond of camel. I think he’s not fond of backbending in general. I’m not either. I just put up with it because I know I need it.
At the end of our two day excursion to Bikram, I concluded that the key to a successful Bikram practice is to just go. That’s not new information for any regulars out there, but it’s what I took away from talking to a newbie. My brother compared Bikram to running. He said that sometimes he has great runs and other times he feels like death immediately after he enters the first mile. But he knows to let the bad runs go and to keep on running. It’s the same thing with Bikram. You have your good, your great, and your really crappy classes. The key is to just keep showing up. In a sense, keep on running.
- Of Bikram yoga vs “Real Yoga” (thenormalyogi.com)
- Bikram yoga is a hot festering mess. Bucket-list progress: Finding my radiant weight! (mylabucketlist.com)
- What is Bikram yoga? (justherejustnow.wordpress.com)