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New! Should I take a class?

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Hi! I'm Melanie, and I'm new to the forum. Just a little background on me: I'm 36, and I spent the first 27 years of my life rejecting athletic pursuits, mainly because I'm not naturally athletic or well coordinated. Until I had my son, I relied on a decent metabolism, but that was shot after pregnancy. Plus, my son was born with a rare bone marrow failure syndrome that led to a lot of anxiety and stress eating. When my ex and I divorced in 2011, I hired a personal trainer who helped me gain some confidence, and I eventually followed her to a Crossfit box that became an amazing source of support for me. I sucked at it, though I had a few strengths (bizarrely, I could do double unders from day 1!), but I made some progress, mainly with lower body strength. Progress was super slow, and I still can't do a pull up--or a lot of things--and I know I have serious deficits in core strength and mobility. Still, that community was my rock for years. My son had a bone marrow transplant in April of 2015, and they were there for us in a profound way. They fundraised when I had to take a year long leave of absence. They brought us meals. When we didn't think my kiddo would make it, they rallied behind us. When he was homebound, they arranged for babysitters so I could get out of the house to work out. Best community ever!

It was during the transplant that I started dabbling in yoga videos. My stress was crazy, and I started doing Yoga with Adriene videos when another transplant mom suggested trying her out. Those videos really helped me through a trying time, and Adriene's slower pace was so helpful with mindfulness and anxiety management. My son and I did many of her videos as an extension of his physical therapy, and he's actually been working on writing her a letter about how yoga helped him. Through that, I found Candace, and I felt like Candace offered more of a challenge, though I was back to Crossfit once I found YBC and really fell of the 'yoga wagon'. Two months ago, a work transfer meant I had to move away from my Crossfit box, and I haven't found another box that has the schedule I need that also 'feels' right. I know I'll find it, but I think I need to give myself another month or two before I'm ready to move on. I still miss my old family too much to replace them!

I decided that I should use this as an opportunity to attack those core /upper body and mobility issues, and I feel like Candace's brand of yoga is a good place to start. I was immediately attracted to the strength project, and the first two days were great! On day two, I felt at home with the AMRAPs.  

Tonight, however, I did the 50 minute power yoga for arm balances. Um...I suck at yoga. I can't do any of that stuff. I can maybe get into crow for a couple of seconds. I don't even have to mobility for a freestanding headstand. I feel like I spent most of the video on my knees saying, "Mmmm, no, nope, can't do that. Can't even do the thing you're suggesting I do instead. I don't know how that's even possible." 

So how do I approach this? I've never taken a real yoga class. I used to do twice weekly 'Yen Yoga for Crossfitters'. I have decently open hips now (and a better snatch and clean), but my hamstrings are still a hot mess. I feel like, perhaps, I should take a class, but I'm hesitant for a few reasons. First, I'm anxious about it. I hate doing classes where people exercise in unison! As stated earlier, I am uncoordinated, and I am not great with my left and my right. I love Crossfit because I do the WOD on my own time and terms. The few times I have done other group exercise, I'm fighting back tears ten minutes in. Videos are ok because I can pause or rewind. 

Second, my schedule will only allow either yoga classes or the YBC challenge. I guess I could do some classes and a slower challenge, but I'd need to be creative.  

Third, I just don't wanna. This is just a repeat of #1. Going to a yoga class is outside of my comfort zone, and I like my comfort zone. 


So that was a ridiculously long winded way to ask that people sell me on either a yoga class, powering through the challenge, or doing both. What do I gain from a class that cancels out the struggle of overcoming my irrational anxiety? What kind of class should I take? Or is it ok to make peace with just sucking now and for most of the future? Help!

YogaByCandace likes this

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Yes, you should try it.

100% of first time class attendees were intimidated beforehand. Most (lol) survived and loved it.

In a live class the instructor can help you work with your limitations, suggesting alternatives to consider until you develop the strength, and correct you if your form isn't right so you can get the full benefit from the pose.

As to your concern about arm balances, I recently attended a workshop lead by @YogaByCandace. (I'm 58 and started yoga 2 years ago).  When we got to the part on arm balances and headstands, she mentioned "it's okay if you can't or don't want to try it, just learn the preparation and proper form needed to build the foundation."  I got into the preparation position and noticed she was behind me ready to assist (sensing correctly that I was an arm balance 'newbie'). I whispered, with nervous laughter  "I'm not ready yet" , and she repeated, "that's okay, just work on the foundation", which she helped me with.  

There was no intimidation, ridicule nor laughter....instead, there was support, encouragement, guidance and praise...not only from Candace, but from the other attendees, most of whom were more advanced than I was.  

In addition, the class was mostly gals, so if you think you're intimidated, try being an older guy who is a relative newcomer to the practice, in a workshop (lead by a yoga superstar) with mostly younger, advanced, flexible female yogis. I survived and loved the class and am looking forward to Candace's next workshop in November.

Yes, you should try a live class. What do you have to lose? You might end up shedding your "irrational anxiety", develop confidence, make friends, gain strength, knowledge and have a blast.

Don't focus on what you can't do. Celebrate what you can.

If you can't do arm balances because you lack the strength, do chaturanga to build up your strength  

Go slow, yoga takes a lifetime to master. 



Upcoming workshops (page gets updated as new events added). If you're within driving distance you should try to attend!

scottcraft likes this

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I loved reading your background! What I noticed again and again throughout your post, though, is that it sounds like you're so hard on yourself. Stop that, my friend! Yeah, your progress was slow, but who cares?! You birthed a HUMAN! That's a superpower right there! You're unreal, and I know your old CF fam would agree. So, moving forward, no more of that "I can't" stuff :) ...although, I totally hear you about irrational anxiety. I get inexplicable anxiety whenever I have to drop into a CF box. I can snatch, clean, DL, do dubs, boxjumps but no matter what I always go into the box with my heart racing, anxiety through the roof and near tears. I DON'T KNOW WHY! I can do nearly all the movements (hello muscle ups, I'm coming for you one day!), but it doesn't matter - I fa-reak out for no reason. No reason! Never once has anyone at a box done anything to make me feel like I don't belong, yet I'm my own worst enemy with this anxiety...and then by the time the wod comes around, I can barely get through it because the anxiety has pretty much gassed me! Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I get the whole irrational anxiety thing. 100%. 

Here's what you'll get if you go to a real, live class with an awesome instructor: 

  • you'll have someone right there to help you with alignment issues. think about this advantage in terms of CF. If you had a home gym and were to do a wod, that'd be fine, but how much better would it be to have a coach right there to make sure your oly lifts are on point? 
  • over time (unless the studio is the bomb dot com), you'll find a sense of community much like you had at CF.
  • the mindfulness aspect of it is unbeatable, and when you're a newbie, I think it's easier to tap into the mindfulness aspect when you're with a group rather than on your own (but that's just me)

If I were you, I would identify some goals with what you want to accomplish with yoga. If you're looking to build strength, take a power yoga class. Power yoga is often a little bit slower than a vinyasa class and you'll hold poses to build up a bit of a burn before moving on. If you're looking to build flexibility, I would suggest a yin class. Yin is very, very slow (you might do 6 poses in one hour) and has you using props to support yourself. There is very little effort involved. It is extremely relaxing, excellent for anxiety and fantastic for developing flexibility. 

Another thing you might want to do is learn the basics (although to be honest, it sounds like you probably already know the basics) but do a few yoga videos online. You're totally right - my classes are a bit more advanced than Adriane's (love her, though!), so you could do a few power yoga, no-mat yoga, vinyasa yoga (just google 'yogabycandace no-mat yoga' or 'yogabycandace vinyasa' and a bunch of options will come up or you can download our free app (just search yogabycandace - no spaces - in the app store) and all our videos are up there. If you were to do a bunch of my power or vinyasa videos, I would say that you would be well prepared to take an in-person, faster paced class anywhere and not have to worry about not knowing what you're doing.


Bottom line: get rid of the idea that you suck right now. You don't. You're freaking awesome, and you have nothing to prove when you walk into that yoga class. Walk in with your head held high and your mind and heart open - you can't lose. (And let us know how it goes if you end up going!)

scottcraft, LarryD517 and Hildegard like this

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