Recently, someone asked about my first experience with yoga. It might seem odd, but for me it was definitely not “love at first try”.
As many of you may know, a month after college graduation I moved to Los Angles. Whenever the topic of fitness came up, all I kept hearing about was yoga. On sets, at coffee shops, the gym, you name it, LA was on the yoga train and my curiosity was peaked.
After two years, I was able to coerce my roommate to check it out. (Lisa and I had gone to college together and she was always up for an adventure.) As we walked into the multipurpose aerobics/spin/yoga room at my all women’s gym, we were greeted by a petite brunette dressed in black from head to toe. Let’s call her Jenny.
“Are you new?” she asked curtly.
“Yes!” we replied enthusiastically in unison. Could we be more obvious!
What came next was an unexpected, and equally unenthusiastic, “Great, I guess I’ll figure out something.”
Jenny was clearly not excited to have newbies in class, but Lisa and I did our best to follow along. I’ll never forget the feeling of having my beginner foot kicked from Warrior 2 to Warrior 1. And what was this Savasana business?
We did not go back to yoga the next week. Instead, we decided to try our hand at Hip Hop. And no, there are no photos.
About a year or so later we decided, once again, to try this allegedly relaxing, good-for-you yoga thing that remained all the rage in the city of angels. After carefully selecting a class time, and an instructor different than the first one (yes, you are correct; we intentionally chose a different teacher), we set off to give it another chance.
Excitedly we opened the fitness room door, and guess what? Are you thinking this is the moment I knew I was moving back east to share my love of yoga, that I fell in love, and my life changed forever?
Not even close.
Guess who was subbing? Jenny. She saw us. There was no escape from the class, but we never went back.
That was the day yoga died, for ten years.
You may be asking yourself why we didn’t got to a yoga class at Lisa’s gym. The answer is simple; they didn’t have yoga classes yet. At this time in LA, yoga wasn't as readily available as it is today.
My point? Not all yoga is love at first try. Mine clearly was not. But like true love, it has to be the right person at the right time.
The right teacher and the right time for me came years later, through a yoga/Pilates fusion class. And, needless-to-say, it was at a different fitness center. But It was a seed that grew and grew and grew, until it was so big that it changed my life. It was that seed that inspired me to do something more meaningful with my life. It eventually led me to make the decision to leave Los Angeles and turn my passion into my life.
Working with beginners always reminds me of my first class. Honestly, I wouldn’t change that experience because it taught me a valuable lesson - - how I want to show up, the kind of teacher I want to be. To quote Kelly Clarkson: it’s “because of you” that I am inspired every day to give students a warm, welcoming, loving yoga experience. And to this day, I thank Jenny for being one of my teachers.