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The Courage to Be a Beginner

I was at a networking thing (Yay! Go Introverted Me!) a few weeks ago and met a lady that I just sort of instantly liked. Added bonus: she teaches yoga, which made yogi-wanna- be me a little bit thrilled.

I told her that I kept trying to make yoga a part of my life, but the truth was that I was img_2071finding reasons not to.  I think yoga is really great for a lot of reasons, and often recommend it to my clients, but I wasn’t making time for it.  My dog was getting better use out of my yoga mat than I was (since my dear person best friend kept setting it out for my dear canine best friend.)

But this woman heard what I said about wanting and she kept inviting.  Someone once told me that a “real friend is someone who loves you to the best of YOUR intentions.” And that’s what this new friend did for me.

I was stalling.  It wasn’t about the yoga itself maybe, and I’ve grabbed my ipad and favorite video yoga instructor plenty of times in the privacy of my own house. (Just you know, not lately.  I’ve been too busy teaching other people about self care.  Uhem) It was also a little bit about going to a class.  (Mind you, I teach classes.) It was about getting out of my comfort zone. ( I tell people they have to get out of theirs.)  It was about checking my “stuff” and feeling inadequate.  (Spoiler alert: I teach people they have to set theirs down too.)

I went.  On the hurried drive over, I had a symphony of voices in my head.  They helpfully wondered if I’d remembered to put on deodorant, or if perhaps I could have a wardrobe malfunction–since the clothes I wear in the gym do not have the same requirements as clothing for which my butt will be in the air or I will be turning into a human game of “Twister”.  I wondered if anyone would notice that pedicures haven’t been high on my to-do list lately.  These voices in my head also wondered if my deep, dark personal trainer secret would come to light: it’s very hard for me to move my body as someone tells me to. Bodily kinesthetic intelligence wasn’t ever one of my high scorers, and I made a valiant effort at giving my trainer more grey hairs when he was trying to teach me the exercises. I think I’m his reigning “most difficult client”.

I realized all these things I was feeling are the very things that keep some people from trying new things when it comes to fitness.  Maybe these things keep them from taking classes, or hiring a trainer, or coming to the gym at all.  Maybe it’s as much fear of the unknown or a feeling that everyone is going to be solely focused on you and your mistakes.

I remember how terrified I was when I started training with my trainer– who I might add was also already a friend.  He told me he wanted to train me and that he could help me, and I’d told him thanks but no thanks more than once. I didn’t want him or anyone to know how out of shape I was, nor did I want to admit it to myself.  I didn’t want him or anyone to see my butt jiggle, though for the life of me, I don’t remember why I thought my butt looked any better walking down the road than it would have at the gym.  Had he not been as insistent persuasive annoying as he was, I know now that I never would have had the courage to start. I probably would have weighed 350 lbs by now. And I would have never had this wildly wonderful life where I love my body, and help others love theirs.

It turns out I had a great time at the yoga class.  My new friend was a fantastic teacher, not just with the verbal cues, but with her gentle energy that told me it was genuinely ok that I was a beginner at this.  Her sense of humor and the way she brought her own personality into the class made it feel like a warm, welcome space for me.  And she said something the gist of which has stuck with me all week.

“It is in your best interest to ask for assistance.”

Maybe that’s one of the reasons I like her so much.  She said things I say to my clients, and said them back to me.  I plan to go back, because I know I need it.  My body needs to breathe and move in that particular way.  My mind needs to slow down so I have energy to give my clients.  And my sense that whatever you bring to the table is enough also needs it. Because that’s what I tell my clients:  “You bring it, and I’ll help you learn to bring more. I’ll help you turn your want to into how-to. All you have to do is show up.”

What about you? Are the “helpful” voices in your head stopping you from doing the things that you need to do to be your happiest, healthiest self? I hope that a teacher shows up for you in some way, and tells you the one thing you need to hear so that you have the courage to start something new.

 

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