But I can’t even yoga…

When I ask people to come try yoga with me, the most common response I hear is, “I don’t even know what to do.” That reaction sounds ridiculous now (I mean, how can you know what to do if you’ve never learned?). But looking back to how I felt before I began practicing yoga, I completely understand.

Yoga can be intimidating. When you walk into your first class, inevitably some people have already set up their mats and are preparing by doing super deep, impressive stretches. They’ve set themselves up with different combinations of blocks and straps and blankets, and they’re wearing expensive Lululemon yoga outfits.

Here’s the thing. Those people aren’t necessarily doing what the teacher wants them to do.

When you get to yoga class, all you need is an open mind and a mat. Period. In another post, I’ll share my best list of what exactly you need to do to fit in perfectly at your first yoga class. In the mean time, consider this comparison:

Remember the last time you went to a party or a night club? You would see cute girls and cute boys, and they were all dressed in varying degrees of casual to kind-of dressed up. And then there was the one girl in a sequined miniskirt that’s short enough to be confused with a belt, and she was wearing super high heels and a low cut top and all the makeup she could pile on, plus a pound of jewelry and a matching clutch, and she was laughing super loudly and drinking the fanciest drink, and she was just a little too much?

Yeah, yoga has those people too.

Don’t allow the trying-too-hard people to affect your practice. Yoga is a practice of improvement by degrees. If you walk through the door and start deep stretches before your body is warmed up, you’re more likely to injure yourself. Sure, you’ll intimidate the new people — and sure, some people will be super impressed with you. But you won’t be practicing yoga; you’ll be exercising.

And there is a difference.

One of the greatest things about yoga is the fact that it’s not a competitive sport. It’s not even close. There’s no way to “win” yoga. The only things you’re competing against are your fear and your resistance. As you gain a millimeter into a pose each time you practice, you gain confidence. You lose resistance. You transform into a yogi, and it changes your life.

So don’t be afraid of those super go-getter types at the yoga studio. Instead, practice feeling compassion for them. They want so desperately to impress you.

See them, love them, respect them.

See yourself, love yourself, respect yourself.

That’s a true yogi.