It's intimidation that keeps many curious about all the good things they hear yoga can do for them from entering a studio and beginning their journey toward a happier relationship with their bodies and life experiences. The thought that there are nothing but beautiful lithe and flexible bodies that flow through poses like grande ballerinas on the other side of the door, will stop anyone from even thinking about having the nerve to plunk a mat down next to all that perfection! You, in thinking this way, would have to be crazy to practice yoga in the midsts of such wondrous yogis. Because you ,of course, are a hot mess. Spandex was invented as a joke, that only you seem to get. Why your hands would ever want to touch your toes, let alone balance your body on, seems a far off fairy tale, or really even unnecessary. You feel confident that the only way you are flexible is letting your friends choose where you guys will meet for dinner tonight. Why on earth would you throw yourself into a situation you know will just reinforce the fact that you will never be good enough?
That's how intimidation works. All your fears of failure throw themselves in front of any action you might take that is new and untested. There is a survival aspect to this instinct (see "Buddha's Brain" by Rick Hanson to delve deeper). But, it's good to question if that really applies to trying a yoga class? Perhaps you are willing to look at other people and believe they have all those qualities that you wish you had but are forbidden to you. Can you consider that really is not true? Sure there are a lot of beautiful practitioners, like there are a lot of beautiful models in magazines. While you may admire them, do you think they represent the majority? Like all fears, they will be unmasked for what they are: just thoughts. What's personal is universal. Everyone on that mat in the studio walked in against their fears. They just learned to breathe and move and focus on their own journey. You may walk in feeling so intimidated you need to figure out how to stop shaking. Then, the teacher begins the class and asks you to start breathing in a way you never did before and everything in your life starts to change.
Yogatiger is a passionate advocate of yoga. She has seen yoga make a profound difference in her life and so many others. After 12 years of personal practice, she is currently taking her 200 hour teacher training in hopes of bringing her love and appreciation of all 8 limbs of the path to anyone who wants to experience what yoga has to offer.