When I went to my first yoga class I was overwhelmed.

Not only had it taken me a massive amount of courage to leave the house in yoga pants and turn up to a class in a studio I’d never been to before…

…but I got there and there were all these insaaaanely beautiful women who made me feel like a bridge troll (hello lack-of-self-worth, my old buddy!).

Expensive outfits. Expensive mats. They knew what they were doing. No one spoke to each other. Headstands happened – what the fresh fuck. I was supposed to do that and look like her!?

It was quiet. Just sounds of people’s breath, the instructors annoyingly nasal voice, and traffic noises from the busy street outside.

Needless to say, this wasn’t the class I’m talking about. You think they had disco lights? No.

At one point, during the seventy-fourth downward dog probably, I wanted to leave. I needed it to stop. My hamstrings just didn’t work that way. I felt like an outsider. I didn’t belong. And I was quietly hoping no one could hear me swearing profusely (expertly) under my breath.

But I’m a survivor, if nothing else.

And I couldn’t even walk out without fear of people noticing how unbelonging I was in that place.

So I persevered. I kept going. Right to the end. Thank god for savasana.

Despite the teacher being kind to me, and the obvious endorphins I got from moving my less-than-perfect body through a weird routine of poses I didn’t understand, I felt shit leaving that class.

I would never be a yogi.

And now I’m writing this waffle to you as a yoga student of over fifteen years and having taught for over seven.

What the hell happened?

Out of the options of yoga, running (please god make it stop), or some sort of torturous HIIT class (I’d rather be sick on myself than do burpees), yoga was the least offensive to me.

In all of that self-loathing there was something about the breathing and the movement I didn’t actively hate.

There was some intrigue for me.

And I needed to do something. Walking up the stairs got me more out of breath than Usain Bolt after a 500m sprint.

Fast forward some light research, a few more dud classes, and I finally found a teacher I loved. And online, too! I didn’t need to leave the house, feel inadequate, or worry about my how many people would stare at my exposed belly in a down dog.

Not only that, but suddenly yoga was taught to me as something to feel instead of a shape to work towards.

This. Was. It.

And on my yoga journey I’ve learned so much about:

  • Finding the feeling over finding the shape.
  • Silence vs turning up the volume.
  • The joys of a welcoming class, where everyone talks and supports each other.
  • Being a less-than-perfect yogi in a world that wants us to be 5’7″ and skinny and handstanding.
  • The journey – how a yoga class can take us from feeling shit to loving life again.

Without that shitty first class and my feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing, The Yoga Revolution wouldn’t be here.

The hundreds of people we’ve practiced with over the years wouldn’t be healed of their depression, brain injuries (a story for another time), their overwhelming melancholia.

Bodies wouldn’t have changed shape. Bones wouldn’t have got stronger. Hearts wouldn’t be as full.

I do this so no one has to go into a class and feel the way I felt that day. So you can experience the journey and connection, the healing and joy that yoga brings.

And yes, since that day, not only are my abs stronger than ever, I also give *way* less shits about who sees my belly in a downward dog.

Yoga, baby 😎

If ever you don’t feel like you fit in, you feel not ‘enough’ or ‘too much’, I’m sending you a massive virtual hug.

You are enough. You’re actually pretty fucking epic.

For more from me and The Yoga Revolution, join the inner circle for free classes, inspiration, and exclusive resources.

Chloe - TYR Founder & Joyful Living Coach

POSTED: 16/02/2023

Chloe is a yoga teacher, mindfulness guide, and joyful living coach, and she thinks the meaning of life is probably to be as happy as possible.

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