We all know what its like to be the new kid. Whether its starting school again, tackling the first day at a new job, or even joining a new club. It can be unnerving, even as a confident adult. That feeling along can make it difficult to start new things, or take that first trip to a group workout. I was the new kid this week, as I stepped into a (GASP!) yoga studio for the first time.
I've been wanting to incorporate yoga into my schedule for awhile, and this week seemed the perfect time to start. I'm tapering, not spending as much time working out, therefore freeing up a little time in my schedule. I didn't want power yoga or hot yoga, mostly because I'm a newbie and don't want to risk injuring myself with less than 2 weeks until Chicago. So I found a gentle yoga class right near my house, and figured it was a great place to start. The only problem being that I had never taken a yoga class before. The nerves were equivalent to that of the hours leading up to a 22 mile long run.
Walking into the studio was, of course, intimidating. I donned my running clothes, and had a towel rolled up under my arm (I don't own a yoga mat). There were a few people in the room already, chatting like old friends while they were stretching (oh my Gumby-ness!). Yikes.
I warned the instructor that I'm a long distance athlete who doesn't stretch. Not only can I not touch my toes, I can barely hang my hands past my knees. She smirked, gave me the standard "stop if anything hurts or doesn't feel right" speech and handed me a few blocks. I'm a very confident person, but I was petrified of everyone staring at me and then being the one being talked about after class. Gulp.
The class was 75 minutes long, and I stretched more in those 75 minutes than in my entire life combined. Everyone in the class was so into the class, that they didn't even notice how much of a "stiff as a board" disaster I was. The instructor would come by my mat (yep, she let me borrow a real yoga mat like a big kid!) while going through the poses, to make sure that I was maximizing my potential. The words "runners calves" and "tight hamstrings" came out of her mouth on different occasions, but I could tell she was thrilled that she had a convert on her hands.
Yoga was hard, but I loved it. It wasn't 75 minutes of heart-pounding efforts, or watching zones, distance, or pace. It was quiet, focused, and totally chill. Something I definitely need in my life. And when I woke up Tuesday morning, I didn't feel as tight as I usually do. It's something I'm going to start adding into my workout routine, especially once Chicago is over.
Being the new kid is never easy; however it allows us to open doors to new opportunities and possibilities. Stepping outside our own boxes, and our comfort zones is just one way to better ourselves as individuals.