Venturing Out of My Comfort Zone
Away From My Studio and My Style
A Blog Post by Lanita Varshell
Written in Feb. 2017
It has taken me ten days to get to one class in my two weeks of visiting Fort Collins, Colorado. I’m here helping with my daughter’s two month old baby, allowing mommy to catch up on sleep —
while trying to take care of myself at the same time. Not an easy task! I have done a little stretching in my bedroom, and at the parks where I got a few walks in, but that is not the same as a group class practice.
Group yoga practice is important. It is not only about the energy you get to tap into in a class with like minded people, but it is also about getting yourself dressed for the day, out of the house, and perhaps even facing the fear of going into a new environment, and wondering, once you get there:
Will it be safe?
Will I be ok?
Will I be able to do their kind of yoga?
Yes, after all these years of practicing, teaching and training yoga teachers, I still battle these fears. I still am shy, awkward, and concerned about re-injuring my body, or being forced to do something that does not feel safe to me. But I no longer judge myself, my body, and my emotions like I used to. I just notice, observe, mentally note where I am each day. I find my “whole” self quite interesting now. I learn a lot when I can be in this place of living consciously without judgement.
Since I have been in Ft. Collins, my deepest “yoga” has actually been when my daughter Katie brings granddaughter Addie to my bed at 6 or 7am so that Katie can finally get some sleep. I feed Addie, burp her, play with her, change her, and then rest her across my breast and belly. I practice deep conscious breathing. This IS meditation. Addie loves the rhythm of my body rising and falling. She falls into a deep sleep. Then to the bassinet she goes, as I have been asked not to get in the habit of holding her too much while she sleeps.
Yesterday though, I knew it was necessary to carve out the time to visit some of the studios here, and attend at least a few classes during my last week of Fort Collins trip #2. It was time to find community, face my fears of meeting new people, and get myself out of the apartment. I have been checking out Ft. Collins Yoga Studios ever since trip #1 (last month), There are lots and lots of flow classes, but just a handful of classes that I feel I might be able to comfortably practice. It was not easy to find gentle, restorative, or beginner classes.
Eventually I found two places very close to Katie’s apartment. One studio specializes in “flow” yoga, with a Level 1 class that advertises “it is great for beginners.” Both owners have a background in dance or athletics, and are young, but the overall energy of their Studio (based on the website) felt good.
Since I thought I could probably handle the Level 1 class, I took a walk to this Studio early in the afternoon, thinking I would go in and ask a few questions to make sure I could handle their 5:30 pm class. I walked past the Studio twice. I watched one of the owners walk in. (She seemed pleasant, noticed me, and smiled.) But I could not go in. I just could not open the door. She was young, fit, and tiny. I am older and large. Their front retail space was filled with designer yoga clothes for thin women, so I walked back to my daughter’s place feeling discouraged, and feeling like I was new to yoga again.
But I was not going to give up! I would check out the “Fitness Center” down the street that offers yoga and all kinds of other group exercise classes. Although the “fitness” name always intimidates me, (separate article), this place advertised two separate yoga rooms, and was actually offering a “Restore Yoga” class that evening. It looked great – until I read the bio of the teacher, which included this:
She (instructor) prefers to see the world from a different perspective: upside down. She wishes for the power of super speed, because doing things in half the time means more time for handstands! This was the teacher for a slow, therapeutic, healing class?! But I was desperate for a class, and after a bit of inner struggle I made it to the Center, (getting lost of course along the way, even though it was only 3 minutes away.)
Here is my review of the Center, teacher, and class:
February 13, 2017 (5 Students)
REV Fitness Fort Collins – Restore Yoga Class- Teacher: Renica
This Center felt warm and welcoming the minute I stepped in. A friendly woman greeted me immediately, got me checked in, chatted a bit about it being my first time, and was excited with me about why I was in town, and loved my picture of my grand baby, (yep, I am one of those Nanna’s) She showed me where to go, how to use their lockers, and loaned me a mat. The yoga room was dark, warm, and clean with candles flickering. The teacher came in and introduced herself to me. There were only 5 of us in a room that could have easily held 10-12. It was a good class! The teacher was sweet, confidant, and well-trained. It was not MIMSY Meditation in Movement Style Yoga® like we teach at A Gentle Way Yoga Center in San Diego, nor my favorite sequencing for Restorative, but it was a sweet class. I will definitely go back for more classes with her.
Oh, and they were celebrating Valentine’s week, so the students were walking in with plastic cups of wine. One student gave me a bit of a hard time for not getting a glass, but I smiled my way through it and said “maybe after class.”
I will definitely return to this Center and try more classes. I do not need wine with class, when yoga gives me such a relaxed natural “high,” but I am glad that they were all friendly and having fun.
I even made it to a second class at another Yoga Center that week, which was equally rewarding. I was venturing out of my comfort zone. Away from my Studio and my Style. I pushed through my fear of trying something new and look forward to returning to these classes again.
At our Center, A Gentle Way, each week when new students walk into our doors, and try a class with me, I smile deeply inside, and always try to remember to thank them for showing up. I know it takes courage for some of us to just get, up, and then show up anywhere each day. To show up somewhere new takes even more courage.
I think that is why our monthly Beginning Yoga for Newcomers’ Workshop is always full and successful, because these students know they will not be the only new ones walking through our doors. They always tell me the workshop was a lot of fun and they like having new “yoga buddies” to attend classes with that met at the workshop.
For those of you who have a hard time trying something new, wondering if you will be able to fit in, or practice yoga safely, I understand. I appreciate and honor you!