had a frustrating first attempt at taking a yoga class today. i haven't taken any kind of group exercise class since i was maybe 11 years old, but i've wanted forever to take a yoga class, and today there was one at my gym right after my trainer appointment. i'd looked forward to it all week.
got into class, got my little spot—what an exercise in human behavior this was. everyone else seemed to know exactly what to do, to position their mats just so, to put their sticky mats on top of the gym-provided whatever-they're-called mats, to sit in the center of the mat just so while waiting for class to start. i did my best to just do whatever everyone else was doing.
the beginning of class was super cool. the instructor was friendly and seemed approachable, soothing yet somehow also energetic, full of encouragement to smile and be happy while we were doing this. but. then the hard stuff started.
it isn't like i thought i'd be able to do everything everyone else was doing. my lower back still spasms painfully when i try to bend over too quickly or too far. but i had heard for years how group instructors are always really good about giving alternatives ("if this is too difficult, put your knee down" or "just go as far as you can").
although she said those kinds of things sometimes, they were never about the things that were hard for me or making my back freak out. so one frustration was in trying to keep up with instructions that i didn't understand or couldn't do as quickly as everyone else before she moved onto the next thing, but a lot of frustration was just feeling pain and not knowing the best adaptation to make to whatever everyone else was doing, so that i could be doing SOMEthing until they were ready to move onto the next thing.
plus, we spent a lot of time in downward-dog pose, which puts all your weight (at least, the way i experienced it) on your wrists, and my wrists are shit from working on a keyboard and mouse all day and knitting needles all evening and weekend. so i ended up cheating those poses into child pose sometimes instead. but the problem was that, if i found the pose sequence difficult or frustrating or painful the first time, repeating it five or six or eight times without giving me adaptations that would help was just making it five or six or eight times more difficult or frustrating or painful. and i wasn't interested in spending the whole hour in child pose (as awesome as child pose feels, it's pretty silly to do it in a room with a bunch of other people doing all kinds of other shit) (especially when those other people are clearly more advanced than me, doing even things that the instructor wasn't mentioning—definitely experienced yoga practitioners).
although i had gone into the class resolved to do my best and stick through the whole hour, i was so frustrated and humiliated and in such physical pain in both wrist and lower back that i finally gave up. i sprayed off my mats as quietly as i could, returned them to their original spots, and left. i kind of want to cry. i'm so angry that i couldn't keep up, but i'm also angry that the class couldn't accommodate a novice.
so. that happened. i'm so sad because i really wanted to incorporate this into my life. and before we got to the fast-moving ratatat business, i remember thinking, "wow! this is great! i should do this every day!"