How Difficult Should a Beginner’s Class Be?

I went to the Yoga for Weight Loss class last night and had a bad experience. I was by far the fattest person in the room (and I had actually feared the class would be too easy). About 3/4 of the way through I was sweating, frustrated, and in certain poses I was shaking, and in other ones I had to use my hands to put my foot where it should go because it wouldn’t go there on its own. All in all I left there very discouraged.

Out of the 18 or so people there, there were probably only five people who said they had little to no yoga experience, myself included. The class, by the way, is billed as a beginning level class.

I went up to the instructor afterwards and told him that the class was very hard for me. He told me to not compare myself to anyone in the room, do modified moves, and sit out an occasional position. I didn’t think that was the greatest advice since I’d be the only one sitting and watching the rest of the class. I feel like the class should be designed for people who are out of shape and everyone else can modify their positions to be harder. That’s just my view. It’s really not a good way to get new people into yoga.

When I got home I sent my sister in law an email asking her for some words of encouragement. She has practiced and studied yoga for many years and she responded by telling me that yoga is all about breathing and she wonders if this teacher is a very good teacher.

I think he is, but I feel he may have gotten out of touch with what it’s like to be a novice and/or not in shape.

I’m not giving up yet, but I think it’s a shame that I have to use all my determination to make myself go back there. I felt pretty sore in various places last night after the class, but woke up today no worse for wear, thank god. And I was eager to get into the water to wash away that bad experience.

I got directly into the lap pool today at 10:20 and swam for an hour, almost all freestyle. It felt so great. I am the fattest person doing laps as well, but I swim pretty well for a big person. I then spent about 25 minutes in the deep pool doing the usual ab and miscellaneous work. Came home just now and gobbled a cup of low fat cottage cheese. It was the best thing I’ve ever eaten! Now I’m sipping a small glass of carrot juice.

I’m excited because in an hour I’m getting my hair trimmed. I realize this isn’t a big deal for most people, but it’s been three months since my last haircut and it was a really bad haircut. Even when I sat in the chair afterwards, I looked at her as if to say, “What’s this?” I held the sides of my hair which were two very different lengths. She sort of fiddled with it, but I got home and realized I had never had a worse haircut. I decided to let it grow out so that I could cut it evenly with the shorter side.

There’s a lesson here in how to be assertive, but I wasn’t assertive, and I don’t really know how to be assertive. I have made an appointment at another salon this time and won’t go back to the other one.

Speaking of assertive, my mother is making a really unhealthy dinner tonight and I don’t want to eat it. I’m not sure what to do. She’s super sensitive and gets her feelings hurt easily. I guess I’ll just eat a few bites.

My daughter has begun a university program for women in transition. One of the first courses is in learning how to be assertive and I could really use a class like that.

I have thought a lot about my post yesterday about my not liking being fat and wondering if other fat people enjoy it. I don’t imagine all fat people are self loathing but I often was. I have to tell you, however, I didn’t realize the full extend of my shame about being fat until I was on this journey to better health. Suddenly I realized that my unhappiness over my physical condition had played a far bigger role in my misery than I had ever dared to admit.

I am sure there’s another lesson for me regarding the intensity of the yoga class. I had been feeling pretty good about myself for doing so well swimming. I thought other activities would be a welcome challenge, but not so bad that I begin to feel badly about myself again.

I have a choice to do some yoga practice at home and then on Monday give the class another chance. I cannot afford to waste money on classes that I will not complete. Or I could just give up yoga and try something else. I haven’t decided yet. But to be honest, I’d like to do something where I feel it is achievable for me in my current condition; something that will encourage me to continue on and get better. I think yoga can be that, but only if the instruction is right. Later today I’ll look online for some instruction and give it a go.

Perhaps my new level of fitness has given me one thing, I’m not giving up as easily as I would have in the past.

Follow me on Twitter @movingliquid1

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3 responses to “How Difficult Should a Beginner’s Class Be?

  1. Good for you to continue. Remember no movement goes to waste in yoga. Be patient and kind with yourself and your body.

  2. You must learn to swim more……then eat, talk and write less.

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