The goal of the teacher in my very first yoga class was for us to walk out feeling “introduced to relaxation”. I was 29 years old and was in my first year of having moved to London from South Africa. I was looking for something in doors (normally cold and wet) and close.
The road I was renting in had a yoga centre I walked past… with taster classes for those wanting to see what was going on. I had resistance to overcome… the centre seemed religious. It was run by Swamis wearing orange and volunteers. The classes included chants and omming, and no Lycra and energy drinks. But I gave it a go.
I did come out of it feeling relaxed, and curious. The exercise was gentle, but nudges you from wherever you are. That remained a key lesson for me when I became a yoga teacher. The temptation is to dump learning on students. To correct everything. If you try correct everything, you normally correct nothing. A willingness to nudge patiently means you can take things from where they are.
Turns out the centre and yoga in general are not religious in the sense I was brought up… and I was able to apply the Bruce Lee approach of “take what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own”. Start from where you are… is useful. In 2009, I was 29, and in the same road as a yoga centre. I started. Happy 29th birthday South Africa.