Beginner Yoga Anxiety: What did I just sign up for?

I distinctly remember walking into my first yoga class... anxious.


Athletically, I was a lot of things – a long distance runner, late night weightlifter, exercise physiology lab nerd, and early morning bootcamp junkie. I liked what I “knew” and was a creature of routine thanks to my “type A” personality.


My relationship with exercise helped ease my “anxiety”.


Anxiety is an interesting internal terrain, because it can feel “cyclic” at times. A deep-rooted feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about an imminent event or outcome – my hands still get clammy just thinking about it. Followed by a full-bodied SIGHof relief after the event concludes.


I made sure to arrive to my first yoga class 15 minutes early, signed my waiver, and proceeded to the lockeroom. Shedding some layers and locking up my belongings... I could feel my heartbeat pick up pace. I noticed everyone else was moving with a little more urgency, so I took the hint and followed suit. Walking into the heated room (the door closed quickly behind me), I could hear the loud hum of the humidifier and I quickly searched for a spot as my pores already began to drip with sweat down my spine.


Thinking to myself -- What did I just sign up for? I unrolled my yoga mat and took a seat.


Note to all new yogis: survey the room before you stake your claim.


Pro Tips:

  1. In a heated room, if you notice vents along the walls -- odds are there will be air exchange near that space (either excessive warming or cooling trends).
  2. Check the ceilings for heating vents, panels, or humidifiers. Sidestep going directly under them if possible to help avoid excessive sweating, rapid pulse, and overheating.
  3. Ideally, avoid the front row so you can watch others for set-up cues, modifications, and fluid transitions.
  4. Music speakers tend to be in the corners. Audio is loudest directly in front of speakers and the best acoustic experience is staged toward the middle of the room.
  5. If you post up near the door or windows, it might be cooler – but know that at the end of class people will be shuffling by you to exit the door.
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