Beginner’s Anxiety

I did something on Friday I have never done before. I took a yoga class.

Every single part of me didn’t want to go. But I used all the tools I could think of to get through it. I meditated for a half an hour before I left the house. I took deep slow breaths. I tried to picture the experience going well. I tried to picture myself having a good time. I repeated to myself, “I am fine I can do this,” over and over.

Most importantly I did not allow myself to back out, no matter how much I wanted to.

Before I even left the house my heart was screaming all the different reasons I should quit.

The holidays are a stressful time, you shouldn’t put more stress on yourself, better to wait and try after Christmas.

You felt a little sick yesterday, better to stay home in case you are catching a cold.

 It’s freezing outside and nice and warm at home, better to stay home.

You are tired, better to begin on a day you have had more rest.

And then once I arrived there were a new set of reasons to leave.

You can’t find a parking spot close to the front door, better to come back on a day you won’t have to walk so far in the cold.

You are two minutes late, you should leave and try to be early next time.

You don’t know what room the class is in and you will have to talk to someone and ask for help… and that sucks.

The class is pretty full, better to leave now and come back on a day its less busy.

These are just some of the excuses my head came up with to get me out of going. But, I didn’t back down. I reminded myself that the first class is going to be hard no matter what. If I do it in the winter or summer, if I have a front parking spot or not, if I am on time or late, no matter how much sleep I have had. None of those reasons are reasons to stop. And if I backed out this time, I would have to go through this anxiety all over again, only next time it would be worse.

That was really the clincher that stopped me from quitting. I knew that if I backed out I would feel instant relief. However, in doing so I would be training my brain that backing out was the way to feel better. Then the next time I tried to go my anxiety would be kicked up a notch because my brain would be trying to create the same pattern. Not the pattern of going, but the pattern I had done once already and felt relief, the pattern of backing out.

So I didn’t back out. I took the first step in creating a pattern for success.

I did it. I went.

The actual time I spent in class wasn’t that bad. It was a little uncomfortable, but nothing torturous. And it was worth it because I am sure it will be a thousand times easier to go next time.

However, once the class was over… I became a whimpering ball of twitchy nerves. It’s not pretty and it’s not fun. I knew it would be hard before going, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so hard afterwards. As I write this it’s been a full twenty-four hours since I went and … well I am still sporadically bursting into tears.

I would love to say that I know tomorrow will be easier. I would love to say that by tonight I will be back to my normal self. But I don’t know that. And if how I feel now is any indication, I wont be back to normal by tonight. I may still be feeling the effects well into next week. Of course it doesn’t help that next week is Thanksgiving. I do not have my normal routine to look forward to and take comfort in. It might be possible that I don’t feel like myself again for a while. I hope that is not the case, but I will accept it if it is.

I will use my tools to do what I can to take care of myself in the meantime. And that may mean I work from bed… wrapped up in blankets… alone. If that is what I need than I will do it, and try really hard to not feel bad about it.

I don’t regret going to the yoga class, even though I am suffering now. Doing yoga is important to me and I have wanted to add it to my life for quite some time. I don’t think I will feel like this after every time I go. I do think no matter when I went; the first time was going to be this bad. I am glad I am going through it already. Who knows, maybe I am nearly through the worst of it.

And no matter what, I never ever ever have to take my first yoga class ever again. That makes it totally worth it. Now, if you’ll excuse me I am going to go bury my face in a pillow and weep softly.

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