The Yoga Journey, Part One: The First Class, by Tessa Miller

Our weekly blog provides insight into different Yoga experiences.  Remember, Yoga is a journey.  It takes patience and practice.  Enjoy reading about Tessa's own Yoga experiences!

The Yoga Journey, part one: The First Class

When I was fourteen I thought I should be on the cover of Vogue.  I looked that good when I got dressed in the morning.  Picture this, a stunning purple velvet "lounge" suit that had a nice satin hem around the bottom of the pants, and a fancy button at the top.  I know what you're thinking, you wish you had owned one.  I know. 

My hair hadn't seen a brush since probably sixth grade, and at the time I was wearing it nice and long, but had no concept of how to do long hair and make it not look like I was homeless.  So on the sides of my head I sported a lovely look of Princess Leia buns, with two, long, straight, pieces of hair just hanging down in front of my face.

Then I wore purple (obviously, the lounge suit was purple) toe socks with blue (I didn’t own purple) flip flops so the toe socks could actually be seen.

We all you know you probably wanted to dress like that, too, so let’s just all deal with the fact that I was a fashion guru.

Also, when I was fourteen, I tried my first Yoga class.  While I was sure I would be able to just float in the air like that guy Special Head on America’s Got Talent (youtube it, you’re welcome), I decided in my fourteen year old mind after my first class that I simply did not like Yoga.  I figured I should stick to fashion instead.

My mother, the Yoga genius we all aspire to, was teaching a class to our youth group at church.  So I strutted my hot little lounge suit into the room thinking I could rock that class because my MOM taught it.  How could I be bad at it?

So we all started to get comfortable in a seated position.  I was so good at it already.  I could sit upright for about ten seconds.  Mom started trying to quiet our minds, and all I could even try and think about was how my hair kept falling out of its buns.  And then my back started to hurt so I needed to smush around on my mat a little to make my back more comfortable.  But then my feet started to fall asleep from being crossed for so long, and I had boney shins so I couldn't possibly cross my legs for that long because my shins were so boney NO WONDER my feet fell asleep.  Then Mom told us to start breathing, but I was too busy trying to wake my feet up and free my back from what I can only assume was an alien trying to burrow into it, to focus on the fact that my lungs felt like fire and I couldn't breathe because I was holding my breath in an effort to sit upright for twenty five years.

When I thought I was for sure dying, Mom made me get up into this pose that was supposed to look like a dog, but all I could think about was how my lounge suit was not at all appropriate wear to have my butt sticking up in the air.  And then I fell over.

My tree pose was more like a tumble weed, and my happy baby was more like pissed off baby, because only cats can get their legs to bend that way.  And let's not even discuss how impossible Mountain pose was.  It's a resting posture, and I was pretty sure RESTING meant LAYING DOWN, because I wasn't resting at all with my chin tucked back to make my neck look fat and my fingers stretched towards the earth in a way that isn't actually physically possible.  Then I fell over again.

By the time we got to lay down in Savasana, my Leia buns were falling out (which was upsetting), and the hair pieces hanging in front of my face had gotten sweaty in my effort to keep breathing (which wasn't even possible).  My lounge suit was half falling off and the velvet had gotten mashed, and my toe socks were starting to slip off.

I swore I was NEVER DOING YOGA AGAIN.  And I didn't for about three years.  I lost the Leia buns, and I think Prince must have asked for my Purple Rain lounge suit back, because I don't have it anymore.  I also walked back into a Yoga class (wearing normal clothes).  I liked it better the second time, it left me feeling good, but it wasn't any easier, so it was better to just not go.  I practiced off and on the next few years, without doing anything steadily.

During that time, I never saw results, and my down dog was still offensive, and I almost always fell over.

But here's the thing.  When I started doing yoga on a regular basis, I actually GOT BETTER.  I got stronger.  I lost fifteen pounds.  My stomach actually had Abs instead of flabby fat.  I could stand on my head.  And down dog is one of my favorite poses now.

The first class is no indication as to how your practice will become.  And neither is the second, third, or fiftieth.  I'm STILL evolving (with Yoga and my fashion sense).  But thinking about that first class gives me hope.  I have come a long way, and that feels good.