First, a little back story.
In high school, I was definitely overweight. I was easily 200 pounds, though I never weighed myself to really know. I hated gym and sports. I was never really the competitive type and was usually picked last on a team. In middle school I purposefully took band a choir to get out of gym class. In high school I couldn't get out of it. Let me tell you how awful swim class was for me (it was required to graduate).
After I graduated high school, I went to college like most of my other class mates. My family isn't terribly wealthy, so I went to the local University, lived with my parents, worked part time and went to school full time. I couldn't afford to pay for a parking permit or gas, so I walked to school. It was 40 minutes one way. Needless to say, I lost a lot of weight. I went from that 200 or more down to about 135!
I took a non-western music class where I did my final project on belly dancing. I was interested in it, so I figured it was a good place to learn about it. I started doing the belly dance DVDs and a few friends create a belly dance club on campus so I joined them. I learned a lot about my body during that time and had a lot of fun in the process.
One semester I found myself one class short of the full time status which I needed to keep my parent's insurance. I decided to take a yoga class they had there, thinking it would help me become more flexible for belly dance. I knew one of the famous belly dancers also did yoga, and she was so gloriously bendy. The Iyengar class taught me that while I was thin, I wasn't very strong. I found a new love to go with my love for belly dancing.
Soon, I realized that I had found some things that would keep me fit and strong that weren't competitive and were actually fun. Sometimes that is the biggest part of working out.
Now, back to my passion. I want to help other people like me find the value and benefit of yoga. I am perfectly comfortable teaching people who have been doing yoga for years, who are looking for something new each time. I also love to teach people who have never done yoga or are just beginning their journey.
Yoga can be intimidating, only because of the way that it has been portrayed. Most people think people who do yoga are skinny and completely flexible. In reality, they have become flexible over time by continually doing yoga. As for the feeling that everyone is watching you in class, really all the other students in class are focusing on their own bodies, not yours.
I invite you to join a class somewhere near you. Go find the benefits yourself. Take the leap and try something new.
Namaste my friends,