As one of yoga's biggest fans, I'm always trying to persuade newbies to try a class. Whether you suffer from pain, stress, or you just want to get in shape for ski season, I'm convinced yoga is the answer. The problem is, some people are afraid to try yoga. Here are some popular yoga class fears and how to get over them.
"I'm worried I'll pass gas in class"
A valid fear, but at some point, all those twists and bends are bound to get things moving, and just about everyone I know has passed gas in class once or twice. Other students are very adult about it by pretending nothing happened. There are a few things you can do to prevent this possible embarrassment. Avoid eating gas-producing and high-fiber foods like beans, broccoli, and apples before class, and finish eating one to two hours before you head to the studio so your body has time to digest. If you know certain positions are bound to result in a loud outburst, move into them slowly. You can also choose classes that are highly populated or involve loud music so if you do let one go, it will be less obvious.
Keep reading to see what other fears keep people from trying a yoga class.
"I'll pass out from the heat."
Hot yoga classes like Bikram are crazy hot — think Florida in the Summer with 100 percent humidity. If you don't do well in the heat, start out with a different style of yoga such as vinyasa or jivamukti where the heat isn't turned up so high. Drink lots of water the day you plan to take class, eat something beforehand that's full of carbs and protein to give you energy, and if at anytime during the class you feel lightheaded, sit on your mat and take a break or step out of the room for fresh air.
"I'm the only one who can't touch their toes."
Yoga classes aren't only for the lithe and limber. That's the whole point of going — to become more flexible. Don't worry if you can't touch your toes, do a back-bend, or stand on your head; most people can't. If you're really self-conscious, start off with a beginner class filled with other newbies (rather than intimidating Patty Pretzels). Since it moves at a slower pace, you'll learn the basics and become comfortable, strong, and flexible enough to try out a regular class.