Why we do what we do!?!

Let me take you back to the start, probably about 9 years ago when I did my first yoga class at a studio on the Gold Coast. It started with the entry price of $25 for one class which was fine until I realised I had to get a mat as well. So I did and she asked for $2 to hire my mat but the minimum eftpos transaction amount was $20, really? Who carries $2 coins in their yoga pants. To date, this still really bugs me! Do I have to carry my own weights to the gym or bring my own scissors to the hairdresser? I don't think so. Da heck is going on there. Anyway a lovely lady behind me donated $2 and off I went. 

I wasn't exactly sure which room I was meant to go to so I just followed some other girl. The class was a beginner vinyasa flow class; I had no idea what that meant but beginner was good enough for me. Of course like every true beginner I found the corner furthest away from the teacher; its like back at school when you were unprepared for class. I rolled out my $2 mat which was purple and smelled of something unidentifiable. 

The teacher entered the room, she seemed very approachable and looked exactly how I imagined a yoga teacher to look like. She spoke in a therapeutic voice which wigged me out a little, then the waterfall-bird music came on. She started gonging on some bowls and we were asked to close our eyes while she was singing a mantra I believe (but I still am not sure), some people started singing with her and I sat there one eye open; squinting and with laser vision trying to check out the timetable to see if I was in the right class. I genuinely thought to myself OMG, what kind of cult did I just enter (read on, I now know better). The part of the asanas (postures) started about 20mins later, it is needless to say that I had no clue what I was doing, nor did I understand anything of what was going on "pull your left leg, breathe in, breathe through your throat into your stomach". What does that even meeeean! Isn't that how its normally done. I strongly disliked life at that moment. 

What I also remember from back then is that it really bothered me that the teacher would not correct me. Coming from a weight lifting background I couldn't comprehend how that wasn't the norm. At the end of the class, we did our savasana and I was reflecting on what just happened. I couldn't wait to get out that day. I am regularly talking to people who had similar experiences which inspired me to start the studio.

Today, I understand the things that went on in that class room, I understand the chanting, the pranayama (breathing) and the meditation, however I will never forget how I felt that day. I went out of my comfort zone to try something new and it felt so awkward and wrong. It is OK to start your practice slower; you don't have to be hit with everything at once. When you are ready you can decide into the next phase after the asanas. 

I obviously gave it another go at the a gym where I felt a bit more settled. However there was still no adjusting or correcting of my postures and as much as I want to think I was gracefully moving like a gazelle and was bloody perfect, I sure know I was not! Most of the time I spent figuring out what my left arm or leg was. Lol. 

When I started thinking about opening the studio I wanted to create something that had small enough class sizes for the teacher to give attention to all students. Where the teacher can have a yarn but also has time to help you advance at your practice. I wanted to create a culture where we can laugh during class, where strangers chat to each other and friendships are made. I also wanted to create a studio where men feel comfortable enough to join! I always wanted to have a male only class as I find males extremely underrepresented in yoga. It is so beneficial to everyone and will help other aspects of your life as well, not just the physical side but your focus and patience. 

Embrace; we should always celebrate each individual that is willing to step out of their comfort zone to trial something new.

Be well! 

Rima Alijew