The other day my six-year-old daughter was preparing for her first piano lesson. She shuffled toward me with her head down. “Mommy, I’m kind of embarrassed to go to piano lessons,” She said, “because I don’t know anything about playing the piano.”
I’ve seen this so many times before. Not with my daughter, this was actually the first formal extra-curricular activity she was attending. But I’ve seen this for years… with yoga students.
I got down on my knees. I told her that a lot of people come to take my yoga class and they feel just the same way she does. They feel embarrassed because they don’t know what certain words mean and how to do certain poses. She continued to stare at her feet.
Then I asked if she wanted to know a secret. Of course she said yes – she’s six. I told her that as a teacher I NEVER expect new students to come into class knowing things already. I told her that I knew it was my job to teach them about yoga, just like her piano teacher knows it’s his job to teach her all about playing the piano.
It seems obvious that one wouldn’t be expected to already know how to play piano when they walk in for their first piano lesson, yet for some reason so many people are incredibly nervous and even embarrassed about coming into their first yoga class and not knowing what to do.
The secret every new yoga student should know is that everyone else in the room was new at some point too, including the teacher, who knows they are there to teach you. And if the teacher doesn’t know this…well, then you know more than them!
So don’t stress about what you know or don’t know when you head to your first (or even 100th) yoga class. Remember, you are probably there in part to decrease the stress in your life! The most important thing you can do is show up. A lot of things will be the same each time you come, and you’ll learn over time – like we all did.
(Which, by the way, is an acknowledgement of respect and spiritual connection)