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If someone told me when I started doing yoga that the hardest part of the practice would be getting on the mat, I wouldn’t have believed it. During the first six months of doing yoga, I looked forward to my classes. I couldn’t wait to see what poses we would do and afterward I would be thinking about what we did for a long time. My friends thought I had yoga on the brain because I couldn’t stop talking about it.
My enthusiasm for yoga carried me on a wave of excitement. Some poses in yoga are more accessible to me than other poses are. During the honeymoon period, I could easily accept this fact. I thought I would just continue to work on the pose and it would get better. As time went on, I wasn’t happy with my lack of progress with these difficult asanas. I began to dread doing them in class. One of the poses that I have a lot of trouble with is shoulder stand. Near the end of one yoga class, we got into plow pose and then the teacher asked us to get into shoulder stand. I was already miserable in plow pose because my throat felt very constricted. I was trying to relax the muscles in my neck as much as possible, but when I moved my legs to get into shoulder stand it became worse. Not only was I trying to relax the area around my throat, I also had to concentrate on balancing vertically. Shoulder stand is considered a very relaxing pose, but I only felt stressed and uncomfortable. I could also feel my heart beating very quickly.
After class, while the other students were laughing and making small talk, I felt isolated and depressed. This was not the first time I had done shoulder stand or plow pose, but it seemed harder this time, both physically and emotionally. I didn’t want to go to class again because I didn’t want to repeat the experience. I also couldn’t stand being the loser in the class who couldn’t do the pose. This feeling stayed with me for several days.