“Welcome Tim, it’s great to see you today. Are you ready to begin your Wii yoga lesson?”
These lilting words emanated from the sound system of my television a few years ago. And there I was, geared up in a t-shirt, boxer shorts and shoes. Yes, shoes. I know, I know, no rightfully respected yogi or yogini wears shoes to practice yoga. I didn’t know that then, and, for all I know, maybe it’s a new statement to be made. At that moment in time, my shoes offered me stability and more support for my weak ankles; I could rock out the tree pose like nobody’s business. And the boxer shorts? Well, it was in my basement on a Monday morning and they were comfy.
And here I am today, a teacher of yoga after two years of moving to Vancouver and discovering more about alignment, anatomically connective tissues, fascia, and deep front lines. Gone are the days of watching the little red dot wavering erratically in a larger yellow circle, and having a pinging timer keep track of my stability and length of the pose. Gone are the running shoes...but I still sometimes practice in my underwear. Hey, they are comfortable AND they keep things where they are supposed to be.
After a stint of participating in group classes of hot yoga (my first introduction to the Vancouver yoga world), and now teaching the slow practices of Yin and Restorative yoga, I see and feel the benefits greatly. I love being part of a group of people that are there to not only feel different physically, mentally and emotionally, but also to share in a group event of support and camaraderie. We all have the tools and avenues of practicing yoga on our own time, in our own homes, in our own attire, but we also have these beautiful avenues that draw people together into a community.
When I reach back to those memories of hearing my Wii coach guide me into a pose and giving me a “Way to go, Tim”, when I did something well, I relate a lot to how classes are taught today. Particularly, how we can create a greater sense of inclusion for those who have never tried yoga before. It’s easy to go back to those moments and feelings of insecurity and fear.
Am I doing this pose right?
Am I feeling the way I am supposed to be feeling?
Did I put on my good underwear today (just in case the elastic band is showing over my shorts)?
We all get to start somewhere and we can all share our knowledge of “coming out as a newbie yogi”. If we don’t share what we enjoy doing, we probably won’t be doing much more of it in the future.
So, if you don’t have the matching water bottle, mat, fingernail polish and outfit, don’t worry. If your downward facing dog is looking a little tired and boxy, rock it out the best that you can. Practice makes you better, and the more you are able to practice something you love, the more you will want to play and get involved in an amazing community of yogis, who all started from somewhere. Maybe even a Wii.