For as long as I can remember, I have been frightened of yoga. The thing itself scares me. Despite the fact that everybody in the whole world seems to do it (and shows us this every day through the medium of Instagram), it's something that I was absolutely sure that I could never do. Even though the aforementioned Insta-Yogis made incredibly difficult manoeuvres look like the easiest thing in the world, their amazing bodies, dedication to the sport and my few drunken attempts at the exercises myself, put me right off.
I love the idea of it. I would love to be a yogi, I would love to be strong enough to do the crow and be able to show off to my mates about the fact that I just 'don't feel myself until I've done my yoga watching the sunrise'. But the realities of it, scared me half to death. Not least of all because I have never met a person who was bad at yoga. Everyone I know that does it now has been doing it for ages and loves it, my boyfriend included (although when we talk about that we have to call it broga...). I think I thought that everyone who does yoga has been doing it their entire lives. I've never seen a 'beginners class' advertised anywhere or spoken to someone about their first time doing it. I didn't want to be the worst, I didn't want to be crap at it, I didn't want to stick out from the crowd or be laughed at, I didn't want to embarrass myself.
But I did want to do it. And if I was going to make that work then I was going to have to get over the rest of it. So yesterday morning, that's exactly what I did. I booked myself into a class, I woke up at 6am. (6AM?!?!?!) got dressed, had a cup of coffee and then looked at myself in the mirror. SHIT, was the exact thought that I had. I'm going to yoga for the first time to a 6.30am class that will no doubt be full of countless beautiful regulars and I look a mess. An actual mess by the way, it's not just me being self-depricating: the immense heat in London has meant that every morning I wake up with a bird's nest on top of my head where my hair used to be, I have sleep in my eyes and a sever case of pillow face. I was NOT going to go to yoga for the first time looking like this, today was going to be hard enough, I wanted to at least feel confident enough to try this properly.
So I did something I thought I would never do, I put makeup on just for my gym trip. I thought I'd feel shallow and pathetic but was surprised to find that I actually felt empowered and quite impressive. So THIS is what it's like to be a yogi eh?? I didn't go mad with it, I went for what I think we'd call a 'no makeup, makeup look' using the Nude by Nature collection (which was made with exactly this in mind btw), I put a bit of foundation on (it's very light and dewy so I didn't feel like a cake), did my best with the bags under my eyes using a concealer, contoured ever so slightly, to give the illusion of a cheekbone, applied a spot of highlight to make me look healthy and yoga-ey and then powdered the shit out of my forehead because it was already 22 degrees and I foresaw sweat.
It can't have taken more than three minutes but the difference was massive. Rather than avoiding mirrors on the way to the gym (something that I normally do) I was happy to give myself the appreciative head-bob as I caught my own reflection. Walking in I didn't feel like the biggest fraud of them all and totally out of place (even if I did have to put my hand up at the beginning of the class and admit to my novice-status), of course no one in there was looking at me, they probably wouldn't have given two flying fucks if I'd come in in my pyjamas but for my own anxious, over-thinking mind, this made all the difference, I. felt. good. Which is something I will rarely say about ANYTHING at 6.30 in the morning.
The class itself? You know what? I fucking loved it. There was a LOT that I could not do. When the instructor told us that we could 'jump' between positions rather than stepping I ignored her, when she instructed us to attempt the crow I adopted child's pose (basically lying down with your arse in the air) and when something got too difficult or too confusing I simply stopped doing it. No one noticed me, no one even looked at me, I was left totally to my own devices.
I am going to go back. it's going to become my Tuesday morning thing. I think it's going to be great. I have even set myself the challenge of mastering the crow by September so now I know I can't bail. I can't believe I'm saying it but I think I might become a yoga-er. (I'm not going to say 'yogi', as much as I would like to be one of these I don't think that will ever really be me.)
And I'm also going to keep wearing makeup, I'm going to start wearing it to all of the classes that I've been scared to get back into. I know that it was all in my head but psychologically I felt so much stronger, better and more confident because I knew that I looked good. I'm sure this won't last forever, I'm sure that within a couple of weeks I'll feel secure enough to walk in to the gym with my #justwokeuplikethis face on but for now, I'm painting.
Confidence is 90% of everything. And if makeup helps you to feel a little more confident than you gotta do it. I wrote yesterday about my relationship with makeup and how, despite the fact I keep being shamed for wearing the stuff, it's my face and it helps get me through the day, this totally applies here. And so just in case you're on the hunt for some products that are natural as hell, subtle and actually very good for working out in, check out Nude by Nature a totally cruelty free brand that make beautiful products that I love: p.e.r.f.e.c.t for summer!