New School Fool

Whenever I go to a new yoga studio, or get a teacher who I haven't had before, they invariably ask: "how long have you practiced yoga?" I hate answering that question because my answer is "10 years". "Oh wow!" they say. After 10 minutes, however, it is clear that I look like a n00b. Why is this? I have a few theories:

I'm a Yoga Idiot

Maybe I'm just not very good?

Changing Schools/Teachers

I don't think changing schools or teachers is a bad thing, but I do think it can make you feel like a yoga idiot. Different teachers have different aspects that they focus on, they have different asanas (poses) that they practice, and different pose sequences. I had a class today where we did some poses that I've never done before, so obviously I wasn't good at that pose. But triangle pose? Bring it!

Conditioning

There are sports where technique and muscle memory are not enough for proficiency. Taking 2-4 weeks off a sport like rock climbing or yoga to nurse an injury, or because life gets in the way, will significantly reduce your strength and endurance. It could take weeks to get back to the level you were at before taking a break.

Summary

Getting a new teacher, practicing infrequently, or returning from a break can shake your confidence in an activity. Don't give up. It is hard to be good at some things without doing them frequently and recently.  Bear with the embarrassment for a few weeks and get back to a level where you feel less like an idiot and more like a practitioner. Also, try not to let your preconception of the right way to do something get in the way of the opportunity to learn from a teacher who has a different emphases or style than what you're familiar with.
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