I went to my first proper yoga class three years ago. I was working for Australia's foreign minister Kevin Rudd at the time, and my blackberry never left my palm. As his press secretary, I had journalists constantly calling... and emailing... and texting.
So I found a yoga teacher who let me look at my blackberry during class. It's quite blasphemous, I guess, and it went against all the teachings of yoga -- to let go, to devote time to yourself, to breathe. But with that permission, I went to his class every Sunday that I wasn't traveling overseas.
Knowing I could look at my blackberry and action anything that was urgent meant I could be in the moment (until that red flash came up) without a dreaded panic attack that I was missing a super important media inquiry.
I would be in "Trikonasana" (triangle pose) and my teacher would walk past mocking me -- "Blackberry-Asana". At least he could make a joke out of it. And that's when he taught me one of life's most important lessons: Even if I couldn't give myself 100 percent to something, it wasn't worth missing out on things I still really enjoyed.
Now before you have a vision of me as a yogi, I just want to clarify that I'm not one of those yogis that sits on her head and meditates for hours. I'm definitely one that sweats, that has an ironic smile every time her teacher says, "Sit with the discomfort," which of course is their way of teaching me about the discomfort of life and that I should stop running away from things.
I'm definitely a yogi that struggles to get out of bed, that is thinking about my first coffee when I'm in my first downward dog and that worries about breaking my wrists when I'm trying to do crow pose.
But I am a yogi nonetheless.
For those of you contemplating going to your first yoga class and are hesitant, don't focus on what you can't do, but focus on what you can do. All of us should be able to do the two most powerful poses: "Savasana" (lying in corpse pose not moving) and "warrior four" (sitting back on your heels and stretching your back).
And if at the very least you do only these two things for the duration of your class you would have done the most powerful thing you could have done: sit through the discomfort.
Over the next few weeks, I have committed to myself (and to my teacher) to write down how I feel after yoga and what it brings me. This is the first part of that series.
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