We can talk ourselves into a lot of things and talk ourselves out of them just as quickly.
I am intrigued by the difference between the person that comes to yoga class for the first time and not only stays for the entire class but returns another day in spite of the fact they were obviously struggling a bit during the session - and another person that comes to class once but never steps over the yoga class threshold again.
If you can catch them at the right time you are able to turn the "once in class and running as fast as they can away from the door" person into a regular attendee. It involves bringing that internal voice outside for a discussion.
A few years ago a girlfriend joined me for a flying trapeze adventure in a city a few hours away. We were both terrified of jumping off the platform as we stood on the ground watching the other flyers, but when I reached the top and it was time to go - I listened carefully to the trainer's instructions and jumped - screaming all the way. When it came to my friend's turn, she seemed paralyzed. Each time after several minutes of building anxiety, she would finally exit the platform. But since she hesitated, she missed the opportunity to fly through the air with the greatest of ease. She would swing back and forth through half swings and drop to the net below. When we were discussing the adventure over a margarita later that evening - she was agonizing over the conversations she had with herself at the top of the platform. Why was she telling herself negative things? -
that she hated it, that she wouldn't be able to do it, that it wasn't fun. She admitted that if she had a different discussion with herself before climbing up the narrow ladder to the platform the first time the outcome would have been so much more successful and fun. Ah - next time...
I believe the people that enter the yoga room and return have already had a few conversations with themselves. Maybe they said - this is good for you, you always wanted to try something new, this will be fun, I will take it one day at a time. Whatever they said, it keeps them coming back again and again. I believe those that run are saying - "I can't do this so I am never coming back" - instead of "I can't do this so I need to come back".
Catching them outside the room later allows for a conversation to turn those inner thoughts around. Encouraging them at the beginning of class and throughout (reminding them everyone is struggling and if they want - they are welcome to "become one with their mat") helps too.
What are you talking yourself out of?