Let’s Talk About Yoga


I’m attending my first yoga class today in about 10 years, and I’m not sure what to expect.

Let’s take a few steps back. So, I’ve had a strange year in terms of my body. Without delving into the super awesome details, parts of my body have decided to stage a coup d’état…not really sure why, but a typical week now consists of twice weekly physical therapy appointments, supplements, worrying, and a good hunk of generalized what-the-hell-is-happening-to-my-body. Running is not an option anymore (which perpetuates the cycle…mama needs a good run to clear her head), and my overall exercise has dwindled to almost nothing. Basically, I’m a huge ball of fun over here.

My doctors and physical therapists have suggested yoga as a good way to help stretch my clenched muscles (and relax my mind), and I’m up for anything.

Yet. Yet! As a girl who usually gets REALLY excited at the thought of a new endeavor (swimming! sewing! running a 10k! let’s research it to death and buy all sorts of gear! and daydream! I AM GOING TO LOVE SAID NEW ENDEAVOR!), I just can’t get excited about yoga. What gives? Why am I already feeling negative about practicing yoga?

Is it the stillness? The lack of hauling ass for several miles? The time alone with my thoughts? The fact that I am less flexible than a 90-year-old?

And this is when I turn to you guys. Please tell me I’m being silly/scared/a freak and that yoga is the bomb. Or tell me it isn’t. All in all, I’d just love to hear your opinions. (Especially any yoga-changed-my-life-and-cured-my-ailments ones…yeah, those would be nice.)

photo credit: melissa mercier

  • Roxanna (miguelina)

    May 8, 2013 at 6:44 am

    The right studio and teacher is everything. I’ve recently recommitted to yoga and I love it. To me it’s both exercise and relaxation at once — and since I have no time to do anything anymore, I love the efficiency. I hope you find a good teacher! (Wanna be yoga buddies? I need motivation to hit the mat at 6 AM — we can instagram the proof to each other)

    • whoorl

      May 8, 2013 at 6:52 am

      That’s what I’ve heard, for sure. The place that I am trying out only has one beginner level on the days I want, so I’m starting there. Luckily it’s not first thing in the am, although I kind of miss working out that early! If I end up going in the morning, I will definitely be your buddy!

    • Just Shireen

      May 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

      I concur. The right teacher is essential. I love yoga. Plus, I have a desk job 6 days a week, so it’s kind of essential if I don’t want my body to curl in on itself. And it really does calm me. Even if I spend the whole class thinking about how I shouldn’t be thinking, I’m inevitably just in a better head space at the end of it.

  • Jenny

    May 8, 2013 at 6:51 am

    I’ve been doing yoga for just over a year after being an avid walker and taking lots of dance classes, and I’m so glad I tried it! It’s amazing how many different parts of your body it works and like Roxanna says if you find the right teacher (and class) you should be able to find something you’ll love. Sounds like you’d like something a little more intensive, so quicker moving, more emphasis and arm balances and poses that will be more of a challenge and really get you sweating. Those classes definitely exist and I bet there are some in your area. Good luck!

    • Roxanna (miguelina)

      May 8, 2013 at 6:54 am

      Yes! Forgot to mention, look for classes with flow and hot in the title. I think you’ll like it.

  • Krysta

    May 8, 2013 at 6:52 am

    I actually just started doing yoga again after taking 3 years off before/during/after having back surgery. I was always more of a casual yogi, going a couple of times a week when I was into it. Now, in addition to being out of practice I am also functioning differently post surgery so it has felt like a much steeper learning curve then when I started yoga for the first time. BUT! I will say that it is still a great work out! I really feel like I’m working with every class I take and I feel it after in my sore muscles. But I also much prefer yoga to running (which to be fair I generally dislike) or other bootcamp style classes.

  • Amber

    May 8, 2013 at 6:58 am

    I’m so sorry to hear that your body is rebelling! My body has done that a few times over the years and it’s rough. But I think yoga would be an amazing thing for you. I find that a good yoga class is very similar to a ten-mile run in terms of what it does for the inside of my brain. Yes, it can be hard – especially at first – and bring up a lot of emotion. (I’m totally that girl who cries.) But once that emotion lifts, you feel a zillion times better. Plus, yoga de-crunchifies your spine, super useful if you spend your days hunkered over devices. (Hi again.)

    It sounds like you have some resistance to trying it – which probably means yoga will be intensely valuable for you and possibly life-changing. Resistance is a little bastard that way.

  • Jessica

    May 8, 2013 at 6:58 am

    I totally agree that the studio and teacher matter a ton. Every class has a different feel and pace. I practiced yoga off and on for many years but it wasn’t until I found a great class that I really committed. Good luck today and don’t be discouraged if its not the right place. You can always try another one.

    Hope you feel better soon. Although I haven’t had any physical issues, yoga has done a ton to quiet my anxiety.

  • Amy

    May 8, 2013 at 6:58 am

    I really can’t say enough good things about yoga. I started practicing power vinyasa a little over a year ago & it’s literally changed my entire life. What I love about yoga is there really is a style for everyone, so try lots of places to find your best fit. Yoga is my most favorite way to work out because the style I practice is REALLY physically challenging to start & then ends with rest. I feel like the balance of challenge (which gets me out of my crazy brain) PLUS the space to rest & check in with myself has been perfect. Additionally, when I started, I was obese & no one ever made me feel like my body was anything less than capable AND I’ve lost a ton of weight — not only from the work out I get in yoga but because the yoga makes me feel really in touch with my body & less likely to cram it full of food. The emotional/mental side of yoga has also been life-changing. I am kinder, more patient & more present in my life. I just finished yoga teacher training through my studio & I don’t think I’ve ever loved anything as much.

    Starting a new journey like this can be scary & I get the resistance. Try a few places & then choose where & what style works. Email me any time! I could literally talk about yoga forever. I’m excited for you!!!

  • Shannon

    May 8, 2013 at 7:04 am

    I had lung surgery last August and was in a rut feeling sorry for myself through Christmas. (gained 30 lbs bla, bla, bla). Started back to yoga, have now dropped 30+ and feel awesome. I hit it 3x a week at least and love it. If you’re in California, you really need to try a CorePower Yoga. It’s pretty intense (maybe a sculpt class)…Good Luck

  • Shawna

    May 8, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Right studio and right teacher is instrumental. Also the right kind of yoga. I (based on my experience, please consult your doctor first, blahblahblah) reccomend heated power vinyasa yoga, preferable a Baron Baptiste studio. Enough calm at the beginning and end to clear your mind, and enough of a workout in the middle to make you sweat (and sweat and sweat). Every pose can be modified to compensate for whatever ails you. I started it 6 months ago on a whim and now I NEED it. I can’t explain the freaky alomst religious high I get from it. Before yoga, I was going to a chiropractor for neck/shoulder problems, an orthopedist for carpal tunnel, and a psychiatrist AND therapist. I was hopped up on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills, painkillers, etc. Now . . .NOTHING. No doctors, no drugs (except for the occasional Xanax), and I feel better about myself and my life than I ever have. For me, it was truly life-changing.
    With that being said, I went back to said orthopedist for my hip today because I screwed it up running a hlaf marathon this past weekend. He told me to stick with the yoga :)

  • Crys Wiltshire

    May 8, 2013 at 7:08 am

    I love yoga. My grandma actually taught me when I was only about 3 and I was always very into it. However, my story is a bit like yours – the past year and a bit, I have gone through all kinds of issues with my hips, ribs and even a surprise hernia. I’ve been to physiotherapists, chiropractors and massage therapists trying to figure it out… Due to the hernia, I had to step away from most fitness completely for quite a while. But today I am going back to my first yoga class in months. The key at this point will be to make sure you only do what feels comfortable and don’t over extend yourself as you’re getting back into it. You can work your way slowly into each position and will be able to extend your reach a bit more with each class.

  • erin//suchsmallsteps

    May 8, 2013 at 7:08 am

    I have been trying to do yoga once a week to balance out running and Crossfit and it’s making such a difference in my flexibility and ability to get over muscle soreness. Plus, it’s actually a great workout. I definitely think the right teacher makes a huge difference. The last time I did yoga regularly was when I was pregnant, years ago, but I’ve been enjoying getting back into it. Good luck- hope it makes a difference with your health.

    • Alice Q. Foodie

      May 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Erin are you in SD? Where do you go?

      • erin//suchsmallsteps

        May 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm

        Yes, in SD :) I love Ginseng the most, but it’s tough for me to get to South Park if there’s traffic. I have been doing yoga at my Crossfit studio which is in East County but they only offer it occasionally. I also belong to the Y but I am not sure who the good teachers are there. (also have been meaning to try the yoga on Mt Helix sometime!)

  • Liz

    May 8, 2013 at 7:09 am

    I was a pretty avid Yogi about 10 years ago leading up to my wedding and after. I fell out of practice after I had my kids but recently started going again. I agree, the right class/teacher are key. I am going to class at the YMCA right now because they have child care in the middle of the day when I want to go and my old yoga studio does not. I miss the studio so badly – the Y is just not the same and there is only one great class/teacher that I can make it to on their weekly schedule. I was going 3-4 times a week before. It was challenging, relaxing and amazing. I lost weight, I was toned and strong. I am also not a fan of running and my knees and joints are hurting more than they did years ago. I am looking forward to getting back to the studio when the stars align :) until then, I will take what I can at the Y.

    Here’s a video that my awesome Yoga teacher shared recently. It made me teary, but also determined to get back in the studio and work! It can transform you..

    • whoorl

      May 8, 2013 at 7:18 am

      I saw that video a few months ago and it was so touching. What an amazing story!

    • Luisa

      May 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Oh my goodness! That video! So inspiring. Made me cry.

    • Kerri Anne

      May 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      THAT VIDEO DOES NOT PLAY FAIR. (It’s amazing.) (I need another box of Kleenex now, please.)

  • Heather B.

    May 8, 2013 at 7:16 am

    You know what? I have so much to say based on our conversations and conversations with others that I’m going to write a post. I’ll shoot you a link.

    (I love and miss you very much)

    • whoorl

      May 8, 2013 at 7:18 am

      Thanks, HB. xoxo

  • Tracy

    May 8, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I want to love Yoga, but I’ve tried several different times, with different instructors, and yoga makes me sick. Literally. I’ve felt nauseous about 1/2 way through class every time I’ve tried it. Maybe it’s the upside down, head below the waist positions, maybe it’s the deep breathing, maybe it’s just me. I really wish I loved it.

  • Christi

    May 8, 2013 at 7:22 am

    I’ll echo what several other readers said above – even though you’re not “hauling ass” in a yoga class, the work is so much more challenging (and satisfying) than you can imagine! And the surprising part is that the intense concentration is totally relaxing. The best part, in my opinion, is leaving class feeling physically wrung-out and with a calm mind. In terms of results, I’ve found the more intense vinyasa flow classes give great fat burning and toning benefits. I started yoga years ago on a whim and I still love it. I’m a physical therapist now, and I recommend it highly to patients (and friends!) I hope you have a great experience at your class tonight!

  • Cass

    May 8, 2013 at 7:28 am

    There’s so many different kinds of yoga. Find one that challenges you! I always tell my husband (an avid avoider) that yoga makes me feel energized – like I’ve had a great workout – and calm at the same time. I can’t think of another sport that gives me that same feeling…

  • Sizzle

    May 8, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Yoga is a game changer. It’s not for everyone but it IS a work out despite what many might say. After some yoga classes I hurt in places I didn’t know existed. Some days I do not want to go but I always feel better after. The stillness parts did present some fear for me but I actually like that now. Us busy minded people can really benefit from quieting our minds. I hope you have fun!

  • Britta

    May 8, 2013 at 7:46 am

    I don’t normally comment on these things, but I want to give you a little peace of mind! I was in a car accident four years ago w cracked ribs, sternum, and fractured parts of my spine. It was miserable and I did pt for ever before I finally started doing yoga. Someone mentioned that it was like exercise and relaxation at the same time and I agree. I had a lot of anxiety and that time alone with my mind was so helpful bone thing I learned while doing yoga was meditation-so you’re actively not thinking about all those things that make you worried or stress for that hour you’re in yoga. I think it is a very healing activity and after a few classes you will feel stronger and more flexible and more centered if that makes sense. I think these particular physicsl results come quickly after just about the classes. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it. & I have tried bikram (hot) yoga as well – loooooove it, but not everyone does, so I would give it a try after you already love regular yoga. ;)

  • Jen

    May 8, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I absolutely LOVE my yoga practice. Stay away from hot or bikram. Hatha, gentle hatha will be your friend! A basics course is great. Finding the right teacher, who knows what they’re doing, is essential. You’ll find stretch, but also strength you never imagined. A teacher who brings in a meditation, pranayama (breathing), practice will help you find some of that head space that you used to get from running. Plus: you’ll find other green smoothie geeks! Good luck! I hope you find space and joy!

  • Suebob

    May 8, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Yoga is all about paying attention, which is so hard for most of us. It’s all a lesson – the irritation over someone putting their mat too close to yours, the impatience at holding a pose for what seems like hours…pretty soon you learn it’s not just about the poses, and then that starts to carry over into the rest of life.

    I’d echo what others have said – find a teacher and school that feels good to you. Mine is the nuttiest – a basement school with a skater chick teacher – but it feels right for me – fun and not judgmental.

  • Megan

    May 8, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Do your best to notice what you like and what you don’t like, to notice your own experience of the class while it’s happening. Maybe you’ll like it enough to try it another time, maybe you’ll never do it again. Either way, you’ll have tried something that you didn’t think you’d like, and that’s something – lifelong learning, etc.

  • Loa

    May 8, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Have you tried a chiropractor yet? For me it works better to get adjusted before PT. Yoga is good, but I’ve injured myself in yoga too, just don’t push yourself

  • Tanis Miller, Abdicated Redneck

    May 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I understand this so well. Due to injury (back, hips, knees) running is not a healthy valid exercise for me so I had to find something that constituted as exercise beyond sitting at my computer, reading your blog. I tried yoga. I was so so skeptical. And then I did it.

    And boy did I feel it. It was hard. It was awesome. It was EXERCISE.

    And I feel stronger every time I do it AND my back/hips/knees are healing and getting stronger too.

    It’s not quite the same as pounding pavement, but it is pretty darn good. Plus it leads to great blog post material over at my place. Wink.

    • whoorl

      May 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      I can’t wait to read all about it. I really really really want this to happen for me.

  • Rachel

    May 8, 2013 at 8:38 am

    You may not be feeling excited because you’re thinking of this as something other than exercise–it sounds like you get pumped to get a little bit of a tush whooping, a good sweat, etc.


    Yes, you can get far more, but if you’re not looking for those other things, then just take comfort knowing that you will still get a good workout if you maintain the integrity of the poses.

    I do yoga 4-7 times a week as my sole source of exercise. I have been, in past exercise lives, a gym rat, a runner, an elliptical junkie, and a workout-from-home type. I say this so you know I feel you on the hesitation and know that I have not always been all-yoga, allthetime. Injuries (tendonitis in both knees especially) have made yoga my best option.

    Nothing clears my head like yoga, and I promise, unless you’re in a very gentle restorative class, it is much more for your body than just a good stretch.

  • Alice Q. Foodie

    May 8, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Starting slow is a great plan – after you get a little more into it try a heated class. It will help with flexibility and get your heart rate up a little more, and you’ll feel amazing afterwards. The only thing I really don’t like about yoga is how time consuming it is – but there is nothing like the feeling after a really good hour and a half long vinyasa class!

  • Sarah aka MainlineMom

    May 8, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I haven’t read all the comments but I see some very awesome and encouraging ones. I’m a huge fan of yoga. I started practicing it after my first child at my local YMCA, but I lucked out and found an incredible instructor. I blogged about it extensively back then. I called her the yoga-nazi because she was kinda tough and extremely precise on alignment. I almost quit, I wasn’t flexible or strong at all. But then this hot guy substitute taught for her once, so I kept coming back. I learned to love her (and him) and even after I moved away and the she moved to New Zealand to open a studio, we kept in touch. Yoga absolutely cures carpal tunnel syndrome, no surgery needed. It has healed all kinds of ailments for me. I did full on power yoga three times a week through my second pregnancy, right up until the day I delivered, and it made a HUGE difference in my comfort level for nine months.

    More recently I became a runner, and I went back to working full time, so my yoga practice has slipped. But it’s a fantastic way to balance my running and keep me from getting injured. Plus of course, it’s incredibly good for the mind and spirit.

  • Julie

    May 8, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Much more a fan of pilates than yoga.

    • whoorl

      May 8, 2013 at 9:05 am

      I was hard core reformer for two years; unfortunately, with my specific issues, Pilates exacerbates the problem. :(

  • Katie

    May 8, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I’ve been a runner forever and was very resistant to trying yoga, because it was hard to believe it could be beneficial–it didn’t even sound like it would be a good workout! It’s definitely a different kind of workout than a good hard run, but I’ve found it to be really challenging and it’s been fun to see improvement over time. Runners tend to have imbalances and lack flexibility (at least I sure do), and yoga can really help with all that.

  • jen

    May 8, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I like a fast paced workout that keeps my fast paced, wandering mind quiet. The only yoga (and I’ve tried them all) that works for me is Bikram. There’s lots of debate about Bikram in yoga circles but I have to say, it kicks my butt, the pace is exactly what I need, and I feel amazing afterwards. The classes are long and hot but for me, it’s the perfect mind/body workout.

  • Amy

    May 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Love me some yoga! Honestly…I have to do it at least once a week. My mind, body and soul craves it. Give it a chance bc there are SO many yoga studios around here and you have to find the right class and the right place! I have no idea where you live now but let me share…I have been to most all!
    *Bikram at the camp=hotter than haiti hell but the sweat is like nothing I have ever experienced. I like to avoid this practice:)
    *Core Power Yoga in Irvine & CM=one of my faves! It is “heated” which is just the right heat to warm up your muscles and give you a great sweat. So you walk out of there feeling like you did run a 10k! I gotta get my sweat on. I like CP2 here. All their locations are clean and new and pretty!
    *RA yoga at the camp=my newest fave. It is also heated. The con here is it is SUPER crowded and you are on top of the person next to you. Blah. It’s fast and again…you sweat. It’s challenging but not too challenging. I’d give this place a try.
    *Villa Pilates & Yoga=quaint and adorable on the peninsula. It’s a killer yoga class. Awesome instructors but very small.
    *Yogaworks=kind of generic in my opinion.
    Can’t wait to hear about how you liked yoga. Again…give it a chance. It is so good for your organs and your muscles AND your mind. Be patient with yourself bc you won’t be good at yoga immediately…it’s a “practice” for sure!

    • whoorl

      May 8, 2013 at 9:30 am

      This is so helpful, Amy. Emailing you right now…thank you!!

  • Janet

    May 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I used to feel the same way about yoga but it was perfect for me when I needed the combo of a workout + mental health…help? It really cleared my mind and made me feel good inside and out. Is there a Core Power yoga studio near you? I liked their classes when I took them in Denver. Not too “woo woo” and plenty of sweating!

  • laziza

    May 8, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I used to take a weekly yoga class and loved it. I don’t get to go anymore for a whole host of reasons. But I will say these two things:

    1 – I fully credit prenatal yoga for two drug-free childbirths, one of which was breech. (If you knew my two-year-old daughter, you would find so many things explained by the fact that she was born BUTT FIRST.) It sounds insane, I know, but I think I developed an ability to focus on my breathing – to the exclusion of most else – that really helped in those labor and deliveries.

    2 – One of the nice things for me – aside from the obvious health benefits – is that it was an hour during which I was forced to only do something good for myself. It’s hard to articulate, but there is no multi-tasking during yoga, and you’re a jerk if your cell phone rings or you get up and walk out. So once you’re there, you’re there. You don’t have any choice but to take care of yourself for an hour.

    • Erica

      May 8, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Your second point hits the nail on the head. There is no multi-tasking. You are there and forced to be present. Someone else mentioned above that eventually, it becomes something more than the poses – they are right. At first you will be anxious (where does my right arm go? Is my butt in the right place? Where am I supposed to be looking), and that is okay. Let yourself feel it and work through it. The more you go, the more the moves will become like second nature and you will be clearing your head while getting a wonderful exercise.

      I tried a bunch of different kinds of yoga with very little success. I thought it was a pretty lame workout. That is until I went to my first Bikram class. I love Bikram. It is the right kind of yoga for me. It is crazy hot and you will sweat your body weight, but the moves are exactly the same every time you go, so once you have the flow of the class down, you can really mentally check out (and completely forget about the person next to you who pulled her mat to close to yours) and be with yourself.

      • whoorl

        May 8, 2013 at 8:18 pm

        Erica – that’s exactly how I felt today. I was constantly wondering if I was doing it right, but all in all, I was really happy with the class. Really excited to go back on Friday. :)

  • loeper

    May 8, 2013 at 9:50 am

    hi! i go in waves with yoga, but when i’m routinely going, i love it. and agree with all the above – the instructor can make or break. the one i love has the most soothing voice and she makes no bones about how the next 90 minutes is all about you. i’ve tried bikram but not a fan of the same poses every class no matter where you go. i find that a vinyasa flow class is my jam because you still get your heart rate up. the one i go to is heated so you feel really detoxified after. fortunately most studios give you a week free to try them all out. good luck! can’t wait to hear what you think. xo

  • Jen Campisano

    May 8, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I haven’t been able to practice yoga for a few months for a variety of reasons (broken arm, surgery, another surgery), but it is such a healing place for me. And a damn good workout, too. I’d just echo what other readers have said: make sure you find a good teacher who resonates with you. Go to a few studios until you find one you love. Bikram is hard for me because you do the same series every. single. time. I made the mistake of taking my husband to a Bikram class for his first experience with yoga. He gave himself rugburn wiping the sweat off his face, and now he will not return to any kind of yoga with me. Mostly, I practice vinyasa (sometimes called power) because of the variety and faster pace. My studio here plays great music. Other people prefer silence with their yoga, but I like the music. If you’re ever in the Phoenix area, let me know + I’ll take you to my favorite studio here.

  • Hannah

    May 8, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Such a fan of yoga! A few years ago I was in terrible pain and went to the doctor to find that my hips, spine, knees-basically everything- was completely out of alignment. Adjustments twice a week were just not helping. I started a twice weekly yoga class and within just a few weeks my body had started to realign and I felt so.much.better. Seriously, I think it is such a fantastic way to help you improve your overall health. I stopped practicing for about a year and just got back into recently. My body loves me again! I sit at a desk all day and the stretching, plus the strength training that is built in, makes me feel so good! Best wishes to you. I sincerely pray this helps with the pain you’ve been in!


  • Julia

    May 8, 2013 at 10:34 am

    If the comments above don’t convince you of starting a yoga practice then the gorgeous back of the woman in the picture you have posted should! I have practiced yoga for 15 years and within the last 2 years I have forgone the gym in favor of hitting the yoga mat 5 days a week. The workout is unparalleled; the muscle toning, the cardio range, the benefits to vital organs and the digestive system and most of all it is the only place that I can TURN OFF my mind. Wishing you good health and healing, Sarah!

  • Sarah

    May 8, 2013 at 10:45 am

    It’s not often I can return the favor, so to speak, when it comes to advice via the Internet.

    I’ve practiced yoga since 1998, and nearly daily for the last 5 years or so. In 2011 I finished a 200-hour teacher training through Equinox. I read yoga books and blogs, and keep a journal about my yoga practice. I planned a vacation to San Diego to take yoga classes with a guy from India. I own a lot of Lululemon, and can probably name the season and year any of their products were released.

    Obssessed? A leeeeeeettle.

    The short version is that I used loathe yoga, but would do it every now and then because I knew it was good for me. After a running injury, I practiced daily because I couldn’t do anything else. That daily practice hooked me after just a week and I’ve stuck with it ever since. I’d teach yoga, but I have a day job that I love. So for now, yoga is my hobby but I dream of retiring to a warm place and teaching yoga. If my recent vacation is any indication, I would be a fantastic lady of leisure, living in a beach house in Encinitas, and going to the yoga studio everyday.

    Just go with it. Once you find a teacher and studio you like, go for about three days a week for about a month. And don’t worry if it’s annoying at first – you might find that the first few studios or teachers you try aren’t speaking to you. Trust me, some teachers are too granola, too chatty, too quiet, or just too silly. But you’ll eventually find one that’s just right.

    If you’re ever looking for free yoga advice, feel free to email/tweet anytime. It’s the least I can do for all the hair and style advice I’ve received from YOU over the years.

    Lastly…two of my favorite resources on yoga:

    -The about.com columnist who handles all things yoga is quite good. I’d describe it as being practical, knowledgable, and approachable. Highly recommend.
    -On YouTube, look up Rebecca Pacheco. Her videos are excellent and you might like her athletic style. (Note: I learned how to teach yoga from her, and adore her.)

    Good luck! xo

    • whoorl

      May 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      This is AWESOME. Thank you, Sarah!

  • glamgranola

    May 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

    There are many types of yoga! The best advice I can give, as a yoga teacher, is to make sure you know what kind of class you are jumping into. I teach a hot, vinyasa style class and it certainly isn’t for everyone. But I do believe there is a type for everyone. Maybe give a few different types of yoga classes a shot before you commit! Yoga really is therapeutic; I think you’ll love it.

  • angela

    May 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Hi Sarah – Have you considered Bar classes? Not to knock yoga at all, but if you’re injured you often need the gentle yoga classes to help you heal. I’ve been doing yoga for a while and have had injuries sideline my usual strong practice. (I’m dealing with a rotator cuff/shoulder injury.) I’ve recently started the Bar Method and found that it’s incredibly low impact, but I get an amazing workout along with the stretching and flexibility workout you’d get from yoga.

  • Stickyheels

    May 8, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I’ve found before that my hang-ups with reintroducting myself to yoga (I’ve been REALLY INTO IT and REALLY NOT INTO IT 4 or 5 times in the last 4 years) involves feeling that if I’m about to spend 90 minutes doing something “workout-ey” then I want to SWEAT and be SORE and get a really good workout. And I think, when you’re remembering yoga, or seeing it from the outside, it doesn’t look like that. It looks like bending and stretching. But then I get back into a class and I push myself, and I’m challenging myself and I’m seeing the amazing things other people are able to do with their bodies and next thing I know my heartrate is so elevated I need to chill out for a minute, and when I leave my muscles are shaking. And I always leave feeling satisfied and satiated and like someone’s taken my limbs, pulled them off, shaken the dust out of them and then reattached them a little more securely :)

  • Sharon

    May 8, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I did boot camp for 3 years and recently switched to yoga. I love it and I love how I feel after. I am still toned and my body is happy that I stopped the high impact workouts.

  • Erin

    May 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I saw someone mentioned this already but I cannot recommend CorePower enough (and I know they’re in CA). I get pretty bored during yoga but the heat, intensity and music of this one really helps. I’ve done it in Minneapolis and DC and found the teaching to be challenging and consistent. But tell them what’s going on with your body, because it’s pretty hard and intense.

  • whoorl

    May 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I can’t thank you guys enough for all of these awesome comments! And for the record, I just returned from yoga class #1. It was a ‘yoga blend’ class and felt more natural to me than I thought it would. (Barring the fact that I was constantly craning my neck to see if I was doing the poses right!)

    Ready to head back again on Friday!

  • Home Sweet Sarah

    May 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Ooooh I’m so excited for you! I love yoga! I’ve been going for a little over 10 years and the thing I think is most important is to try a bunch of different kinds of yoga (including different studios and different instructors at each studio, in addition to different classes/types of yoga (vinyasa, hatha, ashtanga, etc.)). In Bakersfield, I had a place I LOVED and would you believe that in San Diego of all places, it took me forever to find a place that was even slightly comparable? Trial and error, trial and error. Once you find a place that is all the perfect components of what you want (and maybe you don’t know what you want now, but in a few classes, you’ll definitely know what you DON’T want), then you can start to glean the benefits of yoga. When I started running more frequently a couple years ago, my shins would KILL me. I had finally found a place up here in N. Cal and seriously after two classes, my shins were fine. Also, I had this weird shoulder thing for awhile a couple months ago. Just kept going to yoga and it doesn’t hurt anymore. Finally, may I just mention that I am so freaking achey and sore and blah right now? Haven’t been to yoga in three weeks, so it’s no wonder. But anyway, so this comment doesn’t ramble on forever, let me wrap up. I hope you find a class for you (and soon! Less trial and error!) and if you have any questions, let me know. I’m not a professional yogi, but I’ve taken my share of classes over the years.

  • Kerri Anne

    May 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Fact: This post and subsequent (rad) comment section just inspired me to sign up for my first! ever! yoga class. Two! weeks. Hold me closer, Tony Danza.

    • whoorl

      May 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm


  • Tami (Teacher Goes Back to School)

    May 8, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Restorative yoga can lower blood pressure, alleviate depression, improve the quality of sleep, and help get rid of stress-caused belly fat. Plus it just feels good.

    Yoga has definitely changed my life and finding the right teacher/style is key. I’m clearly in the minority when talking about relaxing on purpose, but man it’s a game changer. Try it!

  • KH

    May 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Sarah – I don’t know if this makes sense for you, but you should consider getting a Passport to Prana. I am in Toronto, and for $30 I have access to 70 studios in the Toronto area (one visit per studio) for a year. It is an ideal way to check out a bunch of different teachers, styles and studios while you find your perfect (which you will!) Similarly, the Passport serves LA with several studios in Orange County.


    • whoorl

      May 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you!

  • Michelle

    May 8, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I’ve been doing yoga off and on for a few years now. I thought I hit the jackpot by taking classes at my local community center for a whopping $16 a month! Bargain. But then I became complacent about my practice and the teacher. And then another yoga teacher filled in for regular teacher and it was a whole new ballgame. Then I realized I needed to go to a legit studio. I found one close to my place and I love it. So rewarding and it really centers me…especially when I go to 6am yoga! You may have to try a few places to find the one that fits. Good luck!

  • Khali

    May 8, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    I’m a runner turned yoga and reformer pilates addict. I had a similar story to you and thought nothing would replace my love of running. Turns out I was wrong. Reformer pilates burns far and tones like nobody’s business. (It’s also had a really positive impact on my health issue.) go for it!

  • Shani

    May 9, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I am a huge fan of bikram yoga!!! Like you, I am not remotely flexible and the heat really helped me loosen up and become more flexible (you have to be careful not to overdo it, though, as it’s easier to injure yourself with the aid of the heat). I also love that it feels more athletic (completely psychological from the sweat) and that you get the cleansing effects of a good sweat at the same time. Honestly, I can’t recommend bikram enough as a style. As others have said, finding the right studio/teacher is key.

  • Kate

    May 9, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Yoga changed my life and cured my ailments (I am not joking: It was a work out that I could do. And it is a work out. Also, it allows me to use the natural abilities that I do have {I am very flexible, but was not very fit when I started yoga, but feel myself getting fitter every week that I attend two classes.} It also helps with mental stability/mind clearing that I really need. And helped me heal from a long term injury that I believe I was just going to have to live with. Its also a very nice compliment to swimming, which is my go to workout/sport.)

    I am glad that you loved your first class and are looking forward to returning.

  • jen

    May 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    hi Sarah, I’m not usually a commenter but I may suggest you check out Bikram yoga (which is hot yoga)… I don’t do it as often anymore but my old instructor used to joke that Bikram is yoga for Type As (which you’ve willing labeled yourself, so hopefully you’re not offended! ha). you sweat a ton and get all the stretching/relaxing benefits of yoga but still feel like you accomplished a major workout. plus when I was doing it my muscle tone was awesome.

    FWIW, I’m also a big fan of swimming laps… you get the workout as well as the opportunity to zone out and let my mind wander.

    btw, I’m having problems accessing your website…? when I type in “whoorl.com” or even “www.whoorl.com” I get a blank page. I only found this post through your Twitter feed.

  • Rachel D.

    May 9, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    So, this isn’t about yoga but if you’re having a lot of muscle tightness (and other symptoms), you need to read the book, the Magnesium Miracle. It’s made a huge difference for me, supplementing with a high amount of magnesium. There’s too much to say in a blog comment but read the book. It’s amazing.

    And I’ve also had a hard time getting to your website lately, fwiw.

  • Raluca | WhatWouldGwynethDo

    May 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    My body has decided to be a bitch lately, too and I have had to put my beloved Dailey Method workouts on hold. The physical toll is one thing but the mental/stress relief toll has been the worst. Glad you found a good alternative, I have never managed to fall for yoga, but maybe you will convince me otherwise ;)

  • Sarah Christine

    May 13, 2013 at 11:06 am

    The key is going often! Like anything else, the better you get, the more fun it becomes. I am a very tall, athleticly built lady who would probably be better suited for the basketball court, and going to yoga once in a blue moon always frustrated me. Around the new year I decided to just go for it and have been going 3 days a week since. It has gotten SO MUCH EASIER and really really fun, healing, and just such a positive thing for my life (and by body!)

    Have fun, and invest in some cute Lululemon, you’ll be hooked ;)

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