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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!!!

  7. 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

  8. 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 :)

  9. 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.

  10. 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!)

  11. 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.)

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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…