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. 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!

  2. 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. ;)

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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. :(

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!!

  15. 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!