I’m kinda sorta obsessed with yoga. Its true. As a person who lacks any and all athletic ability and one who absolutely HATES exercise of any kind, it seemed as if I’d never find a workout that I could stick to and – gasp – look forward to doing. But, yoga. It’s the bees knees, my friends. And my mission in life is to convert you. Journey with me, young yogi.
Let me start by telling you that I am terrible at yoga. Horrible, fall down, fall on my face, terrible. But I love it. Don’t be discouraged by the photos you see on Pinterest of tiny ladies balanced upside down with only one pinky holding them up. You don’t have to be this person; I know for damn sure I’ll never be. I almost can’t stand straight up when I’m doing Tree pose.
About a year ago I bought a groupon for yoga classes at a local place. My friend Katie and I went to two or three classes, and then it sort of petered out for us. I just could NOT get into it at the studio. The studio was packed with people who knew what they were doing while I, clearly, did not. It was hot in the room. I felt like we were on top of each other. I felt stupid and silly and self-conscious at the same time. The guy next to me repeatedly tried to get himself into a handstand and every time he was unsuccessful (about 998 times) his feet would thud to the ground, thereby scaring the crap out of me. It was NOT zen. It was NOT how I wanted yoga to be. The only good part was the Savasana and I’m not sure if it was because it was relaxing or because I knew the class was almost over. Yoga isn’t supposed to be this way! You should always be focused inwardly, but I just couldn’t detach myself from the chaos of my surroundings.
Sidenote: this is one of my new favorite yoga tops… $12 on Etsy.
And I gave up on yoga. For 3 months.
But I really WANTED to love yoga. I wanted to be that long, lean, mentally well-adjusted, calm, super zen contemplative hippie person. I wanted my workout to simultaneously make me healthy AND less likely to assault other drivers on the road when they changed lanes without using a signal.
So, I gave it another go. AT HOME. Alone. In my house. Just me and my cats and Denise Austin.
Yup, some of you probably hate her. She is a little perky, but something about her just seems so down to earth to me. She makes mistakes, she flubs her words. She just seems NICE. I took a $5.92 chance on eBay and ordered a DVD.
Yoga Body Burn. I wanted a yoga body. I wanted to burn something or another. Perfect. And if it wasn’t, well, it was a less-than-six-dollar mistake. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I’m sure if you’re a hardcore yogi you think that this video is sub-par or “not real yoga” in some way, but I think its sensational. Its broken up into 4 segments – you can do them all together, or mix and match. I usually do the yoga body burn (20 min) plus the relaxation (10 min.)
Many people don’t think of yoga as a real “workout” – but I can tell you that if you’re doing some quickly paced vinyasa, you’ll sweat and you’ll burn. You’ll burn calories AND you’ll tone up your muscles. The best part is, you won’t even really realize you’re doing it. You’ll sort of just feel renewed. I lost 4 pounds the first week I started this video. I gained it back the next day after a large meal, but still.
While on vacation a few weeks ago I ventured back into the studio for an advanced 90 minute vinyasa class. I was pretty nervous – after all, I hadn’t yet mastered the basics without holding onto my countertop for support – how would I complete this class? But, I busted my ass and I did it. The teacher made me fold my body into positions that a Romanian gymnast would have been proud of. She even spotted me for an against-the-wall handstand. I was hurting, but I felt better after this yoga class than any 30 min jaunt on the elliptical machine. I was tired, but also energized. The weird yoga paradox.
You should give it a go, friends. Try out the video I mentioned – or scour Youtube or netflix for some free videos. There are tons of them out there. I think you’ll be impressed with what your body can handle, and you’ll just feel more balanced in the process.
Also you’ll get to buy some cool yoga stuff, like the cat yoga pants you see above and my most favorite yoga tank, below, and my awesome panther mat: