I’ve resisted doing yoga for many reasons:
1.The 1 time my big sister and I tried to do a yoga video when I was like 14 we just kept falling down and giggling about the words ‘upward-facing dog.’
2. My best friend who is second-generation Indian always tells me that American yoga is nothing like actual Indian yoga, making me prematurely wary of all the people carrying around their yoga mats in Uptown, MPLS.
3. I’m just not bendy.
4. I have an irrational fear of anything that involves putting my feet over my neck, and cannot even do a somersault. These positions seem to reign supreme in yoga.
5. I worried that yoga is not actually a workout that burns calories or gets very far in strength training.
But as I resisted yoga, the world went on without me. My sister proceeded to join Core Power yoga, and swear by it. My co-workers insist that it can cure depression. My friends all claim to “loove yoga.”
Finally, my friend got me to go with her this weekend, and I survived. I have kind of a sore shoulder from all the upward-facing dogs (those damn things …), but I definitely learned a few things:
1. Yoga is not scary
At first I worried that I was going to “lose it” because I was hanging upside down on the ground in a downward dog, listening to “meditative music” while a dude behind me who looks just like the ex-Alcoholic from Party Down was breathing exactly how you breathe when you want to exhale stinky breath on someone you hate. But I told myself, “No Becky, have a good attitude. Meditate until it’s not funny anymore.” And I did.
The teacher did modified poses for the new people like me, and I could easily opt out of sticking my legs over my head. At the end you just lay on the floor for awhile. Pretty chill.
2. Your other, non-related training can make your yoga better.
I’ve never done yoga before but I did do Taekwondo in high school for 3 years and frequently had to balance in the same position for ~30 seconds, sometimes with my leg in the air. Turns out this makes you a little better at certain yoga poses.
3. Yoga makes you feel good
Something about standing in an angular position with your abs sucked in leaning over until you really get to know your toes again makes you feel good. You feel in touch with your body, like you and your legs are great friends on a journey to be able to do the splits again.
4. Some things about yoga are still kinda B.S.-y
I was reading some yoga workouts “for runners” and some of the moves didn’t even seem like yoga positions, but more like just positions where people are standing still in some kind of stretch. I don’t think every possible standing still position is yoga, but I’m no expert.
There is also a lot of expectation in a yoga class that some kind of enlightenment is to follow, which may lead your teacher to chant something like, “The answer is inside of you. Look inside of you” over and over again. I think I need to at least by able to sit upside down on my forearms before I find that answer.