I’m Trying Really Hard To Like Yoga

Yoga

I’ve done yoga in the past. 

I’m not a fan.

However, recently I joined a kickball league and the level at which it’s destroying my body is astounding. I actually had to sit out one of the games due to injury the other day. Given that kickball is a sport played largely by third graders and drunken hipsters, the only things more embarrassing to have to be benched for due to cramping would be a beer pong tournament or field day at an elementary school. The way I see it, my inability to walk up and down stairs or hold my hairdryer over my head the day after a match is a sign that maybe my body just can’t handle physical activity the way it used to.

And what does eveyone keep telling me to do to correct this?

Yoga.

Ugggghhh. Yoga. All the breathing, the meditating, it totally stresses me out. I’ve never been good at relaxing. I’m most comfortable doing workouts that resemble the horror scenes from the Saw movies. You know with like Swedish techno music blaring, uncomfortable lighting, there’s kicking and punching involved and everybody’s screaming. Yeah, that’s how I like to unwind. But apparently that’s not working for me anymore because my muscles are so stiff from my latest pastime that I’m legitimately wondering if I’m going to make it through the season. And that makes me wonder about all the other things my body won’t be able to do if I don’t change up my routine and try something different.

So I gave in and found a yoga studio in my neighborhood. Although I’ve been doing my best to adapt to this new form of exercise, there have certainly been challenges along the way. Here are a few I’m struggling with:

The Breathing

Oh my God, it’s non-stop! Breathing has always been pretty involuntary for me, I can do it in my sleep. Yet in yoga it’s like this whole additional thing that you have to pay attention to and there are so many ways to do it. You can breathe through your nose, through your mouth, from your diaphragm, which by the way, I always thought was a weird contraceptive from the eighties but apparently we all have one and according to these yogis it’s pretty much responsible for holding our entire being together.

Not saying that breathing doesn’t have its perks, it’s just that I’ve got enough on my plate without having to think about where to inhale from.

I Suck At It

I’m used to being good at stuff. At least athletically. I was a gymnast, a diver, I played little league, I’m basically like the female Bo Jackson but everyone in my yoga class is so much better than me I can’t stand it. No lie, there was a girl at the studio today doing this in my face:

StandingSplit

Photo from Tumblr.com

I can barely touch my toes and the way I see things, if you can’t immediately be the best at something, there’s no point in doing it at all.

I Hate Meditating

In some of my classes the meditation portion is minimal but occasionally I’ll get stuck in the middle of a fifteen minute upright nap which is supposed to center and calm me however I can’t help but totally freak out. This is what my meditation goes like: OK, calming down. Breeeeeathing. Let….go. Let go. Let goooooooo. Let go! It’s hot in here. You had to pick the spot directly under the skylight at noon? Jesus, the sun, it’s like right on my face. Let go let go let go letgoletgoletgo. I should get yoga pants. I bet all these chicks go to LuluLemon. What’s Lululemon? How do I know that word? Emily I think. Does she work for them? I’m not paying a hundred dollars for yoga pants. Just go to The Gap for Christ’s sake. Ugh! LET GO. Am I getting dizzy? How long have we been standing here? I can’t just stand here all day! I know you people would be perfectly happy doing mantras on the top of a mountain somewhere for the rest of your lives but I have to get home and clear my DVR or it won’t record Million Dollar Listing tonight. Ahhhhh! LET GO! LET GO!

Am I Really Burning Calories?

There’s no argument that yoga is physically demanding but how many donuts can I eat after I do it? I need to know. Since my weight is something I obsess over more than my job, my relationships, my future or even my cat, it’s important that the time I allot for exercise be put to the best possible use. I can burn through six hundred calories or more during a spin class but following a yoga session I’m hesitant to add croutons to my salad. Not saying I can’t count it as a real workout, I just haven’t got it down to a science yet.

The Ohms

I forgot that this is actually a thing that happens in yoga classes. My experience with “ohms” comes mostly from movies where an attempt to characterize a spaced out hippy is being made. They’re usually coming out of the mouth of a white guy with dreadlocks in a Baja, who if he wasn’t chanting “ohm” over and over again, would be ordering a pizza to his high school’s history class. So when we do them in the studio I can’t resist but stifle a giggle and peek around to see if everyone else in the room is actually being serious.

Turns out they are.

So after all of this, why am I trying so hard to like yoga?

Because I feel incredible, that’s why! There, I said it! For the first time in years I feel limber again. I can bend down without my knees sounding off like canons. I can even get back up again without grabbing onto something and going “eeehhhhh-arrggghh” and most importantly, I was able to play kickball last week without having to consider an upgrade on my health insurance. It’s amazing!

I suppose in the past, the benefits of doing yoga weren’t as obvious because I was in my early twenties and didn’t know what a back spasm was. However, now that I have a hard time crawling under the front desk of my job to plug in my phone, I realize that some form of stretching on a regular basis is probably in my best interest, which is why I’m trying really really really hard to like it. I’m sure eventually I’ll figure out a way to incorporate the kickboxing and step force and bootcamps back into my rotation but for now I’m taking it down a notch and leaving you with this:

Namaste

(Ugh)

 

  • Jeff

    How dare someone do a standing split right in your face. If you get me her number (and a picture) I’d be more than happy to set her straight!! That’s unacceptable behavior and I need to let her know that.

  • http://www.velvetlists.blogspot.com Velvet Barentine

    HAHAHAH This kills me. Literally-( I might die if I ever go to yoga again) but this is a perfect description of how I feel about, before, during and after yoga. It seems like the minute I am told to relax and breathe I do everything except that and then there is always someone’s crotch in my face and I’m concentrating on not falling over. Its exhausting, but not in the way that I think will improve my life. Maybe if I had more expensive pants?
    I want that lithe body and the illusion of mile long legs full of sinewy muscles, so maybe I’ll try again. Eventually…
    I love this post though- you always do a great job of telling a story, bringing humor and making us all feel like we know you. Excellent!

    • Kelly

      I nearly died doing hot yoga once. They told me the one rule was you couldn’t leave the room so I spent the last fifteen minutes laying on my back wiggling my feet back and forth to keep me from throwing up. Never. Again.

      • http://www.velvetlists.blogspot.com Velvet Barentine

        I did that hot yoga thing once and they told me their bs about not leaving. I felt like I was going to pass out and you should have seen the hateful stares I got when I got up and left. I have never been back, but dude- that is how you make people take care of themselves? By teaching them to ignore their bodies’ needs? I’ll do my yoga in the air conditioning from now on thankyouverymuch….never. again.

  • Little J

    Ya know SOME of us are just good at yoga.

    Just kidding I suck

  • Gabriele

    Have you considered taking drugs before walking into a Yoga class? (Xanax or Ambien anyone?) Or some weed to get you into the mood? Just a thought. I also have a hard time relaxing sometimes, but when you get into it, it does feel great. Fun post.

    • Kelly

      It’s crazy I know, but surprisingly enough, I don’t smoke weed. I can’t quite handle it anymore. The last time I did I got so paranoid I was balled up on my couch for eight hours wondering if my life would ever be normal again. So I think I’d really lose my shit if I did it and spent an hour and a half with a bunch of “ohming” weirdos. I do have a couple of Xanex laying around from my last flight overseas. I suppose I could give that a shot. I’m blaming you when I tumble into the person next to me and start a domino effect of all the people in downward dogs.

  • http://damiengaleone.com/blog/ Damien

    I think that people find meditation in their own way. I find it in running. I also think there’s sort of ‘pressure’ to like Yoga these days. I tried it, and stopped after finding it difficult to breathe while straining to place my nose inside of my rectum.
    So, I guess that Bo doesn’t know Yoga?

  • Vanna

    Haha nothing like taking drugs to relax you before going to a class to teach you the art of relaxation! I have a love hate relationship with Yoga myself. Just when I think I have my downward dog upward whatever flowing I spaz out because i think too hard about stupid breathing! Am I supposed to breath in when lying face down on my mat then out when jumping up or vice versa?! I am getting anxious and out of breath just thinking about it! I will say you feel freakin fantastic after finding a good class and sticking with it for a bit. I am going back to it tomorrow….and will maybe take just half a Xanex to get me back in the game. Ha game, like Im an old pro, I am lucky to make it out with out pulling something. Wish me luck!

  • Emily

    Kelly!! I am so proud of you for taking yoga!!! I’m sorry to hear you’ve been benched from kickball but I can def come keep you company on the sidelines this Sunday (and depending on my knee, play!) I would also love to join in on a yoga class with you! I will email you a series of restorative poses to do at home that aren’t so crazy and you don’t have to do any standing splits… And tell you why you should totally invest in a pair of lululemon bottoms! Keep up the great work!

    • Kelly

      I’ll take your word for it. I just came from a class. Not so much meditating today. I think I found the right instructor. See you sunday!

  • http://simple-pleasures-ebks.blogspot.com/ Lindsey

    Had a friend do hot yoga once and the instructor yelled at him for taking a drink of water. Prior to that, I thought it MIGHT be a good way to relax and burn some calories. I haven’t been in the market for a hot yoga studio since. You know what else I find weird or at least a tad off putting while you’re doing it? Barre classes. I HAVE done one of those and it was …. odd. Too many girls humping bars and the floor and generally thinking that stretching is exercising. I wouldn’t judge except well, 1. I AM and 2. The girls were bitches. I mean I felt like I was back in high school and instead of making fun of my pontiac grand am with the bumper zip tied to the grill; these girls didn’t like me because I couldn’t put my elbow between my shoulder blades. Good times. Er….this is where I say, hang in there….yoga is awesome! Done and done. Good luck!

    • Kelly

      Yeah! I got reprimanded for drinking water too! It was a life or death situation though. I had to save myself.

      • http://simple-pleasures-ebks.blogspot.com/ Lindsey

        Wha?!?! I thought it was just an isolated nazi-yoga situation. They do that in a lot of those classes?! yikes! Keep lookin out for number one! 😉

  • Michelle

    Did I just read that correctly that your Mom suggested you try drugs before doing Yoga? Just checkin.

    • Lloyd

      Michelle,

      Yup. You’d have to know Mom to understand. I spent years trying to get Mom to understand that it’s best to get high on life.

      • Michelle

        I know her, I was kidding. She was my Aunt for many years=) Shout out to my beautiful Aunt Gabrielle! =)

  • Gabriele

    Love you Michele! And thanks for understanding…me!

  • http://letushaveaconversation.blogspot.ca Alicia Cumming

    The breathing has to come naturally to relax; that breathe in at this pose and breathe out at this pose is more of a guide to encourage the breathing–that’s how I took it anyway. I’m always questioning whethe yoga is my go-to. I find it’s not part of my routine, that I relax in other ways (like dancing, music). a co-worker who teaches yoga is like 55 and has bones the density of someone in their 20s-she claims it’s the yoga, and so it takes my quandry to a whole new level.

  • http://the-dame.com The Dame Intl

    I cannot wait to read what you have to say about Bikram (Hot) Yoga hahaha!

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