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?
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:
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:
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.
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: