I’ve been trying for a while to get into yoga. I know all about the benefits of it- the stretching, the stress release, the relaxation, the meditation, the “glow”, and I really want to be a part of all that! I want the relaxed vibe, the accepting and understanding attitude, the glow, the inner kunahayshsha or whatever those people have. But I just don’t. It’s not happening.
Last night, Lululemon hosted their first portion of Uncommon Yoga, which is a 5 week series of free outdoor yoga classes. They feature kick ass instructors from all over Boston every week, as well as bumpin’ music. They also did this a few months back for the big kick off of their Newbury Street store, and it was amazing.
It was a gorgeous night last night- a little hot, but breezy. Music was bumpin’, there was a great crowd, and both instructors, Goldie and Caitlyn, were really motivating and inspiring. They were also really clear in their directions, which was very helpful for a non yogi like me.
Here’s my problem with yoga (and this is my personal problem, not a problem with the practice at all!): It doesn’t relax me. It almost gives me too much time to think. During each pose, I’m thinking to myself “How much longer are we going to hold this? What are we going to do next? I can’t remember the next step in the Vinyasa. Am I going to fall over? I think I’m going to fall over. How is that girl standing on her head? Oh shit, we’re on the next pose. Am I breathing right? Was I supposed to be inhaling or exhaling? Why is breathing so hard now? Why am I overanalyzing breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth? Is my belly button connected to my spine? How does that even happen? Is my stomach supposed to expand when I inhale, or exhale? I’ve been fucking breathing since I was born, why can’t I remember? Emily, get your shit together. Oh, down dog again? Guess I’m getting up close and personal with the ass in front of me again”
I mean, I can get through the poses alright (albeit a little wobbly), but I just can’t help over-thinking everything. And then the relaxation period at the end… man, that is actually the hardest part for me. First of all- I hate naps. They stress me out. I spend about 30 minutes worrying if I’m actually going to fall asleep, and if I do fall asleep, that I’ll just be even more tired when I wake up. And then I start thinking about all the other things I COULD be doing instead of napping. I understand that I’m a crazy person. I get the exact same anxiety and stress during Savasana. I don’t want to let myself relax- I’d just rather wait until I went to sleep. Does that make sense? I know you’re not supposed to fall asleep during Savasana, you’re just supposed to let your mind go.. but I still can’t even do that. I just start thinking about getting home, when is the next bus coming, will I have time to make dinner, do I need to do laundry, should I shower, etc. At the end, I’m also left wondering “Did I really just get a workout?” I DO always feel great after, well stretched and light, but I have a really hard time actually motivating myself to GO to a yoga class. I’m used to a more intense workout where I leave drenched in sweat. And to be honest, I actually feel more relaxed after a killer spin class, or a CrossFit WOD, or a long circuit. There’s something about totally going balls to the wall and releasing all of your energy and your stress by giving yourself a ridiculous ass kicking that makes me go “ahhhhhh!” I walk away knowing that I gave it 110% and that I let all my stress out on the bike and that I’ll sleep like a baby that night.
But, I haven’t given up on yoga yet! I’m going to try Bikram yoga out next week. It’s come highly recommended to me from a few people that know me and my psychotic workout tendencies (compliment?). I’m a little nervous about the heat aspect, but I think I’ll enjoy holding the poses and getting more of a strength workout vs a flow workout. I’m taking my first class on Monday and am excited to report back (if I don’t die…!)
How do you guys feel about yoga? Does it stress you out like it stresses me out, or am I the only crazy person out there? Do you prefer high intensity workouts vs yoga? Ever tried Bikram? Can I ask any more questions?