Growing up, I have thought of yoga in 2 ways. First, “Yoga is for sissies who don’t want to actually workout but get a latte and stretch.” Or second, after trying yoga my thoughts changed to “I am not even close enough in shape and bendy for yoga and I don’t have a yoga mat to match my outfit like everyone else”. Have you ever felt this way? Yoga definitely has a stigma attached to it and I want to talk a little about getting past those to be able to actually get an amazing workout. Since all my health issues have gotten worse, I have not been able to do high intensity workouts. While yoga is no walk in the park I’m able to do it because it is not so stressful for the body. If any of you have working out restrictions definitely check with your doctor first but yoga is so great for those of us who have limitations.
To start out I want to be honest with you all; I do own one pair of Lululemon workout pants BUT that was before I started practicing yoga. Phew, now that I got that out the way hopefully you can read this post with no bias. I have always been an athlete whether it be waterpolo or competitive swimming. If I wasn’t killing myself in the pool, I was going hard in the gym working up a crazy sweat. I thought that the more intense a workout looked it had to be better for you right? So, I joined a yoga class at 24 hour fitness where the other yogis looked in decent shape so I thought I would probably give them a run for their money. Everyone is standing on their mats stretching and one man looks passed out on his mat, what an athlete. This spunky instructor comes in and the lights go down and the intense music comes on. These lethargic looking people pull off their shirts and pants so that they’re only in spandex, revealing all kinds of six packs. We start with breathing which I got down cold, but then we actually start. Five minutes in and we are all drenched in sweat. I was loving it though! The instructor would take us through poses that were way too difficult for me but then would modify so that I could attempt it but at my skill level. The instructor was so positive and energetic that he made me want to do better. At the end of the class we all warmed down and you could feel a sense of exhaustion and accomplishment all at once. From then on I was at that class every single Monday.
I had been going for a couple months once or twice a week and I was really addicted to the practice. I decided to check out a yoga studio. I thought since this was my favorite workout, “what If I switched to only doing yoga and quit my gym?” I got a week free pass to Yoga Works and was excited to get my Namaste on. I went to my first class with a friend and we walked into what looked like a spa. Calming music was playing and women were dressed all sorts of designer workout gear. I was literally jealous that I missed the memo to have a cool looking yoga mat; I just had a black one. We arrived into the studio and began our individual stretching and the instructor came in. She began a routine practice in yoga called chanting. Now, as I have known about it I had never experienced it. It was real hard not to laugh because what the instructor was chanting and what the people were trying to say back was not same (literally no judgement here, I had no idea what to say either). All in all my experience at this place was not an encouraging one to me to be honest. I felt a lot fatter than everyone and that you could pick me out in the crowd as the unexperienced newbie. This experience made me think that I was nowhere near as good as I thought I was and wasn’t really into the whole spiritual side of the practice. The price for a yoga studio was also way out of my price range. A month there was like a year at 24 hour fitness. I mean no judgement and bad feelings towards Yoga Works I just want to explain my experience because I think this is why a lot of people stay away from the practice. It seems kind of snobby and exclusive for the rich and beautiful. Since then I have been back and enjoy the studio but there were some things I learned from my first visit.
#1 Who Cares? Nobody Actually Does
When I was at the fancy studio I felt like I wasn’t good enough. But notice I said “I” and not “everyone else”. We tend to put this huge pressure on ourselves in a new situation whatever it may be. We can’t stick out and we definitely can’t do anything wrong. I bet you nobody in that class noticed when I did a pose wrong or couldn’t do the headstands. They were all focused on getting themselves into that pose. If I love yoga I should do it wherever I can get the best workout.
#2 Just Like In Society, You Don’t have to Look Like Everyone Else
We as a people are all about celebrating our unique shapes and sizes. Why does this change when it comes to a fitness environment? How am I going to get in better shape if I don’t push my body further than before? The people with the crazy looking yoga bodies have been doing yoga for a long time and didn’t always have those rippling abs. In my class at 24 hour fitness there was a pretty overweight woman who would take the yoga class and do as much as she could and she was drenched by the end as well. She was my absolute favorite because she could care less what everyone else can do and she was doing it. I’ve also learned that even some of the best yogis have all different types of bodies. One of my instructors had a very sturdy and muscly frame and she was not skinny by any means but so insanely strong. It’s awesome how any body type can do yoga and see results!! I am by no means in great shape either. I’m thick and have extra weight I want to get off. I get fat rolls when I do some of the poses so I don’t choose to wear just a sports bra. I do however feel incredibly strong and powerful when I complete a yoga session. Isn’t that what it’s all about???
#3 Yoga Does Not Have to Break the Bank
I am not able to afford going to just a yoga studio unfortunately, but I have learned how to go between gym yoga classes and using a cool app on my phone which is pretty cheap Yoga Studio AppThere are of course some better appsfor $10-30 if you want to spend a bit more. It’s all about making it work for you to where you are getting the workout that you want. Some people prefer working out at home and that’s great because all you really need is a yoga mat or some kind of non slip material that is softer than a hard floor. You can find great yoga mats online for cheap. One thing that I shouldn’t share is that I found all the yoga studios in my area and was using free week passes for a while lol. It was awesome though and I was able to try what all the studios had to offer for like 3 months.
When it comes to yoga attire, It is literally regular workout gear. It tends to be tighter because you are moving in all sorts of directions and don’t want your clothes to fall in your face or sweat off. I do follow some of the real expensive workout clothing companies because they do really have cute things. I have found so many cute workout outfits at Ross and Marshalls. Forever 21 has a new workout line as well that has amazing options.I linked some of these sites at the bottom. Obviously the difference is that the more expensive clothes are better quality and last longer, but if you buy a $5 shirt and it gets too old you can just go buy another. It’s all about what you want to spend and there are so many options that don’t always have to break the bank. If you can afford the more expensive outfits then more power to you! It’s all about what you can do within your means and what makes you feel great!!
#4 Trends Come and Go, Yoga is Forever (LOL)
I am the type of person who likes to stay away from what’s trendy (I’m a rebel I know) I’ve never liked the hottest artists because everyone else does. I like to find the unknown artists and say I was a fan since the beginning HA. I was like this with yoga as well. I always saw it being posted on health sites and magazines. If you are into health, you must be doing yoga. But as I tried it I found how amazing it really is. Maybe it’s a trend for a reason or maybe the trend will die eventually but the fact is that yoga is an amazing exercise. You don’t have to be some flexible genius to be able to start the practice. The point is it will help you become stronger and more flexible. I have done my app at home with people who have never done yoga and they always start off by saying “don’t make fun of me because I will suck”. When they do it, of course it’s difficult but they always like it and feel better. So if you are anti trend like me, maybe put your feelings aside and just give it a try.
#5 There Are So Many Types of Yoga
I found out that the classes I was taking at the gym used the power yoga approach and the one at the studio was more Hatha which I realize is not my favorite. If I had taken a power yoga class at Yoga Works I probably would have liked It a lot better. You just have to find what’s right for you. Here’s a link from Women’s Health that explains the different types of yoga. Try them all out or just a few! Types of Yoga
In the end, my hope in this post is to encourage you to try yoga or anything that might be new and foreign to you. The worst that can happen is you don’t end up liking it! You may be like me and end up loving yoga and the benefit from it. I can touch my palms to the floor now when standing straight which is huge for an inflexible girl like me. Tell me what you love about yoga and how you like to practice! Any places you love the best or cool discounts you know of? Share with us 🙂
Links to Check Out: