Friday Flashback: Yoga? No Go… at First

by Abby on January 17, 2014

I’m trying something new right now. I’m not ready to write about it quite yet since I haven’t completely made up my mind about it yet, but it made me think of this post from my archives about how sometimes it’s love at first sight, but other times, you might have to try something 2, 3, even 10 times before you decide you like it. At least that’s what I tell my kids about eating mushrooms.

Have you ever tried something new that you thought wasn’t your cup of tea, only to change your mind later? Do tell!

Yoga? No Go… at First

Bow poseIt took me a while to warm up to yoga, truth be told. I spent the early part of my childhood on a college campus in the ’70s, and I associated yoga with a certain type of bearded and/or tie-dye clad person who smells of patchouli. I tried yoga in college, and the hirsute, deodorant-averse female instructor did nothing to change my initial perception.

I tried it again in my 20’s when the word on the street among single professionals in my neighborhood was that the “yoga Nazi” at a local studio would change your life. People lined up on the sidewalk clutching the $5 “donation” for his class, held in a musty building on a busy street. The room smelled like, yes, patchouli and feet, and our mats were crammed an inch apart on the floor. The yoga Nazi, true to his name, strode imperiously into the room and without introduction, began barking orders at us for an hour. I never went back.

A few years later I was lured in by a yoga/Pilates hybrid called BodyFlow offered at my gym. The classes were choreographed to music, which I liked, and included segments designed to target specific muscle groups like the quads and abs, which I also liked. It was a BodyFlow instructor who encouraged me to try one of the gym’s “real” yoga classes, offered not in the main group exercise studio but in a smaller, private room down the hall. It’s exclusive, not for everyone, was the unspoken message.

The room was small, dark, and hushed. Women of all ages and sizes floated gracefully into the studio and unfurled their multicolored yoga mats. None of the gym-issued squishy blue mats here. These ladies were serious. The instructor was a blond woman of indeterminate age, with a soothing, rhythmic voice and peaceful aura about her. She used the exotic-sounding (Sanskrit?) names for the poses — Baddha Konasana, Trikonasana. “Pay attention to the breath,” she urged us, explaining that that’s what makes yoga different from other types of exercise.

I discovered I really like yoga – this kind of yoga, anyway. And I’m good at it. (Although that’s a very non-yoga thing to say, because you’re not supposed to strive for mastery, but focus on the practice.) As a kid, I was dismayed to find that my tall, skinny build was not ideal for gymnastics. Nor did I have the necessary strength to execute a powerful tennis serve. On the track team, I was fast but not the fastest. But yoga, it seems, I was built for.

That’s not to say I’m an expert, by any means. I cannot do a full forward bend to save my life, and I can’t even come close to doing a split in any direction. But I can do a mean crow, and my bow pose rocks, if I do say so myself. I don’t get to yoga as often as I’d like, but when I do I leave feeling refreshed, thoroughly stretched, and an inch taller. I’m glad I gave it another shot. Or 3.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy at kissing the frog January 17, 2014 at 9:15 am

I’m surprised you ever went back with those experiences! I always wanted to try yoga. A couple summers ago, our pool was offering free yoga poolside. I went, and although I’m not very bendy and stretchy, I did it. I also did yoga while I was preggers with my last baby. Instead of feeling wiped by a workout, I felt invigorated – which was exactly what I needed being 8 months pregnant. Now I do yoga when I need to stretch or relax or center after a stressful day. I don’t think I’ll ever master the really complicated poses, but I love it and the feeling it gives me anyway. Can’t wait to hear about this “new thing” you are trying! 🙂


Abby January 17, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I’m pretty sure I got hooked on yoga when I was pregnant, too, Kathy. And then the more kids I had, the more stressed I got, and the more I needed it. 🙂


Angie Mizzell January 17, 2014 at 9:30 am

I’m usually inclined to change situations that don’t feel right, and it’s hard to tell whether to stay or go sometimes. But this year, I’ve found some real value in staying right where I am, sticking things out. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I found what I was looking for, and not in the form or in they way I expected.


Abby January 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether it’s growing pains that will subside and be outweighed by the benefits of said situation, or whether it’s a sign it’s not a good fit. For me it’s that whole “listen to your gut” thing. It’s gotten easier as I’ve gotten older.


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