Before this year, I’d never been much of a yoga fan.
Sure, it all sounded good in theory. Connecting with your breath! Increasing your flexibility! Opening your third eye! Strengthening your body! Learning how to do a headstand!
Okay, I mostly wanted to learn how to do a headstand. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Headstands are super cool.
For some reason, though, the public yoga classes I went to never lived up to the hype. They were quite… hard. And full of people who already knew all the moves. I kept getting left behind and having terrifying flashbacks to the Zumba class I once attended, where I realised I don’t know how to dance, or how to learn a dance, and the entirety of Zumba is learning and doing different dances.
I spent half my yoga classes utterly intimidated by the other women (why are they all drinking green juices? Why do they all look fresh from the pages of a Lululemon catalogue? Were we meant to wear make-up and curl our hair? Are they… going somewhere afterwards? Am I the only one who bought their leggings from K-Mart?).
Naturally, I spent the other half worrying that I might fart in Downward Dog. (Those studios are so small! My bum was SO CLOSE to another person’s face! How does anyone relax under those conditions??!?)
Worst of all, my general anxiety about keeping up with the teacher and not being too gassy stopped me from ever getting in the zone. I could not move to the rhythm of my (very fast and panicked) breath. I could not, despite frequent instructions to do so, “flow”.
Needless to say, I wasn’t hooked. My headstand dream petered out after a few half-hearted attempts at home by myself. (By the by, I don’t recommend teaching yourself to do a headstand. You will hurt your head. I’m serious.)
Then, earlier this year, feeling stressed and anxious, I jumped on Youtube looking for a free meditation class. I came across a channel called Yoga With Adriene, and decided to give a ‘Yoga For Relaxation’ video a go. Half an hour later, I woke us as if from a trance. Had I fallen asleep? Had I had a psychotic break?
No. It was something much, much better.
I DID A FLOW!!!!
Without the pressure of feeling like everyone was watching me, I was actually able to get into the zone – and I haven’t looked back.
Listen: Yoga-filled “zen dos” are the new hen’s dos. (Post continues…)
Now, I do yoga exclusively with my friend Adriene (who is in fact not my friend, and is in fact a yoga teacher with over two million Youtube followers). She has free online classes for all levels, and even a series of month-long yoga challenges, where you can do half an hour of yoga every day to build on what you’re learning. Most importantly, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. Adriene’s videos are full of jokes and goofiness and the occasional burst of song, and they’re the perfect balance between feeling like someone’s in the room with you – and feeling free to fart if necessary.
All the mysterious benefits of yoga I used to hear about, like the alleviation of back pain and the ability to focus for longer, are actually happening to me. It’s lucky I’m so great at focussing now, because otherwise I might spend my workday choosing the yoga video I’m going to do that evening.
But I never do that.
Because I am very focussed.
Because of yoga.
And look, okay, I still can’t do a headstand.
I’m pretty sure I’ll get there one day, though.
Because there’s a video for that, too.