Monday, January 05, 2009

Internet, Kick My Ass

Dear Readers, I'm in some kind of a funk and I don't like it. I feel like my vacation passed too quickly and like I wasted too much of it. I feel like I should have done more, but at the same time like I have no energy. I'm just coming down from a massive auto-immune flare up so the fatigue is probably that, but I feel like I should be feeling better than I am and not so damned tired.

Truthfully, I feel kind of depressed. It's like a post-holiday blues maybe. Probably it's because my holidays were fairly disappointing this year, except New Years Day which was quite nice. I cooked and we had all the right foods (ham, black eyed peas, collard greens and red velvet cake) so 09 should be better than 08 where I didn't get any of those necessary things to eat on New Year's Day. But still.

This is the time when all of the bloggers in the Universe talk about their New Year's Resolutions and it kills me to be like everyone else, but I will let you all in on two things. One, I swear I have officially given up capri pants. Capri pants and I are finished. They aren dated, mom-ish and unflattering on me. They make my legs look funny. Capri pants are not cute on me, yet for years I've clung to them. No more. There will be no capri pants in 2009.

The other one I need some help with. Basically, I need a gigantic ass kicking and I hope you all will assist in its administering. In 2009 I will get over one of my biggest, irrational phobias. I've been procrastinating doing this forever because I'm so afraid.

Readers, Yoga terrifies me.

I love yoga. I love the clothes and incense and sexy instructors. I especially love its exotic, partly spiritual/ partly movie-starish allure. I love the whole idea of yoga more than you can imagine and I have spent many an hour imagining myself twisted into a human pretzel, achieving both elightenment and flexibility. But the thing is, I'm too scared to actually do it, so really I'm a yoga wanna-be who is in love with the idea of yoga although I'm too neurotic and lazy to actually go do it. It makes no sense, I know.

I've made a million excuses. No time. It costs too much. My schedule is too busy as it is. Blah Blah Blah. It's pathetic.

Once I went to a yoga class. My dad likes Bikram Yoga, also called hot yoga, and he used to go all the time. In Bikram Yoga they heat the room to what feels like about 212 degrees, supposedly to mimic the conditions in the hottest part of India at the hottest time of the year, and to encourage flexibility. Yeah, they can have that.

I went to Bikram Yoga class with my dad a few years ago and the class was very crowded and the stench of that 212 degree room was enough to kill. Imagine how much sweat was in that yoga studio. Years of built up, cooked on, steamed up sweat was combined with very new sweat, some of it emanating from individuals who were clearly so enlightened and such higher beings that they no longer believed in deodorant. The room was rank.

Did I also mention that it was 212 degrees? Yeah. So as soon as I spread out my mat, I was ready to collapse in a heap and go to sleep on it. In that kind of heat every little movement was torture for me, but still I tried. I quickly learned that I can't stand on one foot without hopping around like a jack rabbit. Then I learned that I'm not good at any of the poses and being a perfectionist I hate this. I generally stick with things that I'm naturally good at and avoid things that I might have to learn, practice or suck at at first. It's too humiliating for me. If there had been a pose which involved curling up in the fetal position while gagging and convulsing, I would have been great at that. If we were required to have a serious heat stroke, I would have been at the top of the class.

By the time it was all over I was ready to die. I was nauseated, my head ached and I felt faint.

"It's the toxins coming out of your body," the instructor said.

"Well I want them to stay in because I felt fine before they started coming out," I replied.

That was the last time I went to yoga. I kid you not, I was sick for an entire day after the ordeal.

So my first experience with yoga was bad, but I know that not all yoga classes take place in temperature extremes and I know that yoga is great for you.

I also know that my doctor told me I needed to go.

"You need to do yoga several times a week to maintain joint flexibility when you have a condition like this," the doctor said.

"Oh no. You don't understand. I'm not good at yoga."

"You have to do it a lot and then you get good. It's like with anything else."

"That's not exactly how I operate," I explained.

"Take yoga," the doctor repeated, "Or your limbs will look like old tree trunks and you'll have to ride around the grocery store in one of those little carts," said the doctor.

Fabulous, I thought. I'll do it after New Years, I decided.

Well, it's after New Years and I haven't gone. I did look at a couple yoga studios' web sites though if that counts for anything, but I can't bring myself to go. I'm scared that I'll look stupid, that everyone else will be graceful and look like Gwyneth Paltrow and I'll look like one of those stupid turkeys who looks up at the rain with its beak open until it drowns itself. I'm afraid I'll laugh. I'm deeply afraid that I'll be contorted into some crazy position and I'll have to fart and won't be able to hold it in and I swear to you all, if I farted in public I would probably actually, literally die right there on the spot. I'm afraid of falling down and hopping around and crashing into the little altar and knocking off some of the arms on the Shiva statue. Really, my list of fears goes on and on, but I think ultimately I'm more afraid of having to ride around the grocery store in a little cart that beeps really loudly when I want to back up. That kind of a life would be far worse, so I must get over this and I must go to yoga.

Readers, putting this in writing makes it more real to me. It helps me to be more accountable. Please help me. Please tell me what an idiot I'm being. Please hold me to my word about going to yoga classes. Give me the ass kicking I need to get up off of my ass and do what's best for my health.

I mean, at the very least, at least I can write about it if I do something mortifying, right?


DiaryofWhy said...

My first yoga class was also a hot yoga class, and I was equally miserable. Luckily I gave a normally-temperatured class another shot, and it was much more successful. I am also similar to you in the perfectionism thing, aka I hate doing things I'm not good at right away. But the thing about yoga is, even though you're in a class with other people, it's such a personal thing. Everyone is at a different place, and honestly, no one is looking at anyone else, and no one is judging. Plus there is a huge aspect of accomplishment to it, because after a few classes, you notice yourself being able to do things you couldn't do before. And it feels great. All that being said I haven't gone to a class in forever, because I moved, have no money, etc. etc...But it's one thing I really miss, and now you have me motivated to look into doing it again.

Just do it!!!

Kate said...

What about buying a beginner's yoga dvd and doing it at home for a while until you feel more comfortable with it?

Milesly Rose said...

My best friend is 6'5" and has never been able to reach past his upper-shins in his whole life. Eight weeks of 10-minute yoga-BASED (not even proper yoga!) warm-ups five days a week with me and he could put his palms on the floor.

Also, hot yoga is dumb and you need to stay really well hydrated -- and hot yoga is NOT for beginners!

Go to yoga, or else you'll have to ride around in one of those cart things and people will look at you funny, you know, with that weird mixture of distaste and pity until you catch then and you just want to punch them in the face.

Anonymous said...

Start at home so you don't worry so much about how you look.

TWINTALES features: said...

Grab a friend and tell him/her that you need her (or him - gender isn't important) to accompany you to yoga. You won't fart. Promise.
Stop thinking about it and just do it.
In fact, do it by Friday of this week.
You will feel so incredible when you're done. Not just because it's a great physical activity but also because you faced and conquered a fear.
And if you fart, there are always other yoga studios.

Jackie said...

I have the same fear, but I really need to improve my flexibility So I found this:

You download the MP3's, then print the flash cards and follow along at home. I figure that way I won't die from embarrassment!

Modern Philodoxos said...

i took yoga at a place that had no mirrors and was very non judgemental. yoga can be very intimidating when they make you feel bad for not being perfect. i's not about what you look lik ein a position, it's about how you feel in it. find agood place that makes you feel comfortable and you will love it!

Kristin said...

Just because you have to do yoga doesn't necessarily mean you need to go to a class. If anything, the anxiety of attending a class will take away from something that can be very relaxing and therapeutic. That was why I used online yoga sites and youtube instructional videos to teach myself in the comfort of my own home on a bitchin' hot pink walmart bought mat. Or go with Kates suggestion and get some DVD's.

If you decide to go with the online method I highly recommend, or any videos you can find by Tara Stiles on youtube. (She has her own account and does many different videos. She is to credit for about 85% of what I know)

Good luck and namaste! Haha, if you don't get that yet, you will if you start yoga-ing it up.

Anonymous said...

I was scared of yoga too. But friends persuaded me to try the class at our local community center, and it's really nice. So I'd say get a recommendation from somebody you know not to be athletic or crazy, who likes their yoga class. :)

Anonymous said...

Yoga is great but if it doesn't resonate with you, try something bellydancing! It grounds you, isolates all kinds of different muscles and believe it or not, its so much fun. You can dress up(or not), wear hip scarfs, jingly jewlery and go barefoot. How cool is that? :)

MtnMama said...

Oh, Darlin', what you need is Iyengar tradition, a beginners class, and then you will be fine. The Bikram style is for those who want to really push themselves and for fashionistas. I took Iyengar for years and especially when pregnant, and it was lovely; relaxing, peaceful, and I felt so much better for doing it.

Try to find a beginner's class because having someone spot you on form is really helpful when you are new - otherwise home practice is fine (for people who are more disciplined than I am - I need to have the class for structure)

Good Luck!

Corianne said...

I've been practicing for years, and I remember the intimidation the first few months or so. It sucks, but it goes away. Try a hatha or gentle class to begin with. The room isn't heated, and trust me- there won't be a room full of Gwyneth Paltrow wanna-bes.

My yoga teacher always tells us, "There is no competition in yoga."

Try a studio, see if your local YMCA has classes, or even the community college. Just don't go to one of those crappy gyms full of plastic people. Then you're pretty much guaranteed to feel like shit before you even start.

Jenny said...

I have never tried hot yoga, and after reading this, it is highly unlikely that I ever will. But I have to tell you, regular temperature yoga is great. I feel so relaxed afterward. I prefer to practice with a DVD in my own home, but with that I caution you to make sure you get solely a beginner's DVD, I first tried with a beginner/intermediate, big mistake. :) Go become a pretzel! :D

Living in Muddy Waters said...

Here's a really weird suggestion: Go to a prenatal yoga class. Seriously! Let the teacher know ahead of time you have some major issues and you just need a good yoga experience to offset your bad one (BIKRAM? SERIOUSLY) Anywho, it's gentle, it's all women, and body issues are out the door. You'll feel warm and supported and it might help you over the hump.

misha said...

yoga rocks, but i havent been in like 6 mo. Boo! If you want a free class you can be my guest in my building - we have "free" classes on tues and thurs mornings.

Michelle said...

I start Yoga on Wednesday. I can hardly wait! You will be fine. You could look like a moron in Yoga class in front of 10 people or you could look like a moron in a cart in front of every single shopper at Target. That must be hundreds right? The choice is yours!

Jennifer said...

I hate yoga. I have NO flexibility at all, whatsoever (my hands can barely touch my knees, I cannot put them on the floor), and I can't do the moves, period.

I would like to point out that ah, I did ballet for umpteen years and that didn't fix my lack of flexibility.

ElectricDaisy said...

Yoga is great, and there are classes that are for beginners. How about getting a DVD and trying it at home for a little so you know the poses?

Anonymous said...

I've never done Bikram -- never really wanted to. But what I can tell you about any good yoga class is that everyone looks dumb sometimes. After doing yoga for 6 or 7 years, I still wobble when I'm doing balance poses. Everyone laughs sometimes. Some people cry sometimes (um, me.) Yoga should be practiced without ego, on anyone's part. There's no place for judgment. Yoga centers on acceptance. My experience has been that I've been really blessed with meeting incredibly awesome and supportive people who don't care how perfect my poses are. Please go. It takes a little time to learn some of the poses. I still don't know all the Sanskrit names and I've done a teacher training. But it's been the best thing I've ever done for myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. And after a while, it feels really good.

Anonymous said...

I have a funny story for you. A friend of mine was fairly new to Yoga, and one day while attending a class, the instructor came over to adjust her position.

Unfortunately this caused some air to expel from the "front" - in my neck of the country it's known as a "queaf" (sp?) and made a fart-like noise.

She was absolutely mortified, but how do you tell a room full of "yogis" that "it wasn't a fart!"?

So she said nothing, and never went back to that class again.


AJH said...

It is a funny name, "yoga", and that put me off for years. The hot yoga is for fanatics; even my experienced instructor couldn't take it. There really isn't much time for looking at others when in poses, as one is looking at the ceiling of floor most often. I love, it and would take more if I had the money. Start with a beginners' class so you can get lots of help in correcting poses. Another thing to do is to use yoga methods when bending down to pick something up, reaching into difficult locations etc. in the course of day to day household activities. Have fun!

Mattie said...

I wish I could do yoga like regular people.

I do chair yoga at home.

But I've been lax in following through lately.

So after everyone finishes kicking your ass, come on over to my place and leave a boot print on my butt, okay?

Anonymous said...

Yoga is good for you. You should give it a try. Yoga DVD's are a good idea but if you're not very self-disciplined like myself then they could end up on the shelf collecting dust. Try a beginners class at a small yoga studio and breathe. It will be okay! You will not fall down or twist yourself into a pretzel and not be able to get up or knock over an alter or fart or any of those crazy things you dream up. Take it slow and you will get better at it and become more confident in your postures and breathing. I know you can do it! Oh and a little tip if your really worried about farting then don't eat anything for a half hour to an hour before practicing.

Aussie said...

2 words: Wii Fit.

kymber said...

oh will do wonderfully well at any yoga class you attend! you will do well because you are worried! and everyone will pick up on your nervous energy and then the instructor will nod at you and tell you that you are doing great and then you will notice gwyneth's smiling at you and others winking at you and everyone will make you sooo comfortable that in a few months YOU will be a gwyneth and you will then be nodding and smiling and encouraging the newcomers! you can do this - you can sooooo DO this!
go for it love....and make your readers proud!
(and just imagine what a great blog entry you will have if you do indeed fart or knock over the alter - hahah! naw just teasin ya!)
your friend
(p.s. - how strange is this? my word verification for posting this comment is FLATIVE????)

Caroline said...

Now is the best time to go! Think of all the other people who are starting yoga as a New Years resolution and who also won't know what they're doing. So you won't be alone! Seriously, go now, before all the beginners drop out in the next 2-3 months ;-)

sallyacious said...

I enjoyed the one Bikram yoga class I took, but then, I like yoga. And you'll notice I've not gone back to Bikram. It's a little TOO for me. But they put me near the door and checked on me every so often once I decided I was done and would spend the rest of the session lying down.

For you, I wish a beginning instructor like Chuck, my favorite yoga instructor ever. During initial breathing, every session, he says, "And now, if you haven't yet today, think of five nice things to say about yourself." Makes me smile every time.

But a good yoga instructor will provide you with alternatives for all of the poses without actually ever making you feel like an idiot. It's their job to make sure everyone is doing it correctly to avoid injury. And I have yet to meet a yoga instructor who isn't a sweetie.

Deneen said...

Like MtnMama said, take an Iyengar class--but make sure it has a cap on the number of people in it! I took a beginner's class with a friend a few years ago and there were about twenty people crammed into the studio--way too many! But I enjoyed it and now I do pickup classes at a different studio when I have time.

As for hot yoga, if I want to sweat I'll haul a backpack full of books across campus in August.

I will never be much more flexible than a fencepost, but progress comes in millimeters. If you have limited motion there are bolsters to support you and the instructors give you a more gentle version of the pose.

Seriously, do it. It's gentle, not stressful or competitive, but you'll still know you got a workout at the end.

beatgrl said...

Like you, I also have an auto-immune disorder. And my very first flare up was the day after I tried the torture chamber known as Bikram. I was happy just to have survived that day, and I certainly won't be going back.

Thankfully several months later I saw an article about a free Yoga for MS and chronic illness class sponsored by the MS society. I started going, and my health improved so much that I was able to start going to a studio for a "regular" class.

My yoga teacher always says that "you start from where you are" Try to find a class that isn't about perfecting poses (i.e. Iyengar) and is about moving, stretching and breathing. Look for class names like "gentle" or "adaptive" There may even be a class out there geared toward your illness.

I disagree with the folks recommending DVDs. Having to watch the television keeps you from being able to close your eyes and focus on your body. Maybe it works for some people, but I find it very hard to stick with the whole program unless I am in class. And the end of class there is the Shivasana where you lie there and zone out until the instructor pulls you out of it. I've never been able to relax enough to do that at home.

Get out there and do it!! It's not only physical but a mental thing. Lower stress and feel better!!!!
Good luck.

PS, my teacher says that people fart in class all the time

Bri said...

lol You basically just listed all of MY fears about yoga (ie all the excuses for why I haven't gone even though there is a studio literally STEPS from my apartment) I generally have no problem looking like an idiot in public but there's something about sports and sports related activities that makes me cringe. (must be all those years of red rover and dodgeball *shudder*) So, I guess what I'm saying is that I'm the last person to help, but I could also use a kick in the ass.

Anonymous said...

I like "Sallyacious's" comment. Wish I had some advice for you but I've never taken a Yoga class AND will do a bunny hop if trying to balance on one foot.

What I do have is this:

I found this article so intriguing that maybe ...maybe! I might find a yoga teacher with a sense of humor, running a class with enforced silliness and humanity - then I'll try it for sure. Maybe you can gather up a few brave souls and match your group with a yoga teacher? See, this way you are creating the environment and "interviewing" for the instructor. A girl who can give up capri pants for life, well she can create her own Yoga Adventure!

(p.s. I took a peek at the "typical" yoga dream for South Florida Yikes ... I am certain there's at least one yoga teacher that would like to run away from those tighta$$ed places)

Ok, that's as fancy as I can get, best of luck, L.

Christi Lee said...

I hate yoga too, but I'd do it if I had to use one of THOSE carts if I didn't.

I am going to take up running which I hate. We are even.

Good luck. Do some stretches that make you fart before you do go to class though.

Anonymous said...

What are you going to wear instead of capris. Especially when it gets really really hot? I would love to know because I agree capris are not flattering but I can't always wear shorts and jeans in August make me want to not go out at all.

Anonymous said...

Or you could skip the yoga altogether and do pilates. i've done both (and i'm doing neither now - my bad). a good yoga instructor is a blessing, but if you want a stretching class without any aura smoothing or the deep thoughts of someone who might be really great or really really trite...pilates is excellent. it's german based and very similar to yoga only it felt more like doing languid sexy stretches than trying to pretzel myself into downward facing dog....

alissa said...

i agree with you about the capri pants. my husband calls them "the new mom jean" because all of my relatives over the age of 50 wore them at a family reunion this summer. capris are out. way out.

drawer queen said...

Okay, I am a yoga studio owner and if you want to send me the website of the studios you have considered, I will try to decode for you and tell you what to expect. I can also ask around for anyone who might know about them. I practiced Bikram for about two years but really don't like it so much anymore and we only offer one hot yoga class at my studio. It will absolutely change your life (for the better) and my husband, who has some of the same health challenges as you, finally started a few years ago (he is one super tight white man, and not in the cool way) and it has helped him out with some of his heath things as well as making him happier and more flexible in body and mind!
You can email me through my blog (I think) and if not, leave me a comment (on my woefully out of date last blog entry) and I will get back with you and give you my email and phone number. There are some really awesome yoga studios out there. It is about finding the one that works for you!

kerry said...

Go to yoga. You will look like a beginner, and everybody will be thrilled that you came. Some people will be good- ignore them. You might jump around or fall over- so did everybody else when they were learning.

You'll probably also see people who have done yoga for years, who aren't all that flexible. Not everybody's body moves those ways, yet they get far enough to do some good. I'm kind of in this boat; I don't seem to develop much flexibility though my balance does improve if I actually stick with it.

The yoga places I go don't even have altars for me to knock over!

You will get better. Just do it!

Anonymous said...

I went to a yoga class once and hated it, but we have a friend's Wii on loan, and she has WiiFit - which is pretty cool. You can do yoga (among other things) and it checks your balance and tells you how you're doing. Kinda cheesy, but I like being able to see how I'm doing and making it into a mini-competition... Possibly this attitude is why I don't fit at yoga class! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Uh, not to be a jerk or anything, but you know all the other people in the room will be focusing on their own meditation and not watching you, right? So who cares what they think.

Though, if you're really that frightened, just get yourself a DVD and do it at home like the others have suggested. After you're more comfortable we'll kick your ass again and you can go to a public session. *smiles*

Keep reaching for your goals. You'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Yoga isn't that bad, and if you don't want to go to a class due to embarassment or time or money you don't really have to, Just doing some of the easy warm ups at home can be good enough.
I took yoga for two months, quit and every once in a while just do the warm up streaches. I think that's good enough.

Anonymous said...

If you have Comcast, the OnDemand service has yoga on it - just go to Sports & Fitness, then Exercise TV, then Yoga & Pilates. I think if you do a few of those, the poses/names will start to sound familiar to you and you'll feel much more comfortable in class. Good luck! I need to get back into it as well - it really made a big difference for me physically, emotionally, etc...

Anonymous said...

thai massage!!!!

Wide Lawns said...

What I'm going to wear instead of capri pants...hmmm. I hadn't given that enough consideration.


Skirts and I'd like to get some walking shorts. Regular shorts are probably inappropriate for me, though I can get away with them at the beach. Maybe.

Amblus said...

Everyone already said everything I was going to say, but I'll say a few things anyway:

1. Yoga is HARD. Don't worry if you suck at it, it's not something you can be good at right away. It takes lots and lots of work, just like anything else worth doing.

2. Corinne's instructor is correct: there is no competition in yoga. You're not trying to out-yoga the person on the mat next to you. This is all about you and what you get out of it.

3. Rodney Yee. Get a couple of his beginner DVDs and enjoy the, er, view. Once you've gotten comfy with him, find a nice Hatha class.

You'll be fine! You can totally do this.

Shannon Culver said...

Many people have suggested trying a DVD at home, and I think that's a great idea to get comfortable with the whole thing ... but I've found the camaraderie at the gym a HUGE help in keeping my resolution (like past Feb 1). I love the people in my class. They are funny, and supportive, and wonder where I am when I don't show up. It helps.

It also helps that our instructor is fairly normal and not some wacked-out new age guru named Sunshine. (check out some DVD's and you'll find out exactly what I mean) Now those people ARE scary.

Decorina said...

Have you had your thyroid tested? Mine made me feel like a dishrag all the time. One of the most underdiagnosed things in the country.

Yah, yoga makes me feel good, but I feel stupid in class. You can get over it - or do it at home.

JoeinVegas said...

Please, please, please start. I see too many people here in those little carts, driving between the slot machines and running people over without careing. Don't get like that.

Anonymous said...

"If there had been a pose which involved curling up in the fetal position while gagging and convulsing, I would be great at that". I peed my pants laughing at that.

Anyway, years ago, my mom, sister and I all decided to take a yoga class together. During a sesson one evening, the room was super quiet, the instructor was whispering soft directives to the small class of people (maybe 20 or so..), when all of a sudden, my mom (who happens to be the most genteel, prim and proper kind of lady...)rips the loudest fart you've ever heard in your life! Everyone in the class was so mature about it, but not me. I laughed so hard and so long and so loud - you know, the screaming, hysterical, uncontrollable kind of laugh? The kind that sounds like a hyena is loose in the room? Yeah. My laughter was more embarassing than her fart. But I just couldn't stop! Needless to say, I never went back to that particular yoga class again. But, at least I got a great story from the whole experience!


BoB said...

The Bikram is not for everyone. Just like running marathons is not for everyone.

Check out a couple of different studios and keep in mind that it is a spiritual path. Listen to your heart and stay away from anyplace that makes you uneasy.

I'd recommend starting with an instructor, DVDs cannot correct your posture. Once you have a feel for what the poses feel like, then the at home thing may work for you.

REnee in Seattle said...

1) give yourself a break on the whole exhaustion thing. I have long since learned to relax and listen to my body. If it is tired, give it rest, healthy food, a little fresh air, and stop beating yourself up!

2) on the yoga thing, buy yourself a mat and a dvd. Way cheaper than a class, and you can fart all you want without embarrassing yourself.

Anonymous said...

I have fibromyalgia, and I was terrified of yoga, but my doctors and the physical therapist all told me that I needed to. For years.

Finally, I got my courage up, looked at web sites, and actually called a yoga studio that's nearby. I told the owner my issues, my health, let her know how nervous I was, and she told me what class she thought would best suit me.

I went. I talked to the instructor before class (the owner had already talked to him, I found). One of the ladies in the class also has fibro, and is a former yoga instructor! I was so intimidated.

But it turned out that there are lots of modifications to the poses, and no one laughs when I wobble or fall. And I've found myself in poses that I never thought I'd be able to do (still struggle with balance poses).

And you know what? When I'm doing yoga regularly, I don't need pain meds. Or Flexeril. Or trigger point injections. I can move, and I don't hurt near as much.

And now I'm dragging my 6'4" Army husband to classes, and he loves it, too. Even though he's so inflexible he can't sit cross-legged... Hee!

Missicat said...

I don't know about your area, but there are a million studios/types of classes here in the D.C. area. Sometimes you have to try a few to see what fits! Would definitely starting with a beginner's class. And don't be self-conscious - the instructors are there to help!
Have fun!

Erin said...

My yoga instructor even hates bikram! no wonder you are terrified, that is hard stuff!
Find a nice instructor who makes you feel comfortable, that is key! and until you know what you are doing, avoid doing some poses at home. You can really hurt yourself if you do these things incorrectly. Really, find someone you like to teach you, and you will love yoga, it is so great! I have a condition that makes me hurt all the time, and aside from narcotics, yoga is the only thing that helps! (and it is much healthier than the pills)

Miss Kitty said...

My home yoga practice has saved me from the constant pain of sciatica--REALLY. I can't recommend it more highly. I saw all the fitness good it did for my sister, and took it up myself when I started having back probs a few months ago. Class might be fun now & then, but I subscribe to Yoga Journal and follow instructors on the high-quality videos. The spiritual aspects have been great, too. Feel free to e-mail me through my profile if you want to talk about it.

Paige said...

I swear I have all those same fears about yoga. Plus what if I am too fat to do it and that would be embarrassing in front of people

Anonymous said...

Any nail in the coffin of capri pants is a good one. There was only one person in the world who looked good in capri pants, and her name was Audrey Hepburn.

Don't feel bad about being yoga-phobic. I have this phobia about checking my tire pressure, which is a gazillion times lamer.

Ask your doctor about tai chi. It is also good for flexibility, and I've found it to be more fun than yoga.

the Bag Lady said...

Okay, I'm not even going to read the rest of the comments before I write my own!
Get thy skinny butt to a yoga class. If the chubby, unco-ordinated Bag Lady can do yoga, so can you! If you don't want to go to a class to start with, buy a DVD and give some of the poses a try first. Then get thy skinny butt to a class!
(Whew, the Bag Lady isn't usually very authoritative. It actually felt kinda good. Better hope she doesn't get accustomed to this!)

emf said...

My first yoga class was Bikram too. Not only was I a personal mess the larger elder lady in front of me kicked my ass. Then I puked 75 mintues into it and slept for 16 hours that night, after a 3 hour nap.
My sister loves Bikram and is now an instructor. Bikram is good because they do a specific set of poses and each instructor is certified with a 9 week course. Regular yoga instructors differ wildly, but I only do regular yoga now.

Good luck!

redb said...

I wear capri pants all the time too. I know they aren't the greatest but I don't like shorts on me. This is probably because I don't spend a lot on clothes and cheap clothes tend to not fit well. Especially something as unforgiving as shorts. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places but shorts, to me, seem very "tacky American."
I do wear skirts and last summer I started wearing drawstring linen pants. These are hella comfy and you look classier in them than if you were wearing capris.

Hell, I'm a mom anyway. At this point if I'm staying out of elastic waisted pants I'm happy.

yamiryu990 said...

please do get yourself to yoga. hot yoga is just a trend for people that have nothing better to spend their money on. the regular yoga classes will help with flexibility and strength. i took it last semester to see if it would help so a previously injured part could get to having it's old flexibility back and it increased by far more then that. i suggest a class at a community college or center because they are used to working with beginners. having an instructor that your comfortable with is essential to feeling comfortable. and don't worry if you fart, everyone will probably be focused on what the instructor is saying or if they do hear might giggle a bit. as my instructor says "you do what your body will let you do and it will vary from day to day, you might be not always be able to do next week what you can this week"

Anonymous said...

I think they key for not being discouraged by other people in the class is to make sure you take a beginner class. That way everyone else is hopping around and trying not to look like idiots, and is too focused on themselves to notice other people.

You can totally do it!

LMH said...

I like an instructor better than the videos, but I started with videos first. I do Bikram now, but I like flow yoga as well - and it's not in a hot room.

I guess that yoga is most beneficial in that it helps me with being hard on myself - my instructor says "do your best, and let your best be good enough." I also feel more calm, centered and focused afterward.

Go for it. And every class I've been in has someone farting - it happens.

Anonymous said...

try While you're getting the hang of it online, shop around at the different yoga studios near you. Try all the different teachers. A teacher you love makes ALL the difference. Once you find your teacher, you'll be hooked. Also if you go with a friend, it's nicer and more like a social thing that you can discuss later (and laugh about).

-Jen (Brooklyn)

Mile High Pixie said...

I know 8,000 people have commented, but allow me to add. It's all good--I totally understand why yoga would terrify you, especially after the Torture That Is Bikram Yoga. I think Bikram Yoga is a bad idea, plus I think Bikram Choudry is a snobbish asshole.

having said that, there is a lot of info out there--DVDs as well as articles in Yoga Journal and can help you even if you're a super-duper beginner. My sister, Miss Kitty over at Educated & Poor, has found great relief to her back pain with yoga. Plz 2 give it a try.

And go get your kitteh from Kiss Kitty.

L said...

I also have an auto-immune disease and I promise you, Yoga is amazing for it. I've been doing it for years and whenever I get lazy and stop going, I definitely feel it. It improves my pain, energy and even sleep tremendously.

Yoga classes can be way intimidating, but it's been my experience that most people are just as freaked out as you are to be there. And part of Yoga is learning to accept yourself as you are in that moment.

The Wii Fit teaches you how to do the most common poses too, if you want to try it out at home first.

Hot Yoga is tough! I don't blame you for not wanting to go back. Maybe try a gentle Yoga class. That's my favorite, they are aimed at people who are just starting out or have medical conditions that are looking for more of the restorative benefits. The poses are also significantly easier and many are really comfortable!

Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

I have a Wii Fit and it is great. There3 is an entire section dedicated to Yoga poses. I, like you, am a little unbalanced and clumsy, but now I can do these poses in the privacy of my living room at my own pace and the way the Wii fit is designed it talks you through and even recognizes if you are not balancing or holding the pose correct and offers assistance and advice.

Plus if you get the Wii (Wii Fit is separate) then you can also play some fun games like bowling and tennis which are alot of fun when you have copany over and good exercise.

MsCatCalls said...

I think youre meant to fart . Why else would there be a yoga posture called the Gas Ejector ?
Or is it just in England we have that one ? Maybe its reverse psychology though cos Ive always squeezed really hard and never even produced a teeny one .... at that point in the class anyway .

MsCatCalls said...

I've given this some more thought .
My biggest fear isnt the production of a fart , ( see my previous comment on the Gas Ejector posture ) , but that someone else would produce ahead of me and I would be caught unawares and giggle like a schoolgirl . How embarrasing would that be ? On reflection that may be why I dont Yoga any more ?
Tittering uncontrollably whilst the rest of the class looks cool and yogic can feel very silly .

Heather said...

Saying you hate yoga is something like saying you hate vegetables. I mean, sure, there are people who hate every single vegetable, but most people can find at least one vegetable that they really love.

The three types of yoga I have done most are regular old Hatha yoga (catch-all term), Kundalini yoga, and Bikram yoga. I liked all three but for different reasons. I think you should try a beginning Hatha class at a place like community college or the Y. DVDs are good, too, but I think it's better to have at least a 6-week session of classes with an instructor before you step out on your own. After that you might get more adventurous and try other things. Bikram was, by far, the hardest yoga I ever did. Definitely don't judge the other kinds by Bikram.

Good luck! I hate capri pants and am relieved to hear you say they are outdated. I never wore them but was starting to think I would have to cave in.

Anonymous said...

I completely understand your concerns. I am an RYT (Registerd Yoga Teacher) at the 200-hour level in Classical Hatha Yoga. I am also in my early 50s and not svelte, if you catch my drift. I taught in Florida for several years but left the teaching profession exactly because of your concerns and my experiences with the physically obsessed women who believe that Yoga must hurt and the only Yoga that is worth doing is sticking your head up your ass. May I make a recommendation (or two?) First of all, find a HATHA yoga class. All yoga is Hatha Yoga, but certainly forms of Hatha, such as Bikram or Ashtanga are best left until you become more experienced and comfortable with you own body and level of flexibility. Secondly, find a good teacher. This is MUCH harder than it sounds because many of the--ahem--"teachers" today are body-obsessed pituitary cases, 23 years old, 6 ft tall and 12 lbs who can't teach their way out of a paperbag and use the class as their own practice. ASK TO SEE CRENDENTIALS AND ASK ABOUT TEACHING EXPERIENCE! A good teacher will let you explore you own boundaries and limits and teach to all students of the class, not just the "stick-your-head-up-your-ass, it must hurt to be effective" crowd. Ask the teacher if you can observe a class before you take it. A good teacher will ask you about any injuries or health challenges before class so she can make sure each student will be safe. I can go on for days, but I will stop here and wish you the best. Don't be intimidated, have faith in yourself and remember you are beautiful and perfect just the way you are. Namaste and Peace

Kelly Hudgins said...

I found a kind of dumpy yoga teacher/massage therapist who was as flexible as gumby and specialized in helping people with physical limitations. No one in her classes looked like Madonna (although there was that one 60+ Pilates addict who I wanted to bitch-slap when she nailed every pose, but that's another story....)

Andyway, don't go to anything with a trendy Name Like Bikhram. Look for "restorative yoga" or "gentle hatha yoga"

You;ll love it and feel better the first wekk. I promise.

You need a teacher to help correct your poses.

It'll be okay.

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