I know I should, like, LOVE yoga. It is exactly the kind of workout an athletic, vegetarian, hooky-booky gal living in LA should be into. But I am not. I try and I try and I try and I do not love it, I actively dislike it. I find yoga frustrating. Whenever I begin a class I immediately feel like running out the door. Most of my yoga experiences are at least partially spent calculating how many people would notice if I quietly gathered my things and snuck out the back (the answer is always “everyone” which is the only reason I haven’t done it yet).
So what is it about yoga that makes me want to crawl out of my skin and run the second someone lovingly tells me to go into, “downward facing dog”?
I mean it looks dumb, right?
1) First of all, holding the uncomfortable poses makes me SO anxious. This is definitely not the intention. Yoga does not solve my anxiety, it makes it worse.All that focus on breathing and internal balance makes my skin crawl. I start to panic. At least in Bar Method or Pilates we are always moving and I don’t have time to really sink in and dwell on the fact that I am hating every second of the experience.
2) My feet are unnaturally sweaty. I find yoga and most barefoot activities uncomfortable because my feet get excessively sweaty. This has been a lifelong affliction resulting in deep-seeded insecurities and physical ramifications (as a child I had many twisted ankles due to sweating right out of my little sandals) (this is why you’ve probably never seen me wearing sandals) (also sandals are dumb). It is a whole thing. As hard as it is for everyone else, it is extra difficult for me to hold poses, because 10 minutes into class my yoga mat turns into a slip n’ slide.
3) Shavasana- This is the part of class (usually at the beginning and end) where you lay on your back and breathe. It is meditative and intended to be a calming, focused moment where you connect with your body and intentions. However, the second someone tells me to lay quietly on my back and empty my thoughts, my mind is all like, “Fuck that! Hey Katy. Katy. Katy. You are a dummy. D-U-M-M-Y. You call this working out? WELL GOOD LUCK hahahaha. Ug I need to get the fuck out of here. Did you notice there is a Yogurtland next door to this place? Yes, I did notice that. If we leave now while everyone has their stupid eyes closed, no one will notice.”
4) Everyone is so gassy! Seriously. I don’t know what it is, either it’s the “detoxifying” effect of all the twisty relaxing poses, or it’s the fibrous plant-based yogi diet all these Beverly Hills Lady Types are eating. Whatever it is, for some reason, at least 3 times a class the yoga instructor will be telling you to, “breathe deep,” and some gal will just let one rip! With her butt in the air and everything!
Just like my dog does it.
I can’t help but find it hilarious and disgusting and completely disruptive when this happens. I will feel guilty and embarrassed for laughing, at which point I go back to thinking about leaving. Then I feel guilty for wanting to leave and THEN I realize that I am doing a different side from everyone else and I can’t remember if I ever even switched halfway through.
5) When I open up my hip flexors, I bawl. This one isn’t exclusive to yoga, but yoga is the only activity that basically guarantees a nice deep pigeon stretch. Something about a good hip flexor stretch surrounded by soft candles and maybe low music (or a Tibetan singing bowl!) makes me uber contemplative and emotional. And I know I am not the only one. I have left many yoga studios in the company of suspiciously bright eyed women and men nodding to each other in silent recognition of a particularly intense final stretch.
You might say, “but isn’t that a good thing?” and to THAT I say no way. I cry enough as is, like daily. I want my workout to make me happy and endorphinated* NOT a weepy POS sad sack.
Which brings me back to my very first reason, yoga does not solve my anxiety. It does not make me calm. Sad, panicky, slippery, farty; these are the actual things yoga makes me feel. Everyone tells me to, “work out those emotions on the mat,” but that is hard when I hate the mat so very much. I mean, trust me - I wish I loved the practice enough to actually practice it. I want to be a part of this club and reap its life changing benefits. So that is what I intend to do. If I am feeling this much resistance it must be something that I need to focus on, right? I am determined to tap into whatever it is that people find so appealing about the experience. I will continue going (uuuug) and I will master this. Or my class series will expire, whatever comes first.
*endorphinated is not a real word