Photo: MilanMarkovic78 (Shutterstock)
I have never been a fan of yoga. I’ve tried it several times throughout my adult life as “yoga bodies” and yoga studios became inescapable, but I’m a relatively high-energy person who prefers running and other cardio if given the choice. And while the few yoga classes I experimentally took were challenging, they weren’t challenging in the way that I found satisfying—that is, running or bouncing around instead standing in one position until my muscles ache.
But I know that yoga is good for building strength, which is a weak point of mine; not to mention the mindfulness that’s built into the practice, which would be good for my anxious brain. I also recently sustained a minor knee injury, causing me to take a break from my usual running habit, so it felt like a good time to take over the Lifehacker Fitness Challenge and try to make myself like yoga by sticking with it for 30 days.
I didn’t have to do any research for picking a yoga instructor. Even though I’ve been decidedly anti-yoga for some time, I’d heard about the very popular Adriene Mishler of Yoga With Adriene from multiple people (and outlets), and I can see why—her energy is approachable, down-to-earth, and calm without being a parodied cliché of a yoga teacher. Plus, her classes are a range of lengths—many being under 30 minutes—and most importantly, they’re free.
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Because I’m relatively fit and decently flexible, I decided to forgo the basic “yoga-for-beginners” track and instead follow Adriene’s calendar for this month. (The theme of “Renew” sounded pretty good, too.)
The first video I tried was titled “Yoga for Concentration and Mental Focus,” and while I didn’t see how the particular session improved on either of those things, I did find it to be a pleasant 26-minute activity to do in the middle of a workday. Even the initial head-rocking she had me do at the beginning of the class felt surprisingly good and made me realize how little I think to stretch my neck.
By the end of the class, I was much hotter than I thought I would be from such a slow-moving exercise, and my back muscles felt the most worked-out they’ve been in a very long time. While I’m still not positive after this first class that I will become a true fan of yoga, I’ve had a positive enough experience to look forward to taking the next one. Stay tuned for the rest of my journey this month as I try to get into yoga and capture any benefits I find along the way.