Getting my OM on

I feel as though I’m the last person in America to try a yoga class. I can’t possibly be the only one, but I keep thinking of the Sex and the City characters at random yoga classes or the episode of Castle where he figures out important info about the victim based on her yoga routine. If you’ve seen Couples’ Retreat, then I know you remember the yoga instructor for couples as played by Carlos Ponce.

But I digress. After some experimentation with the Wii Fit version of yoga, I decided I was ready to try my first class. Off I went with mat under my arm, not really knowing what to expect and having only a rudimentary knowledge of Downward Facing Dog. Fortunately, yoga classes are included with my gym membership, so I didn’t have to worry about paying extra or finding a specific studio. I will say that Groupon, Living Social, and sites of that ilk tend to run plenty of specials so trying yoga on the cheap shouldn’t be a problem if you live in one of the larger metropolitan areas.

We started with the classic yoga pose, the one that looks very similar to “criss-cross-applesauce,” complete with thumbs and forefingers together. I honestly thought it would be more difficult to “center” than it was. I managed to relax without fidgeting! From there, the instructor lead us through several different poses often moving around the room to make sure our form was correct. For the most part, it wasn’t embarrassing or awkward with the exception of when she said we were going to do a pose in pairs. And then I thought of Couples Retreat again. If you’re really curious about why such a reference would make me apprehensive take a look at this clip from the movie:

(This is a crass R-rated movie–don’t look at this if you are easily offended)

So, yeah, couples’ yoga–let me say once again that it is *NOT* like that. The instructor wanted us to take turns leaning over a partner—in my case a lady I had met all of twenty minutes before—and the idea was to use our body weight to push the other person into a deeper stretch. (I resisted the urge to tell her that I was transferring my karma to her) Blessedly, that pose didn’t last too long, and the instructor admitted it wasn’t something she did often. From the muttering of the ladies around me, I’m going to guess she won’t do it again soon. Even with that pose, I still felt really at ease, and that’s often difficult for me in group fitness classes.

In the midst of some variation of Downward Facing Dog, I learned a very valuable lesson: yoga clothes are tight for a reason. When I leaned over, my tee shirt would billow into my face despite several attempts at cramming it into my waistband. Blessedly, no one laughed at me. Not even a snicker which demonstrates how seriously these ladies took their yoga!

So, let me break it down into pros and cons:

PROs

  • I felt the stretches and even broke a sweat
  • The session left me feeling calm, upbeat, and energetic
  • My posture was improved to the point that I had to adjust my rearview mirror when I got back into the car
  • We sat up at the end of the session to find a piece of chocolate on our mats

CONs

  • Yoga classes may not be for you if you feel apprehensive about sticking your butt up in the air in a room full of strangers.
  • Some of the positions are difficult (think variations of plank) so be willing to dial it back in order to avoid injury
  • Myfitnesspal claims I burned 142 calories, but I’m not buying it. I don’t think yoga alone would be enough for weight loss. I don’t think it could take the place of strength training completely, either, but it does work your core and helps you with balance which helps with strength training and cardio.

Ever tried yoga in a class setting? Do you want to try yoga class but haven’t worked up the nerve yet? Tell me your stories and throw me your questions. If I don’t know the answer, maybe I can find someone who does. In the meantime, go have a great day and

Namaste.

Comments

11 responses to “Getting my OM on”

  1. Anna Sugden says:

    Love the review, Sally! Thanks for trying these things out and being our guinea pig LOL.

    I must admit, I’ve been giving yoga some serious thought because it’s been recommended for my back. The only time I did it in the past, I found it too sedentary and slow. I’m also not very good at centering or focusing (I think I’ve said before that I’m sure I’m a touch ADD).

    You’ve inspired me to check out some of the DVDs and see if any of them work for me.

    • Sally Kilpatrick says:

      Anna, I would recommend the class. Having an instructor helped keep me focus, and the unwinding really helped. I would recommend yoga for back pain based on my experience, the deep stretches felt really, really good, and it helped improve my posture for sure. Alas, no Carlos Ponce….

  2. Kendall Grey says:

    I would love to try yoga, but I’m way too self-conscious and I HATE for people to touch me. Hahahaha! But it sounds like yoga does what it’s supposed to – loosens you up and gives you energy. I really need that. Will think on it. Thanks for the post. The video cracked me up. 🙂

    • Sally Kilpatrick says:

      I thought you might like the video. Again, that is *not* what really happened. If you want to try yoga at home, though, you can make your own routine using the Wii Fit, for one. I’m sure there are other videos out there, but I’m not familiar with them.

      Encouragement! *virtual booty smack*

  3. I tried a yoga class once when I was a member of the Y. Let’s just say I felt like a really bad contortionist. 🙂 I do want to try bits of it on my own. I bought a couple of those 10-Minute Solution exercise DVDs — Pilates for Beginners and Hip Hop Dance Mix — but I think they have a yoga one too.

    • Sally Kilpatrick says:

      Really bad contortionist! Ha.

      I definitely recommend starting with the Wii Fit or the videos. I don’t think it would have gone so well if I hadn’t had any practice whatsoever.

      I want to try the Hip Hop mix and Pilates, too, so let me know how those go. And I’m going to make it to Zumba. One day. Instructor canceled yesterday’s class. Again. *sigh*

  4. LOL Sally! I did watch that movie and LOVED it. I couldn’t stop thinking of it the whole time I read your post. 🙂

    I did try Yoga via the P90X video. O.M.G. That is hard.

    This video is an hour and a half long. WAY too much for me. I thought it would be easy peasy. NOT. I can totally see how this will get a person in shape.

    I honestly did not like this video, BUT I’ve been told by several friends to try a classroom class. They found it more beneficial than just the trying to muddle your way through the videos. At least in my case anyway. And you don’t get that chocolate. 😉

    Tami

    • Sally Kilpatrick says:

      *booty smack* Encouragement!

      I think you should definitely try the class. The class I was in alternated relaxing poses with difficult ones so it was nowhere near as intense as some of the videos I’ve tried.

      Glad you enjoyed the reference!

    • Donna Alward says:

      Tami – you are not the first to dislike the 90 min YogaX video! I swapped it out with the P90X One-on-One Fountain of Youth yoga routine which is much better and only 45 min long.

      I sweat as much doing yoga as I do a lot of workouts simply because the muscle control to hold those poses is intense!

      Sally, thanks for trying these things out. I’ve done the same thing with wearing a baggy t-shirt during my cardio (the warm-up includes downward dog segments) but thankfully my gym is in my home so the only one to see my wobbly bits is my husband. LOL.

      I’d LOVE to try a zumba class! It’s on my list of things to try this year!

  5. Love yoga — and enjoyed your summary 🙂

    I started with Wii Fit, too, about 2 yrs ago, and I don’t do the Wii anymore, but do some yoga almost every day with various DVDs, Yoga Journal, etc. I might try a class at some point, but I really like having yoga just for myself.

    But I’ve found after a year of on and off practice, and then a year of almost consistent practice, that it absolutely can take the place of any strength training — in fact, I have so much more muscle tone and strength than I did when I did Nautilus, etc. There was a study on this somewhere in recent months — that yoga actually increases fitness and strength quite a lot.

    In lifting and holding your body weight, measuring you breath, you are doing much more than you can with any free weights. My strength and flexibility have increased dramatically — far more than through any other workout. I can lift 50lb bags of bird food with no strain, and I have been building rock walls this summer with my husband (large rocks) — with almost no pain or soreness. My hands would often be sore from long days of writing, but I have yoga stretches for my hands and arms, too, and they virtually gotten rid of soreness.

    Yoga helps me feel good all around, mentally and physically. It’s the only “exercise” I do (aside of a daily dog walk and yard work), though I don’t think of that way. It’s just good for me, and I like it. I don’t ever want to stop.

    Good luck with your yoga journey — highly recommend Yoga Journal and Jason Crandell. Namaste!

    Sam

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