Last night, I completed my 16th yoga class in one month, so I officially hit my “four times a week for an entire month” goal.
This is a really big deal for me because I’ve never been able to get it up for yoga before. Or I would get it up and I’d take a couple classes or try a DVD, but I couldn’t sustain my excitement for very long. I’d go a couple times…and then I’d blow it, disappointing myself and my workout buddies.
“This never happens to me, I swear…” I’d think.
Here is what finally gave me a huge yoga boner and the stamina to keep it up until I hit my goal!
I re-defined what “counts.” If you think the only way you can get off is through missionary sex, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. But that’s totally how I was approaching fitness! I used to think that the only way I could enjoy — or “count” — a workout was if it was intense cardio that left me drenched in sweat and out of breath. Yoga definitely leaves me sweaty and out of breath, but it feels very different from taking a spin class or running.
In the past, I wanted to do five days a week of cardio plus a couple of yoga classes , and that just didn’t work with my schedule. It’s like trying do date two guys at once. Yes it’s possible, but you’d just beso sore and you’d never have time to sleep! Once I began to realize that walking or just being active was enough for me, I didn’t feel like I was missing out by replacing cardio workouts with yoga.
I became monogamous. I loved dating around — taking lots of classes at the gym — but I’ve found that when it comes to yoga, I like to stick with the same thing. And it’s hard to be monogamous at the gym! A studio also has more instructors and more classes; a gym might only have a few classes and if you can’t make one of them or don’t like one instructor, you’re just not going to have a lot of options, so you’re likely to just not go to the class at all.
And while I’m sure some people can get everything they need from a class at the gym, I really prefer a studio atmosphere for any type of workout class. With yoga, I found that my classmates took it more seriously, which really helped motivate me to do the same.
I paid for it. It’s always a risk to pay a lot of money up front for an unlimited membership, but I’ve found that to be my best motivation. If I’ve paid for it, I can’t afford not to go. My unlimited membership was $110; if I only went twice a week, I’d be paying $13.75 per class, which is a lot. If I went four times a week, it went down to $6.88 per class, which I can handle. I couldn’t get that type of motivation at a gym; even if the gym membership was pricey, the per-visit price only motivated me to work out and not specifically do yoga.
I made it my hobby. Now that I’m approaching working out as a hobby, I’m finding it’s easier to stick with it. The same thing happened when I started marathon training instead of just running for the hell of it. Giving me a way to get into it outside of classes — reading books or blogs, talking to other enthusiasts, buying new equipment — helped motivate me because it made it more than just a workout.
I used clothes to get in the mood. Just like buying some new lingerie can get you all ready for sex, walking into trendy sports stores got me in the mood for yoga. Every time I’d walk into Lululemon, I’d want to buy everything…but I also wanted a reason to buy everything. It was like having a really, really sexy partner who you just want to please. My Lululemon pants and mat made me feel better in class (just based on performance alone, not to mention aesthetics) and I found myself wanting to go several times a week so I could justify buying more. (Oddly enough, I haven’t bought more, but the motivation is still there.)
I’m more comfortable taking it all off. Emotionally, that is. Yoga is all about the mind-body connection. While I definitely believe it can do wonders for your mental state, I also think that you have to be in the right mental state to really get into it. You have to be OK with living in the moment and spending time in your own head and body, not thinking about the past or the future. I am more open to that now, so I get a lot more out of each class; as a result, I like being there more.
I saw the benefit of hooking up with other girls. It’s so easy to connect with potential friends through yoga! It can be hard to make girl friend dates, but it’s easy to say, “Hey, let’s take a yoga class together!” to a girl who is into it too. (And it seems like every girl I meet is into it or at least has some experience; I totally feel like the last one to the party!)
I enjoyed doing it alone. Sometimes it’s good to have a partner, but sometimes doing it alone can be a real turn-on. I like that I don’t really know anyone at my studio yet because I love having a place to go where no one really knows me. I don’t have to socialize, make small talk about my life, think about the big stuff or my responsibilities. When I walk into that studio, I could be anyone and that freedom actually gives me the opportunity to really be myself. When I walk out of the studio, I feel a lot more aware of who I am, and that confidence and sense of self really comes through in other areas of my life.
I stopped trying so hard to get turned on. Ya know, sometimes the harder you try to get turned on, the more difficult it becomes. Especially if you know it’s good for you. You’ve got your scented candles and your mood music and a really hot partner who is all “I’M GOING TO MAKE YOU COME! YOU’RE GOING TO COME! ARE YOU COMING YET? HERE LET ME TRY THIS CRAZY POSITION TO MAKE YOU COME!” and you’re just like…Nope. Can’t. And then somehow when you aren’t trying, you have really great hookups!
It’s the same with yoga; I finally realized that I just needed to chill out and not think about getting turned on, trusting that I would get turned on eventually, but if I didn’t, no biggie.
A month in, I still have a long way to go, but I now I know that it’s working. My body is changing and adapting (my arms! my back! my stretchy hamstrings OMG!!!!) and I feel amazing — healthy, balanced, chill. (Sometimes too chill; I leave class and just appear to be completely blown for the next hour or so.) But my point is, you’re going to have to try yoga — or anything new — without immediate gratification.
The things above helped me stick with it long enough to hit that point, but I also put it out of my mind that I had to love it at the end of the first class. Sometimes it just takes a little time to get warmed up; I’m glad I gave myself a month of foreplay to do so.