Lesson #104: How I Finally Got it Up for Yoga

by Rachel on September 20, 2011

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.

 

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenn September 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

long-time reader, first-time commenter.. but I LOVED this. i can totally relate, and since i’ve fallen out of my yoga habit as of late.. your post has inspired me to get back into it!

oh, and if you haven’t tried “hot” (read: forrest, bikram) yoga but you love having stretchy hamstrings.. you should definitely try those classes! they make me mindblowingly flexible and are so addicting. if you thought you felt seriously chilled out after regular yoga.. hot yoga’s ten times as relaxing post-class!

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2 Dori September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am

Everything you said is 100% true. I love this post and I am so happy you feel this way about yoga! You just inspired me to do a LOT more yoga once my marathon is over.

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3 Melissa September 20, 2011 at 10:21 am

You are so wise. Usually, I’m all about variety, but I agree that yoga monogamy is the way to go. Sometimes I have a hard time getting myself to do yoga, but when I do, I’m always glad I came. Er, went.

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4 Rachel September 20, 2011 at 10:40 am

Ba-ZING!

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5 MelissaNibbles September 20, 2011 at 10:39 am

Haha! I loved this post. I need to find a workout “hobby”. I lose interest in workouts easily. Just like men, I haven’t found one that’s been able to keep my attention ;)

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6 Rachel September 20, 2011 at 10:40 am

NICE, Nibbles!

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7 Hannah September 20, 2011 at 9:53 pm

I agree-I love the way this post was written. And nicely stated, Melissa.

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8 Rachael September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am

I’m all for the yoga, but in the middle of a class once, I let a little puff of air slip (if you catch my drift) and I vowed to never return to a yoga class again. Is that normal, I mean, do people fart on the regular or am I just a freak?

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9 Rachel September 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

I read this article recently that makes me think it’s pretty common!

http://www.fitsugar.com/Embarrassing-Yoga-Class-Moments-How-Prevent-Them-18785073

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10 MelissaNibbles September 20, 2011 at 11:15 am

I fart everywhere!

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11 nicole September 20, 2011 at 11:00 am

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/pre-yoga-me-vs-post-yoga-me/

I feel like you’d appreciate this post!!!!

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12 Rachel September 20, 2011 at 11:24 am

That is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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13 deva @ deva by definition September 20, 2011 at 11:35 am

I loved this post. I think you hit the nail on the head, especially about being monogamous with your workouts. I keep trying to hit the running/weight-training/multiple days a week grouping and burning out, so I’m picking one and sticking with it instead of wearing myself out.

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14 Heidi Nicole September 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Freaking hilarious!
I can not get into yoga. I’ve only tried it a handful of times and never consistently with the same instructor which might be playing a huge factor. If I can find a studio with spin and yoga I’d probably throw down the cash and go for it!

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15 Christie F September 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I have to be honest, the first time I tried yoga was a prenatal DVD one. And I just could not get into it. Maybe it’s because the instructor sounded really really hokey, and kept going on and on about this wonderful connection we are building with our unborn children at this moment….
It made me feel shitty that I wasn’t building a wonderful connection with my unborn child. So I turned it off and ate some ice cream.

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16 [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. September 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Really awesome that you’ve been so motivated and really sticking with it!

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17 Lindsay @ Lindsay's List September 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm

What type of yoga are you taking?? I’ve tried a couple various types but the one I LOVE (and hate) is Bikram. (or any hot yoga) So schweaty …but it feels so awesome afterwards!

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18 Rachel September 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Mostly Vinyasa, though I go to Iyengar once a week!

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19 Jess-The SemiAbnormal Gal September 20, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Excellent choice with Iyengar. He is the man! I’m so glad you are on the yoga train. It such a wonderful hobby (which you hit on the head, of course!). Um, not to mention, some of the postures will totally send blood all a flowing to the lady parts….which is yet another reason to go home and make sure you man can get it up for yoga too!

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20 Mary September 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I think you’ve got me wanting to try it now! I’ve always hesitated because I’m not flexible and can see it being super embarrassing…I live in a small college town with TONS of cheap/donation-based yoga, but there’s always someone I know in a class, or teaching the class, not sure if I can deal with the shame…haha. Gotta start somewhere though!

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21 Bobbi Jo Nichols September 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Great post. I really needed to hear this. In 6 weeks (from next Mon.) I will have recovered from 2 surgeries and I need to get back into taking care of me. I use to love yoga and just put myself on the back burner so I am excited about this post and the motivation it has given me. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

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22 Susie September 20, 2011 at 7:52 pm

You know, I just started doing a few videos I have at home and was surprised at how much I liked the work out from yoga. I still can’t totally get it up for the whole soothing sounds/get in touch with yourself business, but I’m hoping to take a few classes because my brain totally needs the yoga chill-out vibes these days.

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23 Brittney @ Brittney Breathing September 20, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Love this! I just started attending yoga classes at my gym (newbie yogi here) and I’ve really started to enjoy it. It’s so nice to not be judged and not have to think about all of our outside worries for that hour every day.

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24 Alicia from Poise in Parma September 21, 2011 at 7:47 am

I love your first point. To me, it’s not yoga unless I’m in a hot studio – which is just a ridiculous thought process. I’m really looking forward into diving into yoga more since my half is done and especially after reading this. Hurrah for downward dog!

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25 NSC September 21, 2011 at 10:33 am

Been seriously considering pursuing yoga, despite my lady friends teasing me mercilessly about it. (This may also be related to the most physically perfect man I’ve ever laid eyes on swearing by it… ) But back on point, the comparisons between the Big Stretch and the Big Sex made me laugh. Maybe a class or two on my own isn’t such a bad idea…

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26 Nicole @ Giraffelegs September 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I have to stop reading these in class…I can’t stop laughing at inappropriate times.

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27 Sarah September 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I love, love, love this! I’m glad that you’re now enjoying yoga so much! I just finished my first week of hot yoga, but I couldn’t make it to a lot of the classes because of car troubles all week (made it to 2 of them). A studio environment with a lot of girls is SO much different than going to the gym watching dudes pump iron and below-average classes taught by instructors that I don’t really enjoy. Do you think that you’ll still keep a gym membership? I’m now wondering if I should cancel my gym membership or keep it for random spinning and weight lifting. My sister and I have now paid the initiation fee twice for LAF, but the one in Clearwater isn’t as great as the one in MN. I feel like I should be doing something on top of yoga but not sure quite what. I’m hoping that by the end of this month with hot yoga, I’ll feel just as great about it–“after a month of foreplay” ;)

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28 Kelsey Langley April 24, 2012 at 11:09 am

I just posted my first-time experience with Yoga. You are hysterical and I’m going to try and continue going, approaching it as a hobby!

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