I first discovered yoga in high school. I was an angsty high schooler with poor body image and an absolute hatred for team sports. I bought a yoga tape (yes, tape. I may be young, but I’m not that young.) and got started. I got Yoga for Dummies, which I would absolutely recommend to somebody looking to get into yoga – it’s not a flow workout, you literally just do 12 poses without moving between them. But it’s a great way to learn to do each pose properly. I eventually bought “beyond the basics” from the same series, which was also excellent. I did yoga for a few weeks, then got busy again and stopped. I continued this pattern for the next…oh, eight years.
I tried yoga in college, going to quasi-yoga classes (“stretch & strengthen” etc.) at the gym – they were awesome, but the timing wasn’t great. When it was good, I could go the whole semester regularly going to one class, and noticed huge improvements in my flexibility and strength. But I would get busy again, and then fall off. Every time I came back though, yoga would open me with open arms and I was always relieved and grateful for my ability to ease back into stretches.
In law school, there was only one or two yoga classes offered at our gym, and they were always always during another class I had. So when I moved to another city the summer after my second year and joined the Y, and they offered a “yoga for runners” class, I got really excited. Whether runners should do yoga is somewhat debated, but this class was great – we had a teacher who would focus on things like our feet and hamstrings and other body parts that runners neglect. The class was also funny, because it was close to 50% guys, which has never happened in any other yoga class ever.
Once I got home, I started going to yoga more and more regularly at the Y, but what I have found works best is to go regularly to a Saturday morning class. First of all, it requires you to get up and do something with your Saturday, and secondly, it starts the weekend off right. It helps you relax and take off the stress of the week, and then you can focus on more important things. I have much more productive Saturdays when I do yoga. It also lets me get some me-time when say, my in-laws are in town. I also feel better and I think my recent re-entry into regular yoga practice is helping with job-search-related depression a lot.
Since I’m unemployed, my spending on my physical well-being is kept to a minimum, and I look for free things to do. I am fortunate to have a local free yoga class that I can attend, my local studio offers “community” classes that are only $6, and I also found out recently about a donations-based yoga studio that is nearby. I really wish I could afford the $109 a month it costs to join my local studio, but I suspect even if I could afford that, it wouldn’t be worth it – it would be more worth it to join a regular gym, even though I think there is a lot to be said for having a true yoga practitioner teach you.