From ‘Yoga? Uh, No’ to ‘YogaGlo’

If you’ve been following me for a while (or if you’ve known me for any length of time) you’ll know that an exercise shift of seismic proportions has taken place.

Two years ago, I spent at least 7-8 hours a week at the gym, mostly in an anaerobic state. And I’d spend at least two (if not 3) hours at home on the nordic track.

If asked, I would say that I was addicted to cardio. I liked to sweat. I loved exercise. I liked the gym (though, for the life of me, I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve been there).

Whenever I would talk to my friends they would say, I bet you’d love yoga. Or even better, my boyfriend: “According to Bob Weir, yoga is the ultimate exercise.”

Uh huh.

Thank you, but no.

I had this thing – you know, like an equal sign in the brain – where I essentially equated yoga with no exercise or, worse, a complete waste of time.

I also had an equal sign between people who did yoga with “preciousness.”

I think this one came from one too many times at Omega, where I’d set my mat up in front of the floor to ceiling window, in the front row, 15 minutes before class started, only to have some supposedly “super conscious” skinny cow wearing Lululemon would sneak in 15 seconds after class had already started and wedge herself between me and the window. Now, granted, she was skinny, but she wasn’t see through. And although she might have been internally aware, her external awareness needed some work. But I digress….

You see, what was really going on was that I also had a complementary equal sign: exercise = calorie burn.

I didn’t burn calories when I did yoga (at least not as many as I did on a spinning bike or on the nordic track), thus from a calories in-calories out model of weight loss, it wasn’t exercise.

I hadn’t quite figured out why it was that everyone that I knew who was addicted to yoga had the proverbial “yoga body.” Though self-selection, I figured, was as reasonable an explanation as any.

This summer, Michael and I went to go visit a friend-couple of his. Cheryl, who was quite a bit thinner than she’d been when I’d met her the year before, mentioned that she’d started doing – you got it – yoga. Granted, it was Bikram Yoga. And because you sweat in Bikram Yoga my primate brain perked up. Besides, 10 pounds is 10 pounds. I wasn’t able to go with her that weekend (we all overslept following Chris’ 50th birthday bash), but I filed the thought away and upon returning home, I did a search for Bikram yoga in my area. And, after many attempts, came up dry (no pun intended)

But in the process, I stumbled across this website called, “YogaGlo.”

YogaGlo, located in Santa Monica, is a free yoga studio that streams their classes online for only $18 a month, which is the cost of most single drop in classes. They have a variety of classes (in terms of style, length, intensity); they have a variety of instructors (many of whom are nationally recognized yoga teacher trainers); they have searching features so that you can search for classes in terms of duration, style, intensity, specific use (such as hip openers, immunity booster, yoga for insomnia, morning yoga, etc); they have a beginner series for each style of yoga so you can get introduced to the principles in a step-by-step manner; they have a way to favorite your favorite classes; they keep a history of the classes you’ve taken; and they have a practice tracker. They also offer a 15 day trial for free. I thought, why not? I liked the Santa Monica vibe and I figured that if I didn’t like one class, I could try another. If one instructor got on my nerves (which has only happen once or twice) there were at least eight more to try from. If I only had 15 minutes, they had classes for that. Heck, if I only had 5 minutes, they could accommodate that too. And if I didn’t feel like yoga, maybe I could try one of their many meditation sequences, something else I hadn’t ever fully been able to embrace.

So, I signed up.

And out of that first 15 days, I did 17 hours of yoga. That was in August.

Though the number of hours that I spend on the mat has decreased, I still average about 4 days a week (usually once a day, but sometimes twice) and boy does my body feel the better for it. And it looks better too. To the point that someone I had never met took one look at me and said, “Well, you have great posture. You obviously do a lot of yoga.” (I’d have preferred a yoga body, but hey, posture’s a start 😉

So what was it about Yogaglo what liberated me from “Yoga? Uh, no.”

1) It’s cheap.
2) It’s really good.
3) There’s a lot of variety (both in terms of classes and instructors).
4) Even though you’re not getting adjustments, it does actually feel like you’re in a real class.
5) Because in some sense it is a real class, you’re getting a lot of information about the various types of practices.
6) Because you can search for specific uses (travel yoga, evening yoga, energizing yoga) you can get exactly what you want.
7) Because it’s streamed, if you find the perfect class, you can do it again.
8) You can do yoga without having to deal with anyone else (maybe that’s not being particularly enlightened on my part, but there you have it).
9) Because there are so many options (and they’re always loading new classes) it’s almost impossible to get bored. Think about it, for less than the cost of a semi decent lunch, I’ve got access to over two years of yoga courses…and counting.
10) And because they have a an account tracker, I can keep track of my practice. This isn’t quite as crazy as counting calories – which I have given up again – but it’s sort of interesting to see just how much yoga you’ve done and how consistent you’re being over time.

Anyway, I am a total yoga junkie these days. I even bought a yoga themed tea cup.

Oh well, there are worse things I could be addicted to. In fact, there are worse things I have been addicted to, including, but certainly not limited to, the anaerobic cardio with which I began this post.

For those of you who are already into yoga, I won’t mention the benefits of yoga, but for those of you who were skeptical like me: just try it. At least for 15 days.

Namaste.

P.S. As I was writing this, I stumbled across my local Bikram Yoga Studio – go figure. I might try out the visitor’s pass: $20 for 10 consecutive days.

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