My Year of Yoga: Just What I Needed


Last year I moved in with my boyfriend. Not far—just relocated about 30 miles from my previous home. Of course, everything was different. I had a new route to work, an unfamiliar grocery store (one of the most frustrating things in life) and a strange gym.

There were at least five fitness centers within a 6-mile radius of my new home. Great, I could take my pick of the litter. One by one, I checked them off my list—too small, too pretentious, too dirty (yuk), a pick-up joint and valet parking? Are you kidding me? So feeling a bit lost, I found myself looking for other workout alternatives.

What I found was yoga. Vinyasa-style power yoga to be exact. I had done a few yoga classes at my local gym before but nothing like this. These practitioners were like the Bruce Willis of yoga—DIE HARDS! Each practice was 90 minutes long. Inversions and arm balances were the norm. I breathed and stretched and twisted myself into each asana. Practice not perfection they preached—enrich your life, clear your mind. I was on my way to Om-ville.

At first, I loved it. It was all new and exciting and I was improving, but eventually I became frustrated. Six months in and I could barely do a headstand, much less a flying crow. My instructor tried to explain that I was trying too hard. I needed to just let go and let it happen. This concept was completely foreign to me. In all my years of working out, I had succeeded by goal setting: one more mile, a little more weight or one more set. A tough workout did not just happen.

Still determined, I took her advice. I went to the studio with a new attitude. I didn’t compare myself to other yogis. I just did what I could do. I accepted my limitations. And lo and behold, I did the headstand! Bam! Right up and I actually stayed that way.

More time went on. My brain was feeling good but not my body. I was doing yoga at least three times a week and becoming increasingly unhappy with the physical results. Standing on my head did not make me feel any stronger and my body was becoming…softer. So I went back to what I knew best—old-school dumbbell workouts and simple cardio. Nothing new-age about it, but it worked.

I am glad I did my year of yoga; it helped me get through one of life’s transitions. I’ve found that there are times in life when you need to push, and times when you just need to slow down, breathe and attain a little balance. It was just what I needed at the time. But, like everything, needs change and evolve. And I’m on my next workout evolution. Right now, things are pretty damn good, and I’ve decided the small gym isn’t that bad after all. It fits my needs today.

How have your workout needs changed over time? Ever had lower-key times that helped you manage life changes? —Karen

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  1. Victoria says:

    Agree. I started yoga a while back and it didn’t just help me physically but it’s been super relaxing for my mind ever since. It just gives me the necessary strenghts and ‘relaxness’ through the whole day.

  2. Yoga is great to give one’s life balance. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Missy says:

    If you are using yoga as a primary workout, you’re doing it wrong.

  4. Great article- thank you for sharing. Love it when you say, “I’ve found that there are times in life when you need to push, and times when you just need to slow down”- this is what yoga is teaching me as well. Accepting this is sometimes difficult though!

    Katie xx