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This Yoga Thing…

I have been anxiously waiting all day to sit down and write this post. So many of you have shared with me lately  how much your yoga practice is impacting your life in a positive way. And for every one of you that has shared those feelings, an equal number have told me how interested you are in trying yoga.

I’m telling you…DO IT NOW. Stop waiting. Let go of the fear that you won’t know what you’re doing or that you won’t understand what the teacher is saying or that you will be judged. I will say this for the rest of my life but you must remember that EVERYONE had a first time. Our life is full of firsts. We would never grow and change if we didn’t embrace firsts.

I’ve had a lot of new and different yoga experiences in the past month. I took a class that was a totally new style for me while I was in Florida, I did an amazing workshop with Briohny and Dice and in the past week I have taken classes from five different teachers. This is all a departure for me as I am usually fiercely loyal to the same teachers and same classes every week. It’s not because I don’t want to expand and grow, it’s just that I have limited time to get my yoga in and need to get the fix I need.

Tonight I took a yoga class from Katie Levans, also known as the blogger behind the on-hold Sweet Tater Blog. Katie started teaching at our studio after she completed teacher training last spring and she totally gets it. The class I took from her tonight was beautifully sequenced and perfectly presented and left me with tears streaming down my face at the end of savasana as she read from The Firestarter Sessions.

I  came home and committed myself to reading this book by one of my favorite motivational figures, Danielle Laporte. I have played this video of hers in class on several occasions and it gave me chills to listen to it again tonight because it’s SO TRUE.

“A beginner’s mind is an open mind.” 

“Don’t let perfection become procrastination. Do it now.” 

“Do what you say you’re going to do.” 

“Respect your fear.” 

I feel like this month has been full of signs pointing to yoga, yoga, yoga. From the serious…yoga helping with eating disorders and breast cancer…to the funny.


We have ALL felt like the tin man in yoga, right?

I want everyone to love yoga. I want everyone to benefit from yoga. After bringing my mom a mat and buying her blocks last time I visited, I finally convinced her to join a beginners series at a local studio. I am so happy to report that she is a month in and loving it. She called me right after class yesterday and told me all about how their focus for the practice was backbends. My mom struggles with back pain (which is half the reason why I wanted her to start yoga) and was nervous the backbends would further bother her back. She was so surprised to find that they helped her to feel better and I loved hearing her tell me all about it.

So, stop avoiding. Try it. Be open minded and know that the first class will be hard and maybe a little weird, you may not love the first studio you try, you’ll have to experience different styles and teachers to figure out what feels right for you. It took me years but it was so worth it.

And whatever you do, you don’t need these. Nike just launched the “Studio Wrap” and let me state loudly…you do not need special footwear for yoga. Check out this post on my favorite yoga accessories and then get yourself to class!


{ 48 comments… add one }
  • Pamela November 16, 2012, 11:00 pm

    This has been a topic my friends and I have been discussing a lot recently. We all want to try yoga, but are worried about looking inexperienced and silly. Jen, thanks for this post! It’s a good reminder that everyone started out as a beginner and if we never take that step to start, we’ll never gain and progress.

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:23 am

      it’s true! and seriously…everyone is so worried about what they are doing that they won’t be focused on you!

  • JennyV November 16, 2012, 11:22 pm

    How am I supposed to go to bed after reading this? I feel like DOING something! I’m actually going to my second ever Crossfit competition tomorrow with a partner I’ve never met — nervous? You bet! Excited? Of course! Loved the Danielle Laporte video too.

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:24 am

      how did it go!?

  • Lisa November 16, 2012, 11:46 pm

    Awe, it sounds like an absolutely beautiful class you were able to attend! No lie, I’ve never had the craving to get into yoga, but always always want to! And I think this post just inspired me to try it out! Seriously. It’s so true how you write that if we never grow or change if we don’t embrace firsts into our lives! I love that!

  • Sarah N November 17, 2012, 2:16 am

    I love your yoga posts. =) I’ve been doing yoga a year now this month and I have been addicted for that long as well. It’s made a big difference in my body, and I’ve also found it to be a confidence-builder. There’s nothing like having a bad day and then going to yoga and being able to get into a pose I’ve been struggling with!

    Also, those shoes? Ridiculous. =P

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:24 am

      i know, yoga has the magical ability to make everything better at the end of a long day!

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope November 17, 2012, 6:51 am

    As a yoga teacher and student for years, I completely agree. Regardless of gender, age, physical ability, I haven’t heard of a single person not benefiting in some way from their practice. It’s done so much for me mentally and physically, and I feel so lucky to be able to share that as a teacher!

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:26 am

      yes, yes, yes to everything you wrote!

  • Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes November 17, 2012, 7:19 am

    Great post, Jen! I started doing yoga three summers ago, so I’ve practice on and off for three years. I’m back to practicing again at my favorite studio (I go once or twice a week), and I feel so much better–mentally, physically, emotionally–when I hit the mat regularly. I highly encourage others to try it, too! Vinyasa is my favorite!

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:27 am

      vinyasa flow is my favorite too! so happy to hear that you’re back to it. i love getting in good yoga grooves!

  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit November 17, 2012, 9:02 am

    Thanks for this post. You definitely inspired me to get into yoga more. I was planning on stay in my PJs today but just signed up for a 10am hot vinyasa class. I’m so glad I’m getting into yoga. It helps me physically and mentally like no other exercise has been able to do. I’ll shower and get back in my PJs afterwards 🙂

  • Katherine November 17, 2012, 9:04 am

    Stretching is awesome. You’re such a good example with this!


  • Jess November 17, 2012, 9:49 am

    This is a simply wonderful post – it’s lovely to hear about the positive effects yoga has had for your Mom and her back problems. I have hypermobility and moderate scoliosis, and I used to be terrified of doing any of the backbends in yoga. But once I tried some DVDs at home (sadly there aren’t many classes of the type of yoga I like in my area) I had the confidence to give Camel and Wheel pose a go. It was an absolute revelation – my back means that I’ll always have some level of chronic pain but yoga made it far more bearable. All of the backbends are my favourite poses now – Bow and Plough (I’m from the UK, hence the spelling) also come to mind.

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:48 am

      jess – that is so great! i’m happy to hear that the backbends help you to feel better. it can seem kind of counter-intuitive to do them but can be very beneficial.

  • Christie November 17, 2012, 10:12 am

    I love this! I just started Yoga a month ago initially to help with hip pain from running. I LOVE it! It somehow seems to make me possibly more same, but just content. I’m pretty sure I’m terrible (i can hardly touch my toes) and I’m still always a bit intimidated and nervous before I go to a class. I always have to talk myself into going, but I’m always so happy when I do. This post just motivated me to confidently go to one in a few hours! Thank you!

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:49 am

      christie! i’m so glad that you’re starting to get into yoga. just remember that progress takes practice! stick with it and you’ll continue to see improvement…mentally and physically!

  • Laura November 17, 2012, 11:05 am

    Great post, Jen. I started yoga almost two years ago and have done it about once a week. Now that I can’t run due to injury, yoga is becoming my lifeline. I’m realizing it may even be better for my mental health than my love of running. I am in desperate need of a good mat so I am running over to check your accessory post….

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:52 am

      laura – i hear you on yoga as a lifeline…it’s usually the one thing i can still do when everything else is breaking down. i love manduka mats! i’ve had mine for 2.5 years and it’s good as new!

  • Julia November 17, 2012, 11:54 am

    You’re always motivating me! I’ve started doing yoga more regularly because running was causing too much pain – I’m getting so much out of it. Good for my mind, body, and soul. And I just saw on facebook that I’m missing one of the classes you’re subbing AGAIN since I already practiced this morning. One of these days I’ll make it to one of yours!

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:53 am

      awww…sad! let me know when you do plan on coming to class! i always teach sunday at 9:15 but i was randomly subbing a lot last week.

  • Addy @ Six-Kick Switch November 17, 2012, 1:43 pm

    “Do what you say you’re going to do” – this is so big for me! I’m one of those people who says she’ll do something and then starts waffling….I hate this about myself! Odd as it may seem, the way I fixed a lot of this problem was by watching the movie “Yes Man”. A pretty light movie, but it always makes me think: where would you go, what would you do, who would you meet, if you said yes to every opportunity that floated into your path? Just do it!

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:55 am

      addy – you are not alone! i struggle with that SO MUCH too. i am terrible about over committing and just not following up. love the movie reference!

  • Kelly November 17, 2012, 3:32 pm

    Great post! A lot of fears that I had about yoga when first starting were just silly: everyone will know I’m new, people will stare at me, fear of not doing well, etc.. And I have never once found anything negative about attending a yoga class. No, people aren’t really looking at me because they are focused inward and on themselves. Who cares if people thought that I was new; I was. And the fear of not doing well at something, that improves daily and with practice. But if we aren’t challenging ourselves we are growing. Again, great post!

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:19 am

      kelly – it’s so true! everyone is always so busy worrying about what they’re doing that they definitely don’t stop and judge others! and yes…if you don’t challenge yourself, you won’t change!

  • Amelia November 17, 2012, 5:38 pm

    I’m THAT girl that needs the kick in the booty (or maybe a friend) to just drag me to a class. I can’t figure out what the mental hurdle is for me and why I can’t just make it happen. Our local Lululemon offers free classes on Saturday mornings, which might be a good way to get my feet wet. My chiropractor even suggested it!

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:16 am

      i definitely recommend trying the lulu classes! free is good! nothing to lose! 🙂

  • Melissa November 17, 2012, 10:02 pm

    Although i’m certainly not the most skilled yogi, I’ve been doing it for 7 years and dont think I would have been able to get through medical school or residency without it…it is amazing -physically and mentally and my practice continues to grow. And i never ever regret going to a class… 🙂

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:15 am

      that’s so great to hear melissa. i always advocate that people who are busy in grad school make time for working out as a way to manage stress. i never regret class either!

  • Jen November 17, 2012, 10:14 pm

    You know, this post came at the perfect time–I was just saying to my boyfriend last night that I was thinking of trying yoga this winter. Soooo I’m going to walk down to the studio this week and sign up! I’ve been toying with the idea for a while; I’ve been running regularly for four years or so, and I’m starting to feel a little burnt out and need to switch it up. I’m really looking forward to the meditation aspect; my best friend started doing yoga almost two years ago and she said it really helped her manage her anxiety.

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:14 am

      jen – that is awesome! you’ll love doing yoga this winter. it’s such a good cold weather activity. i think you’ll feel great! it definitely helps me emotionally as well as physically.

  • kristina gadbury November 18, 2012, 1:51 am

    I love your blog! I feel like I learn so much from you…I actually am going to look into Crossfit this Saturday and was debating going to Lululemon’s free Sunday morning yoga class tomorrow, but this post just maid my decision for me!

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:12 am

      yay! how did it go!?

      • kristina December 4, 2012, 6:06 pm

        just noticed you comment back! i did end up going to yoga…and joined crossfit a two weeks ago and am hooked! i even bought the Reebok crossfit shoes!! =)

  • Holly @ Pink-Runner.com November 18, 2012, 9:58 am

    I am still so grateful that you recommended yogadownload.com to me after I emailed you 2 years ago. The site is amazing and the classes are AWESOME. It really changed my perspective on yoga and I realized how challenging it can be… I’m also loving that my gym started teaching Les Mill’s BodyFlow and I really really enjoy it. It has elements of pilates as well and is such a challenge 🙂

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 11:06 am

      holly – i’m so happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed yogadownload! it’s great to get good feedback since i recommend it to so many people. i’ve heard great things about bodyflow! i can’t believe i’ve never tried a class given that i teach bodypump!

  • Jen November 18, 2012, 11:15 am

    Thanks so much for this! Just today i went to a new spinning/yoga studio and was terrified i looked like a doofus. They had a yoga class immediately following which i didnt go to bc i was afraid id look dumb. As i was walkin out the door i already regretted it. Fear is very powerful. I wish at 27 it wasnt but for me it still is. Im gonna go check the schedule and sign up now! Thank you so much! You always inspire me!

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 10:59 am

      fear is powerful and it’s a hard thing to break out of. let me know how it goes when you try. i can usually never even tell when it’s someones first class! you’ll be more aware of it than anyone else!

  • Tori November 18, 2012, 12:00 pm

    I have been wanting to try yoga, but I live in a small town and we don’t have any studios! 🙁
    Is there anything you can recommend to get me started?

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 10:57 am

      check out http://www.yogadownload.com. they have tons of different classes and different styles!

      • Tori November 28, 2012, 2:50 pm

        I checked this out and am so excited to try some new things! Thank you for replying:)

  • Linda November 18, 2012, 2:54 pm

    This post seemed to come just at the right time. After finishing MCM 3 weeks ago I have been really eager to diversify my workouts. A little running, spin class, strength training and yoga! I have taken 3 classes at the Y in the past 10 days and all have been completely different but so good. One class was very restorative, another was vinyasa which I loved! I’ll definitely be checking out your class at Y2 and your Body Pump class soon! Your blog is great Jen! You really inspire and motivate others.

    • Jen November 19, 2012, 10:56 am

      linda – i think a mix of a few different things is the way to go. so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed the classes you’ve tried at the y. let me know if you ever plan on BP or class at y2!

  • Brittany November 20, 2012, 7:24 am

    As a fellow teacher and forever advocate of a little yoga in everyone’s life, I adored this post. Thank you so much for sharing! Also, go read the Fire Starter Sessions, now. That book reignited the spark inside me and was the jumping off point to starting my own biz and getting the most out of my life. You will LOVE the book – can’t wait to hear what you think about it!

  • Amanda November 20, 2012, 4:10 pm

    I’ve never tried yoga before, a studio nearby offers Hot Yoga. Do you recommend this for a first timer?

    • Jen November 20, 2012, 4:30 pm

      yes! see if they have a beginners class. if not, get there early, get a spot by the door and tell the teacher it’s your first class. drink lots of water and take breaks in child’s pose when you need!

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