Why Yoga is Right for Everyone (Yes, Even You!)

Eirinn Norrie
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I’m not going to lie, I used to loathe going to yoga class. I was dragged (kicking and screaming) once a week by my enthusiastic best friend, who repeatedly told me that if I kept going I would soon love it. The classes took place inside a tiny, musty gym, with too many people packed in like sardines. The local teenage boys played their weekly basketball game in there until five minutes before the yoga class, leaving a stench of sweat hanging in the air. Not exactly my cup of tea!
 
At the start of class, I was fine. We would begin various sequences, reaching in various directions and controlling our breathing in order to create a state of relaxation. The poses were fantastic and I could certainly feel the benefit my body was receiving. However, things quickly went downhill.
 
The repetition became too much for me. I got bored of doing the same three movements over and over for half an hour. I understood that repetition was important, but I found myself wishing that the sequences were a little more complex. The slowness of the movements began to make me twitchy and restless. I would look around at everybody else, feeling embarrassed that I couldn’t hold the same attention span as them. My eyes flashed to the wall— the minute hand on the clock seemed to be moving at one third of its normal speed. With over fifteen years of training in martial arts, I was used to upbeat workouts and fast movements. Wasn’t anybody else dying to jump up and down and run in circles?
 
The unspoken rule in the class was that you had to be silent and serious about your workout. I fully understood why, as I think it is extremely important to respect others who are practicing. However, the lack of conversation made me sleepy, especially since I was struggling to focus on the movements. I just wanted to scooch over to the person next to me and strike up a casual conversation.
 
I never went back to yoga class, declaring that I would never do yoga again.
 
Boy was I wrong! Four years later, I stumbled upon a beautiful image on Pinterest of two people using each other’s bodies to hold themselves in an intricate position with one person soaring in the air. It looked like a combination of yoga and gymnastics. Not only did the picture show such strength of mind and body— it showed an overwhelming sense of trust and friendship between the two partners. I knew I wanted to be just like them, flashy galaxy yoga pants and all. The picture was from a board labeled “AcroYoga”, a term which quickly took over all of my searches on Google, YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook.
 

Partner yoga quickly became something I wanted to do all the time. If I had somebody to interact with during my yoga sessions, then I probably wouldn’t get bored. In addition, partner yoga seemed as though it would require clear verbal communication, meaning that I wouldn’t have to be silent. And so the hunt for a yoga partner and class began.
 
There were no partner yoga classes in my area, which made me decide to learn how to do it on my own and in my own way. After watching numerous YouTube videos and reading various articles on partner yoga, my roommate Maggie and I decided we’d give it a go together. We headed to the lounge in our building, turned on our favorite music, and attempted to get into some of the poses we had been looking at on our computers. We avoided anything that we thought would lead to any injuries, but we were still surprised at how many of the poses we were able to tackle safely. We were able to take as many breaks as we wanted, repeat moves as little or as much as we wanted, and we were able to talk the entire time.
 
After doing partner yoga every night for a few weeks, I began to notice a change in my mood. I actually liked working out for the first time in a long time. When we were doing our yoga, we were concentrated, passionate, and, most importantly, having a good time.
 
Now, I’m yoga obsessed. By doing yoga on my own schedule and in my own home, I’ve increased my strength, focus, and flexibility. I can blast music, I can talk to my best friend, and I can stop to take breaks whenever I want. It’s my perfect workout.
 
Yoga doesn’t mean one thing— you can make it your own. There are no rules that say you have to go to a class at a gym (especially if it’s a musty one) or that you have to do a full hour workout. Why not do yoga in your backyard? At the office? In your dorm room? Blast music if you want to while you treat your body to a yoga session, or maybe listen to some lectures you’ve been meaning to get a head start on.
 
Do it with a group of friends or do it by yourself. It’s better to create a yoga routine that mixes well with your lifestyle and personality than to try to do somebody else’s classes if they’re clearly not working for you. You are the only one who knows what will help you to get the most of your workouts, so listen to your body!
 
Yoga is right for everyone— you just need to figure out how yoga is right for you.

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Eirinn Norrie

Eirinn Norrie is a writer and martial artist. She has a passion for traveling the world, and enjoys crocheting, reading, cooking, and finding new and interesting ways to work out. She loves tae kwon do, partner yoga, and online abs videos.

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