I have been brazenly anti-yoga for years, ever since I was pregnant with my oldest child and tried to do a "Mom & Baby" yoga DVD in which the instructor had suggested in a calm, drugged-sounding voice, to "imagine myself giving birth in an open field, surrounded by beautiful animals."
Open field? Beautiful animals? Birth?? Um, excuse me, but where would the epidural drip be in this picture?
Since then, I've given it a few other shots, but I generally found that yoga just isn't "me." I've been saying ever since then: "I'm too Type A. I get bored." (Usually in response to people suggesting I'd be a more balanced, relaxed person if I just spent some time on the ground with a mat.)
So while I did put in a little time in yoga classes over the years, enough to know the difference between Warrior I and Warrior II, at least, I always felt like a bit of an imposter, barefoot with my little square pillow under my hips.
Yoga seemed like the type of thing you did for exercise if you made your own baby food, and my kids were Gerber babies; I worried I just wasn't "granola" enough to be a yoga regular--and besides, it drove me crazy to think of how many calories I'd be burning if I'd just taken kickboxing instead!
But my running mentor, Kelly (hi, Kelly!) is both a yoga babe and an experienced marathon runner, and has been urging me to try at the very least some yoga poses like Downward Dog to relieve some of my running-related injuries. (PSA: Downward Dog feels great if you have tight calves and/or shin splints!)
Seeing yoga as a way to aid my running rather than as a substitute for exercise has really changed things for me. This morning was supposed to be my day of rest before my long run tomorrow, but when I woke up at 5:30 all wired and ready to work out, I decided to do some TV yoga instead. (We have cable on-demand and there are about 20 different yoga taped sessions available at any given time.) It was just 30 minutes of some pretty basic poses, but you know what? I feel like a new woman! For the first time in weeks, I'm sitting here without sore calves and I've felt positively zippy all day!
I guess when you're Type A like me, you get zippy, not zen. But that's a good thing, as far as I'm concerned.