I first heard about yoga over a decade ago when a hippie friend in college insisted I try it. I rolled my eyes and said something like "I don't have time to stand around doing poses all day." I refused to believe turning my body into a pretzel would offer me anything other than discomfort.
A few years later a coworker suggested I try yoga to help cope stress of law school. I was still skeptical, but, being desperate for a way to relax stress-free, I gave it a try.
I spent the entire class feeling awkward or uncomfortable and embarrassed because I was sweating and falling over, sometimes taking a neighbor out with me. That was not exactly what I considered “relaxing” (a massage is relaxing!) so I quit.
A few years after that, I moved to Los Angeles where all of my friends in "the biz" insisted yoga was the secret to having a toned body. I was still skeptical -- I just didn't believe standing in poses could be any sort of a workout, but I was wrong. I was sore after my first class and it surprised me. I still felt horribly awkward and embarrassed, but decided to stick with it. I thought, if nothing else, maybe it would improve my flexibility and tone my arms like my friends said.
Years later yoga is an important part of my life. It’s my “exercise” of choice when I’m traveling but I also do it for stress relief. (I eventually realized that the relaxation comes after my yoga practice not during.)
The great thing about yoga is you can do it anywhere -- in your office, in your living room, in a hotel room and for any amount of time you want. You can even do it on your own, without a teacher or DVD (after you’ve taken a few classes). I use YogaGlo which offers a free trial and has classes with varying levels of intensity and duration.