I've been told by multiple people that yoga is supposed to be relaxing. A ton of my friends swear by it, and they say it helps them wind down after a rough or stressful day. Am I missing something? Because yoga actually stresses me out more.
Ever since I started getting anxiety about 7 years ago, I've been looking for ways to manage it. I feel like I pretty much have it under control thanks to working out, but there are just some days you can't shake that feeling. Articles, my doctor, and multiple friends have told me that yoga helps to relax you. I've tried it out on so many different occasions and guess what? Yoga makes me way more anxious. Cool!
I used to go to hot yoga classes with friends and it seemed like everyone loved it. You leave drenched in your own sweat, you're supposed to feel invigorated and refreshed, but I felt weak and so inflexible. I felt tense in the class because I'd just get to a certain position and everyone else would start getting into a new one. HOW! How do you move so quickly? Why is my heart racing? Is this position supposed to hurt? Wait, how do you touch your toes?
No, I can't touch my toes. Yes, that gives me anxiety. I hate being that person in class that needs two yoga blocks just to touch her toes. I don't 'flow' like everyone else does, so I tried doing a yoga challenge at home. How do you think that went?
I believe I got to day 10 until I chickened out. Even though it was from the comfort of my own home, I still hated it. Here is a dialogue of what goes on in my head when I do yoga:
Okay, don't think about anything. Think about the moves, your breath and focus.
*Thinks about what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow morning*
Okay bring it back. Wait, what did she say? Okay, pretend you're on a beach.
Am I supposed to be relaxed yet?
Wait, why am I already sweating? I thought you didn't sweat in normal yoga?
*Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out*
Oh my God I'm so bored. I want to be watching Friends right now.
Has it seriously only been 5 minutes of this 50 minute video?
At what point do I become flexible? At what point does the relaxation kick in?
Fuck this. *turns off video*
People say they don't have a care in the world when they're doing yoga. I am the opposite. Yoga is when I am at my most vulnerable, and when I feel the most weak and lack confidence. I know you're supposed to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but for me, yoga isn't just scary, it doesn't ever feel good.
And don't lie, yoga for beginners is just as hard as intense hot yoga. The only pose that ever feels good is child's pose, and that's because I'm not moving. Downward dog is not relaxing, cobra is not relaxing, and cat-cow is not relaxing. I have even tried HIIT yoga or cardio yoga thinking maybe I needed something fast paced so my mind doesn't have time to think about all the stuff I'm not doing. Wrong. HIIT yoga is just a more brutal form of yoga.
So safe to say, as much as I try to love yoga and try to do it at least once a week, if someone told me yoga wasn't good for me I'd say bye faster than you can say namaste at the end of a class. So for those who say yoga helps with their anxiety, that's amazing and I'm so jealous. But for me it reminds me of how inflexible I am, and how my mind never shuts up. I'd rather nap, thanks.
So I've come to the conclusion that just because it's good for you, doesn't mean it's right for you. My mind is clearest when I am sweating my ass off during a HIIT workout or one of Kayla Itsines' workouts or when I'm on a long walk listening to an audiobook. Not when I'm embarrassed in a full studio of people who can touch their toes to the back of their head, when I can't even bend down to touch my toes.