How To Do Yoga Without Making It Your Life

I've been pretty vocal about adding yoga into my fitness routine the past few months - it's allowed me to get leaner, stronger, more flexible, and treat my body right after the beatings I put it through running and at SoulCycle. (Oh you didn't know? I LOVE SOULCYCLE and running is... OK.) 

Also I love my SoulCycle people.

I feel like I've had the conversation with friends a billion times.

"Like I SHOULD go to yoga, but I don't want to. At all. Ever. Ugh."

After getting a massage a couple months back where my masseuse literally thought I was a competitive gymnast as a child as it was the only explanation for how f-ed up my alignment, muscles, everything were, I started taking it more seriously. 

And going to yoga. And I like it. I don't love it. I like it. 

I like to workout and sweat and feel strong. Also I like to eat.

Mostly at Equinox honestly - it's clean, they give you all that you need (mat, towel, block, chilled Eucalyptus towel post-class) and I love the instructors, whom they pull from the top studios all over San Francisco.

I wouldn't be me if I devoted 100% of my time to yoga - not throwing shade but I don't love it that much. I look at yoga as a necessary evil - something I need to be doing to give me body a break, stretch and lengthen my muscles, and increase flexibility. It's also great mentally for a Type-A-er like myself.

But quite honestly, a typical 60-minute yoga class goes like this for me:

Pre-Class: So distracted. How full is it going to get in here? How do I ensure that I have personal space on EVERY side of my mat? Is my phone on silent? Where's my water? Should I have grabbed 2 blocks? Why does everyone have a strap? Whatever, I'm flexible.

Minutes 0-6: Everything is tight and I'm dying. My hips hurt. Why am I not breathing as slowly and with as much "intention" as everyone else? Some idiot forgot to put their phone on silent. OH JESUS CHRIST IT'S ME. Sorry, sorry universe. Namaste.

Minutes 6-20: This feels like an excessive amount of chataraungas. Am I doing up-dog right? Should I be body-rolling into it more? I should have gone with the high top-knot vs the braid. Hair all up in my FACE.

Minutes 21-23: I HATE UTKATASANA (chair pose).

Minutes 24-43: I am so good at yoga. What's up Bird of Paradise? Dancer pose? LET'S GO.

Minutes 44-54: Literally have no idea how people get their leg straight in the air during wheel. Mine looks like it's broken. There is no graceful way to get out of wheel. None. Happy Baby. No wonder babies are so happy. THIS IS AMAZING.

Minutes 55-60: ZzzzzzzZzzzzzz (Savasana)

In order to keep up my yoga practice, but also to keep my sanity intact, I've made a little deal with myself.

On days I ride at SoulCycle or run (3ish-x a week), I take myself to yoga in the evenings. Nothing feels better after a sweaty cardio session in the morning than ending the day (and opening your hips and stretching your quads and hamstrings) at yoga.

TRUST ME.

On days I don't, I typically take a long walk and go to Pilates (enter Mighty Pilates - I'm telling you it's life changing).

Boom - incorporating yoga into your life without making it your life.

Start small - you don't have to suddenly become this yogi if you aren't one. I'm not and I'll never be. But look at yoga for what you need it to be for you. Stress relief, a way to wind down after a hectic day, a way to stretch if you know there's no way you'll do it on your own (um, guilty), or just a way to kill an hour with a friend before you grab a glass of wine. 

It's helped my running, my posture, my state of mind, my riding at Soul - everything.

Also it justifies all the "yoga pants" you've dropped thousands of dollas on over the years at Lululemon.