I have been a subscriber to Yoga with Adriene’s YouTube channel for a long time, actual years at this point I think. I can’t remember how I discovered her but she’s instantly likeable, a gentle, sweet, affirming, and often-goofy personality who is pure authenticity in a sea of game-face fitness accounts. (She also has a deeply chill dog named Benji who delightfully makes an appearance in pretty much every video.)

While it’s easy enough to hit a subscribe button, doing the actual yoga … not so much. I followed along with a few of her videos a long time ago but it always felt weirdly too hard and too easy at the same time. It was hard to find privacy, because doing yoga in the living room while people come and go really kind of sucks. It was hard to find the focus and willingness to go slow, when my brain was yammering at me that if I wasn’t breaking a sweat it didn’t count. It was hard to lie on the floor, just, like, breathing, without thinking of the 37 trillion other things I should be doing.

I’ve taken some classes at a yoga studio here and there but never with any regularity, and never with any sort of intent beyond trying to get the poses right. I’d say I was not unfamiliar with yoga itself, but I was definitely unfamiliar with the concept of a yoga practice. Which is to say that no one is more surprised than me that I have now done daily yoga for 39 days (in! a! row!), and I plan to keep at it.

Two critical steps that put things in motion:

• In December at the height of my somewhat mostly almost entirely unrealistic New Year/total life overhaul planning, I saw Adriene’s announcement about a 30-day series she was launching and decided that yes, I am in, 2021 Me is totally committed to healthy-sounding shit like that, I’m probably going to start drinking green juice any day now*

• It finally occurred to me for the very first time that I could do yoga in the bedroom

With the privacy issue solved (the available space between wall and bed is not what I would call luxurious nor is the clutter of underbed scenery very zen-like, but being able to close the door is a true game changer), and no need to get in the car or even put on actual yoga clothes, I just had to show up. Even with such a drastically lowered bar, I figured it would be a struggle to stick to the routine and there was a pretty good chance that I’d peter out after a week or so.

But LO! It turns out it was NOT a struggle, not even a little bit! In fact, I quickly found myself looking forward to yoga time each day. Before long I was actively dreading the end of the series, because in a Shocking Twist I Never Saw Coming, it had become deeply important to me.

I had to make a few adjustments along the way to stay connected to this practice. For one, I don’t think of yoga time as a workout, regardless of how challenging a video might be. I do other things for exercise, which lets me unclench about heart rates and calorie burn when I’m on the mat. I also primarily do yoga at the end of the day, which helps me avoid the anxiety-spiral of looming deadlines. Lastly, I discovered that putting a folded blanket under my ass during long seated poses makes all the difference between a mind that can be quiet, calm, and present, and one that’s sending up a constant series of distracting emergency flares (“YOU’RE 47, CRISS-CROSS APPLESAUCE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND”).

With more than a month under my belt now, I’m noticing all kinds of benefits. There is the physical side of things, where I can see and feel new strength in my body. I can hold balance poses much longer than I could, my flexibility has improved quite a bit, and best of all I feel like I’m moving with more ease in all that I do. Like every stiff, curmudgeonly joint has been coated with a hit of WD-40.

Those are all nice changes which I appreciate, but the real magic of this yoga … well, it’s hard to capture in words. I think it really comes down to Adriene herself, the things she talks about and the way she talks about them. It’s a bit like daily therapy, honestly, integrated with breathwork and body movement.

Daily yoga has been incredibly peaceful. It offers interesting challenges. It helps me connect with my body with positivity instead of endless self-criticism. It brings mindfulness and calm and prompts me to let go of what no longer serves. If nothing else, it’s 20-35 minutes that are all mine.

Anyway, this is ALL TO SAY that if you, like me, felt like the entirety of 2020 managed to take up residence in your physical body somehow while also permanently rewiring your brain to continually operate in hamster-wheel mode? Yoga with Adriene might just help.

* Who was I kidding? Green juice is terrible, change my mind.

Comments

24 Responses to “Namastay right here”

  1. Kris on February 10th, 2021 9:18 am

    I have found the same thing! Didn’t think I’d like/stick with yoga but have been loving Julia Marie Yoga through Amazon Prime Video. Same thought also – not the calorie burning workout at times I thought, but it’s ME time. So important right now to squeeze out a bit a time if we can. I do it at the end of the day (if possible) and just the breathing and stretching helps and makes it worthwhile.

  2. Kim on February 10th, 2021 9:33 am

    Way back sometime around 2008 or 09-ish, your posts about Jillian Michaels’ 30-day Shred inspired me to start it. I’d never done any home exercise routine, but I quickly fell in love with how challenging and rewarding it was to have Jillian browbeat me every day. Now I’m wondering why I never thought of the bedroom for the privacy it would provide; it’s quite literally the only space in the house I could use without interruption from husband or dogs. I’m doing it.

  3. Kelly P on February 10th, 2021 10:18 am

    I adore Adrienne and I’ve been doing her videos on and off for years. I find her to be so soothing, supportive, and affirming. I’ve been doing some great videos that are really tough by a woman called Caroline Girvan, but I miss Adrienne’s gentleness. Thanks for this reminder to get back to her.

  4. PETE J HAIDINYAK on February 10th, 2021 10:37 am

    Nice bed frame. I’ve got a plan for that style and hope to build one when I retire. I tried yoga for about a week awhile ago and I was always 20 seconds behind the video trying to figure out what a “backwards bending starfish” was. Plus I’m a guy and we just suck at instructions.

  5. Jody J Hickmott on February 10th, 2021 10:52 am

    I also decided going into 2021 I’d start a daily yoga practice. I’d been doing Adrienne’s videos 3-4 times a week plus I was virtually attending my regular class again. So I’ve kept at it. Today will be my 40th day in a row and because I don’t want Breathe to end I still have days 28, 29 and 30 to do. It’s almost like I’m saving them for a special occasion. My plan is day 28 today. I mainly practice in the gym basement but having been making myself carry my mat up to the spare bedroom with the soft yellow paint and southern exposure light where it’s warmer and brighter.

  6. JennB33 on February 10th, 2021 10:58 am

    I love yoga.
    I love kale smoothies. You need my recipe. It’s delicious.
    I am terrible about keeping any kind of practice, except for work right now. So i incorporate yoga into my daily routine. It works, for now.
    I have time to exercise more, but I can’t be arsed. I want to walk more but it’s cold and I’m getting old(er). I will walk when spring starts to arrive. Until then, it’s still hibernating season here.

  7. Mary Clare on February 10th, 2021 12:03 pm

    A new to Yoga with Adrienne person here! She has a very calming persona, which comes through so well in her new series. The sitting still, meditative part of yoga becomes easier over time and is the part I look forward to the most. After some of the crazy news events lately, I’ve hit the mat to calm down the nerves and it works every time!

  8. Liz on February 10th, 2021 1:35 pm

    One of the cruelest things about my now 3-year injury journey is I had to (temporarily, I hope) give up yoga in April 2020. Prior to that I did yoga 3x/week “with” Lesley Fightmaster on youtube and I loved just about every moment of it. I miss it. I also miss Lesley, who passed away suddenly in November at age 50, but would still recommend her channel to anyone. Like Adriene, there are numerous series available, and her cats make occasional cameos.

  9. sooboo on February 10th, 2021 2:10 pm

    You got me started doing home work outs (I think Betty Rocker?) years ago. I’ll give this a try. I love yoga too but not as a work out. Sometimes switching time/ place expectation up, loosens things up. Reminds me of the last time I went to the dentist and I wasn’t flossing regularly because I’m too tired at night. The hygienist suggested I floss during the day, even in the shower! It sounds silly but was totally liberating.

  10. Kristin H on February 10th, 2021 2:36 pm

    I really enjoy Helen’s at Floating Yoga School’s classes. I like that she labels them according to what they aim for – relaxation, hips and lower back, shoulders, etc. Also, I like doing it at home for the same reasons as you. I can do exactly the type of class I want, for as long as I want, without having to go anywhere. Win win!

  11. JB on February 10th, 2021 2:55 pm

    It’s funny how a little change can shift your mindset. I feel very vulnerable exercising in front of my fit and slim family. Maybe I can try this… Although my kids will need to ask me a question while I’m doing it… For sure!

  12. Donna on February 10th, 2021 7:40 pm

    I love you so much. That is all.

  13. CV on February 10th, 2021 8:57 pm

    So now that you’ve done the 30 days, what are you doing going forward? Her older 30-day series?

  14. Shawna on February 11th, 2021 7:24 am

    I signed up for Yoga with Adrienne too this year on the recommendation of a friend, but I only did one session. It was fine and I especially appreciated the exercises to limber up wrists and hands that she demonstrated because sore wrists has been a limiting factor in a lot of new exercises I’ve been trying. Since all her series live on YouTube I figure I can do them when and if I want.

  15. Linda on February 11th, 2021 10:10 am

    CV: I’ve been picking videos at random from her library, which is extensive.

  16. Lee on February 11th, 2021 12:07 pm

    She’s really lovely; everyone who’s watched her wants to be her friend, or at least that’s how I see it. I did a couple of her January 30-day series and felt so accomplished and wise. :) With high cholesterol now (46 is so glamorous) I, too, feel like it’s not enough workout to “count,” but sometimes it definitely does get the heart pumping! Maybe I’ll try to find time to do them more regularly again. I’ve been enjoying Pahla B for cardio/strength for us older ladies. LOL

  17. Mackenna on February 11th, 2021 10:20 pm

    I started a daily Yoga practice when COVID made telework mandatory. I use what is ordinarily my commute time every morning and made it a habit. It’s perfect for calming and focusing my mind before work starts. I’ve been following SarahBethYoga (YouTube). She has a ton of free videos as short as 10 minutes and as long as 60 minutes…and everything between and I like that flexibility. I especially love her roll out of bed and wake up yoga practices. She has a lovely voice, a calming presence, I like her energy and her messages of self-acceptance. She has an interesting backstory (could be a Dateline horror episode…which endeared her to me more…just her courage to overcome some horrific sh*t). I just feel better after I’ve spent the time with her.

    I haven’t checked out Adrienne yet but have colleagues who are fans.

    Re the green juice. I find it’s more than tolerable when it contains any of these ingredients: lemon or lime or apple and ginger.

    I’m a fan of Glory Juice cold-pressed juices because they temper the taste with the above (also healthy) ingredients.

    In the summer, I’ll put the juices in the freezer so they get a little icy/crunchy. :)

  18. Laura on February 14th, 2021 3:44 pm

    I love your recommendations so much! With this cold weather, I read this at the perfect time…lots of indoor time. I’m on day 3! Thank you.

  19. T on February 15th, 2021 9:56 pm

    I’ve done yoga for the better part of 20 years now. Since my old teacher moved about 2 years ago I haven’t practiced regularly, just picked up a class here or there once a month. I’ve gone thru stints of no practice before, but I always come back to it eventually. I do prefer the more physical style yoga but my favorite thing is that it’s not you versus someone else, you just keep working on you & I always enjoy seeing my progress. I do much better with an in person commitment to a class, but I’ve checked out some of Adrienne’s videos & I really do like her energy. I’ve done a few videos here and there. I tried the February practice but only made it 4 days in a row. However, as always, I will pick up again & keep trying to get back to that regular practice!

  20. KD on February 16th, 2021 4:24 am

    Thanks for the encouragement to give Adrienne a try again! I always feel awkward doing it in the living room, and will certainly try the bedroom. You totally got me into Turbo Jam for a year (during which I was probably the fittest I’d ever been!). I also had a Betty Rocker phase and a brief Jillian Michaels stint, which other commenters remind me probably came from you, too! Thanks for all the fitness inspo! :) You’re totally a fitness influencer!

  21. Sandy on February 16th, 2021 9:02 am

    I had exactly, BUT EXACTLY, the same experience when I did Adriene’s 30-day HOME series of videos from hating that Yoga did not feel like exercise to marveling at how strong and flexible and overall not creaky and sore I feel now that I stretch and hold poses for a few minutes a day. Adriene is a gift to the world.

  22. April on February 16th, 2021 11:38 pm

    I also tried Yoga with Adriene a few years back and it didn’t do much for me at that time. I tried her January challenge and although it took me longer than 30 days (due to a back injury) I’m really (shockingly) enjoying it and looking forward to it. I told my husband the other day that I’m just so surprised at how much the breathing practice has done for me- my lungs feel bigger? Stretchier? SOMETHING that I don’t know how to describe but it’s a good thing.

  23. Alex on February 20th, 2021 8:34 pm

    Ooh thank you for the recommendation! I have been on/off yoga (mostly for small children/time reasons) and I am truly enjoying this series (on day 7)- something to look forward to in these dark (though progressively lighter!) days

  24. Courtney on February 23rd, 2021 7:49 pm

    Ha omg I literally never would have thought of yoga as just a practice to enjoy–I was always doing it thinking “but it’s not burning enough caaaaaalorieeees.” Maybe if I change my mindset I can enjoy it more and not stress about the fitness aspect?

    Plus I bet it would also help with my one fitness goal this year, which is to be able to touch my toes (I’m 41 and aside from a brief period in high school, I’ve never been able to do it–barre3 has gotten me the closest I’ve ever been).

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