Here’s what I know about yoga: There’s a move called “happy baby,” which I mostly enjoy because it’s called “happy baby” and involves little to no effort on my part; it’s the only real excuse to wear yoga pants outside of the house; and, up until recently, I absolutely hated it.
You see, my mild rage with regard to yoga and so-called “yogis” began during my sophomore year of college when I was trying to complete my final university-required physical education credit. Why we were required to take gym any time after high school was beyond me, but that’s not really the point right now (JK, IT’S ALWAYS THE POINT).
I thought yoga would be a good way to unwind after my aggressive spin instructor shouted at me for a 10-week session. Not only was I wrong, but I would often leave the class in pain after spending an hour staring into the gaping hole of the pants of one yoga bro (broga?) who would show up to class wearing the loosest shorts he owned. And here I thought yoga would be a ball-free endeavor.
Since then, I’ve never really gotten back into yoga. I just wrote it off as something that wasn’t for me, and, honestly, if I wanted to watch a guy strain himself to the point of exhaustion, I’d just go to our local college bar (S.O. to the Old Stone Jug, y’all) and watch a freshman boy try to hit on a senior girl.
Everything changed, though, when I moved to New York City. I’d heard of Yoga To The People through various sources, including an old acquaintance of mine who basically swore by it.
Here’s their deal: they’re a donation-based yoga studio with various locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn, meaning you can pay as much or as little as you want, and there are convenient class times throughout the day.
Thinking that, hey, since I sit slumped over a keyboard all day, some stress-relieving stretching could do me some good, I started going to their location on St. Mark’s.
The first time there, I immediately noted three problems:
- I would have to take off my shoes in a strange environment;
- There would be similarly shoeless strangers all around me for the next hour;
- It was hot as all hell in the room.
I have a feeling this had more to do with the fact that the building in which the classes are held isn’t air-conditioned and that it’s August in New York City, but still. Mama doesn’t like unnecessary heat.
But don’t give up; I didn’t. I stuck it out through the hour of profuse sweating, stretching, and almost falling down on my roommate, who was also profusely sweating on the mat next to me, and I loved every minute of it.
Sure, I was a little alarmed at first when I realized that there would be no instructor in the front of the room showing me how to execute each move and that I had to spend about 30 seconds between each transition at the beginning, basically staring at strangers’ butts, but that’s no different from a regular people-watching day for me, so I got over it.
Anyway, that initial confusion of not having anyone show me what to do after I hadn’t taken a yoga class in several years was my only real problem.
I was concerned that I wouldn’t sweat or wouldn’t get the cardio workout that makes me feel like I’ve actually accomplished something, but I did.
I was concerned that I was going to be surrounded by super crunchy hipster-types, but instead a lot of them were super crunchy hipsters in an ironic way that I actually didn’t really mind.
I was concerned that I was going to be hassled at the door by some deranged man with a donation box, but it was all super chill.
Overall, I left feeling worked out and relaxed all at the same time, which is exactly what I always looked for in a yoga class but never truly found.
Now, while this certainly isn’t something I’d consider doing every day simply because my ass is currently killing me due to the abundance of chair poses in last night’s class, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a lower-intensity workout that still makes you feel like you’ve done something other than flop around on a yoga mat for an hour.
And if you’re in NYC, definitely check out Yoga for the People. If you want to find me, I’ll be the girl wheezing in the back corner, but, you know, in a really zen way.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.