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Yoga, Yoga

So I don’t have the best track record of sticking with working out. I know myself better than to do make huge declarations about getting into any sort of regular fitness routine. But, with all that said, I think I’m actually going to be able to get back into yoga.
photo via Lululemon
Here’s where I’m coming from:
The thought of going to yoga classes kind of scares me a little bit. I think my biggest issue isn’t the actual yoga, it’s the showing up to a studio where I don’t know what to do. How early to show up, where to put my clothes, will everyone be in tiny shorts and a sports bra, where do I put my mat… and the questions go on and on. 
One summer, I can’t remember which, during college, I got really into yoga and running. The running element took on a mind of its own (it wasn’t pretty), but I thoroughly enjoyed the yoga. I found a studio where I was relatively comfortable and enjoyed trying different classes. Loved them all. Even though my dance background is minimal, I am not inflexible. When I returned to school, I stopped because I was nervous about trying a new studio and wasn’t sure how to fit it into my class and crew schedule.
Fast forward to my trip to Caneel Bay… One of the girls who came on the trip is a yoga Instagrammer. Caitlin was doing all these cool (sometimes intimidating) moves. She was filming some videos on the beach one afternoon and I don’t know, I kind of thought, “I want to do that.” Not the splits– I doubt I could ever get back to that level of flexibility– but the stretching and the reaching. Something sparked in me!
Caitlin even recruited me to do a video with her. Full disclosure here: my abs were sore up until yesterday. Seriously difficult. I was laughing so hard because I thought I wasn’t going to be able to lift her up about halfway through the video. I might have to hold off on these kinds of moves forever a while, but I am anxious to get back into yoga classes on a regular basis. 
I am trying out a studio in my neighborhood today and would love your feedback and opinions! Does anyone have tips for overcoming that gym/studio fear that sets in? Has anyone tried a yoga studio that they love in NYC or on the Upper East Side? Any must-have products? What kind of routine has worked out best for you?


xoxo

PS HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE, please. Assuming I find a good studio that I feel comfortable in, I really want to stick with this. I’m not looking to become a full-fledged yogi or anything, I just have this gut feeling that this is really something I need to do. Both for my mind (just to shed a bit more stress and find more balance, figuratively) and body (to become stronger and more tangibly work on my posture).  

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38 Comments

Annie

Yoga and I do not mix very well. It has something to do with my growth spurt in high school that left my body incapable of any form of stretching (I cannot for the life of me touch my toes). I do feel your pain about being nervous to go to the gym. I used to do a whole weight routine at the gym by my home but here at college I get super nervous to go near the weights and the super "bro" college boys. I want to break past this because I miss it!

Good luck 🙂
Annie Belle

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Rachel Sederberg

I'm living in Boston so I can't be of much help when it comes to a studio, but I do try and go to a yoga class once a week at the health club I belong to. My club is a women's only thing, and that made me a little more comfortable in class to be perfectly honest.
My biggest suggestion is to purchase your own mat. Many places have mats that you can use, but they usually aren't very thick, and in my humble opinion, aren't always the cleanest. I got one from lululemon because it was nice and thick. I immediately noticed that my wrists were more comfortable in class! But beware, new yoga mats smell terrible (rubber…ugh!)

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Theresa @ Under Honest Trees

I had the same experience – got really into one semester and went twice a week, then got busier and the teachers changed and I dropped off. I'm determined to get back into it in the coming months! Definitely missing my university gym pass, though…Good luck to you!

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Jacquie

I have been trying to do 30 days of yoga for january, mostly though youtube videos and so far I've been LOVING IT!!! I am probably going to continue!

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Emily

Check out Jivamukti, that's where I practiced when I lived in New York. Also look for yin yoga classes, there are some great videos on YouTube. It's a completely different style of yoga that really allows for letting go and quieting the mind and body. Enjoy!

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Amber Lee Rosenzweig

Full disclosure : I am a type A crazy just like yourself and yoga has had a HUGE impact on my life. I basically was going through a difficult time and I went from going occasionally to going all the time. Now I don't know what I would do without it. It's been about 6 months now of going about 4-5 times per week and it's had a huge, huge impact on my well being. Things that I've learned are that the teacher and class really matter, so find what you like. I'm partial to a strong vinyasa flow. If you can find one really inspirational teacher to stick with that will foster you along it's amazing. As far as overcoming studio fears, let's put those into perspective. Some people are afraid to leave their front doors in some areas of the world. There are mass kidnappings and terror attacks and civil wars and you're afraid of where to put your clothes in the yoga studio? Ask. It's not difficult. And the people are supposed to be yogis! They should be helpful. It will be good practice for you to try to face these small fears and overcome these little challenges too. The one product I really, really recommend is the Lululemon unmat. You can fold it into a square instead of rolling it up and tuck it into any bag and carry it around the city. It's perfect! Other advice is to always set an intention and never be afraid to allow things to change as you progress. In other words one class and teacher might be right for you now, but not in a year. I know that seems a long way off. There are so many life lessons to learn from yoga! Also, more details of my yoga journey on the blog (thelondonproper.com) or feel free to reach out with more questions!

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Mikela

Dear Carly. Normally the girls going to yoga are so calm and friendly you should feel no fear…I had also the same problems when I started doing the faceforce yoga, but ladies were so nice, they started to talk with me and told me that I can put my mat near them,… And the yoga teacher is so kind! If you have any questions, just ask her. Wear your favorite leggings and a comfy t-shirt, but I would recommend a sports bra:) you go girl, you'll love it.

http://Www.mintcupoftea.blogspot.com

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MissK

When I am somewhere new and don't really know my way around, I remember two things: 1) You can't possibly know everything and no one expects you to because 2) other people were "new" there once and maybe did not find the locker rooms straight away. So when I need help, I just ask and I can't think of any situation when someone in a gym was not nice and helpful. And when it comes to clothing in a gym, I think everyone should just wear what they feel most comfy in. I feel like a lot of women don't like to show their legs – thats fine. But I personally can't stand it to wear tights in a gym. So sometimes I used to be the only one in shorts in a fitness class. Did anyone care? No. Did I care? No. 🙂

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Violet Clouds

I'm reading Tara Stiles book at the moment and she has a studio in New York, Strala, which may suit you. It's worth getting your own mat (putting your face where many strangers' feet have been = not nice and not calming). I've been a member of a few gyms and where I am now is so welcoming and inclusive. There are people at all levels of fitness, some just ticking of the box of 'yes I worked out today' and others who are totally killing it but everyone just gets on with their own thing. Some people do the cute outfit thing, others wear big t-shirt and jogging bottoms, it's whatever makes you feel comfortable. I hope you find your perfect fit!

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Monica Giddings

You got this Carly! Remember when you walk in that studio that everyone there was a first time student at one point. Go early, bring your own mat, water, and maybe a little towel, and sit and observe. If people are all walking in grabbing blocks and straps, follow suit. Don't be afraid to ask the front desk person questions about where things go, they want first time people to feel comfortable and come back! I personally wear tighter fitting clothes for yoga (tanks and capri length spandex) because I don't like bending over and having my tshirt shift to show my back/stomach. Sometimes the pressure of the first class can be eased with a buddy, maybe take a friend? Post yoga coffee/tea/juice gabbing is always good! Good luck, keep us updated!! 🙂

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Caitlin Brosnihan

I find that yoga can be a way to relax but also get a workout in. Last year I started doing bikram yoga and nearly passed out in my first class! But once I got used to the heat I found it such an amazing way to just take a break from the world for an hour and a half and just focus on yourself. I hope you enjoy doing yoga Carly!

-xo Cait
http://www.preppyinpastels.com

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Morgan Wetherington

You go girl! The best advice someone gave me was to find someone (or even an instructor) who looks like they know what they are doing and ask questions. You can even call ahead and ask for a tour of the studio before starting classes. Hope this helps! I love doing yoga and have found it helpful personally as well as professionally.

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Tracy S

I too just started a yoga routine…a studio near me offers a beginner series, one class a week for a few weeks to teach you the basics.
I know what you mean about studio nerves, I get that way too, especially since I'm around NYC where people can be a bit snobbier. But I've found those attitudes are less common with yoga than say, Soul Cycle. Yoga people are usually really nice. I just tell the people right away that I'm new adn they're typically very nice/accomodating. If I get nervous during the actual class, forcing myself to focus really hard on the moves we're doing usually helps reset that. Going with a friend helps too, as does getting there earlier and grabbing a back corner spot.

Good luck, enjoy, and keep us posted!

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mackenzie d

Good for you, Carly!! Yoga is an such a good investment of time and will leave you feeling SO great.
One tip that may help is that, since yoga is such an individual, non-competitive and spiritual activity, everyone is focused on themselves, their own bodies and their own intentions. If you can't do a pose or line up your mat wrong at first, I can promise that no one notices or cares.
Also, everyone at the classes is there for the same reason as you- to benefit their bodies and their minds, and spend the next hour bettering themselves. With that, pretty much everyone is in a peaceful mood and, in my experience, they are happy to answer any questions for others in the class 🙂
You got this!

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Casey Lauren

Lululemon offers free yoga classes on Sunday! These are great, because you get to try out many different styles of yoga. The experiences levels range too, so you won't feel out of place!

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kelseydefined

I totally know what you mean about studio intimidation! I always feel that way when starting at a new place. I went to a yoga studio one time after work and I needed to change into my yoga clothes. The changing rooms were in the back of the studio and you needed to walk through the main yoga space to get to them. I was about to walk through the main space when the person at the front desk comes running at me telling me I need to take my shoes off before I enter the space. Apparently that's a yoga thing that I didn't know about and I was about to ruin the floor or the flow or something. I felt totally taken aback and embarrassed. But at least now I know, don't wear shoes into the yoga space!

– Kelsey
https://kelseydefined.wordpress.com/

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Helen

Pure Yoga on 86th Street is pretty high end, but it's excellent and pretty convenient for you. I've only gone to the 6am classes so I can't speak to the vibe of the place overall, but it's such a tranquil oasis in the middle of the urban craziness. The first class is free– check it out!

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Brooke Leaf

Yay yoga is honestly so great, can be a great workout OR can be a great way to wind down/start off your morning. As for studios, I found that no one is judgmental and everyone is just doing their own thing. I recommend getting to a studio 15 min early so you can go to the locker room, drop off your stuff, grab your mat, towel, water bottle, fix your hair, (whatever you need!) and then go to the room early and you'll find people stretching and relaxing. I usually lay on my back, knees bent, eyes shut, and hands on my stomach. Do what feels good! If you find the studio to be intimidating, pop sugar fitness and yoga with adrienne on youtube are GREAT! I barely go to yoga classes anymore! They are still very effective workouts and there are a wide variety. Good Luck!

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Jessica

Never say never! I've never been able to do the splits in my life, but after 6 months of taking Bar Method, I'm getting closer and I'm determined to get there one day 🙂 I also used to weigh over 180 pounds and after making a change a few years ago, working out is now a getaway for my mind and body. I like to switch things up between running, Bar Method and going on long walks around my neighborhood. My advice: try everything and find what works for you. If you don't truly like it and feel comfortable, you won't stick with it. I'll keep you accountable 😉

26 and Not Counting

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Kate Gruber

I have been doing yoga since I was a toddler, and it has since been the best way to relax, meditate, stretch, and relieve the stresses from school and life. I recommend for you to buy a yoga video from Walgreens or the internet (one for beginners) and get a feel for yoga first. And for the yoga classes? Don't stress. If you don't know what to do at the beginning, the people there are there to relax and reach their happy place, so they will be more than happy to show you the ropes. Soon, you will be experiencing the amazing thing that is called yoga! I hope everything goes well – Good Luck!! 🙂

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Bridgette Langdon

That's awesome! I used to do yoga many years ago, even though I'm not the best at it. I just tried a new studio where I currently live and really enjoyed it. However, I'll be moving back to the UES this summer (we moved away for two years while my husband is in business school at UVA) and I'd love to hear feedback about any yoga studios you try on the UES.

Bridgette | http://www.letloveguideus.com

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Classy Sassy Prep

Let us know how your first class goes! My friend is really into yoga and does at home videos and poses every night! I would love to get to that point, but I don't know if my tiny apartment at college has enough room for me. When I go home on breaks, I love going to yoga classes! They are so refreshing. I mostly go to hot yoga classes. I strongly recommend buying a think yoga mat. You will notice a significant difference in your joints. I also love Lululemon WunderUnder pants. They do not constrict your movement at all, but are think and not see-thru. Good luck!

xoxo, Abby
http://www.classy-sassy-prep.blogspot.com

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Laura Elise

I love yoga! I took classes in high school and college and want to get back into it since it's great for you body and mind and relieves stress. Like you, I still worry about the etiquette of going to a new studio (and I seriously need to brush up on my skills).

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LC

Yoga is awesome! I consider myself to be a pretty athletic person (running, swimming, biking, etc) but would say yoga is my favorite physical activity. I am very Type A, just like you, and doing yoga consistently for the last year and a half has helped me grow and learn how to be calm in all situations. As one of my teachers said in class recently, yoga is just practice for life. If you can persevere through a tough class, you can do the same in your real life. The skills you learn on the mat transfer to real life skills. I love it!

I don't live in NYC so I'm no help with studios, but the most important thing is finding a style and teacher you really like. Some people really like slower classes and others prefer fast paced. There's also yin, where you hold the pose for 3-8 minutes and it is super relaxing.

Aaaaand as a side effect, you will develop a newfound obsession with lululemon. I used to laugh at the idea of expensive workout clothes but I now have quite the collection…yikes.

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Southwestern Prepster

I love yoga! Mostly. I tried it when I was in Hawaii this past summer and loved it, though I did feel a bit embarrassed at some points because most of the people in there seemed to be professionals! Hope you find a good studio!
xx, Mikkaela
thesouthwesternprepster.blogspot.com

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Macy

I love yoga! I have never done it in a studio or a class but I follow several YouTube Yogis. Yoga with Adrienne is amazing, if you are ever looking for one online!

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Holly Hoskinson

Definitely set your intentions with the instructors. Let them know from day one what you want to get out of the classes both physically and mentally. Keep this goal conversation as a running check in conversation with your instructors. That will keep them aware of your practice and they will pay closer attention to you to help you reach your goals.

Get a cute mat that you feel comfortable on and that you feel expresses your personality. The mat becomes your little sphere during the class and is your home base.

For the first few months of class make sure to grab a spot in the front so you can really focus on yourself and the instructor. That way you are less likely to let your practice wander and get distracted by some of the more seasoned yogis. Yes their abilities are good goals to strive for but your practice is your practice and its a very personal journey. Don't let yourself get intimidated by what you can or cannot do, if you keep at it you will start to see results pretty quickly.

I am very excited to watch your practice evolve and watch you grow through your Yoga practice. I hope you find a wonderful studio that will suite your needs and that you can grow with.

Namaste,
Holly Hoskinson

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Abigail Cecchine

You should check out Yoga with Adriene! She just stared a 30 days of yoga video series for the new year and it is awesome. I like being able to have to flexibility of the youtube video and also the privacy. Sometimes I can get very competitive and try to outdo others in a class setting, which is not what yoga is about, so I love the at home aspect. Adriene is also super sweet and positive and it is all about accepting what your body can do and where are right now. So positive! And the #30DaysOfYoga is great to look up on Instagram if you need some inspiration:) ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXU591OYOHA

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Nicole Savery

I think you would really like Exhale. They have Yoga classes as well as Core Fusion (Barre) classes. The amenities and locker rooms are super nice, plus they have a bunch of locations around the city. UES or Central Park South would probably be convenient for you!

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On My Radar - The College Prepster

[…] and then I just kept putting it off and off. Before I knew it, I was too afraid to get back going. The same fears I had when I was first getting started crept back in. I don’t love the studio I’m going to because they don’t offer as many classes […]

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