Here's a hint for anyone looking to start practicing yoga. Work nights and find an inexpensive morning community center class comprised only of retirees. It will immensely boost your confidence — at least until class starts and you realize most of the 60-somethings are more flexible than you.
That was disheartening and a bit embarrassing at first. But I've learned that it doesn't matter one bit how I look compared to the "Golden Girls of Kripalu Yoga" (anyone looking to fund a reality TV series?) The class' instructor and the bargain shelf DVDs I watch at home both insist that the practice isn't about getting it perfect, it's about practice. The process of gaining strength, flexibility and peace each time you roll out the mat is the goal.
Now, I'm four months into my yoga journey and my downward dog is still shaky as hell and conjures internal cursing, and one time I skipped class because it was "too cold" outside, but I'm sticking with it. I wouldn't call it a spiritual experience, unless you count the relief I feel as we start Savasana (literally the corpse pose) and I can stop flailing about for awhile. And even though I still consume my fair share of red meat and refuse to step into a Lululemon (I refuse to sweat in $100 pants), yoga's now a valuable part of my routine. When the instructor tells me I have nothing else to do right now than to be with my breath, I can at least momentarily shake off the deadline pressures of working in journalism and listen to my soft "ah" of breath rather than refreshing my Facebook feed every 30 seconds.
I know I'm a little late to this soul-stirring, bendy straw, strength-and-grace yoga trend but here I am, actually using yoga pants for their intended purpose saying "namaste" without my usual snark.