being a mom

Why I Keep Trying Yoga, Even Though I Hate It

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Like most moms who juggle work and family I find myself searching for inner peace, or at least 30 minutes of peace and quiet. So, when a new yoga studio opened less than a mile from my house, I decided to give yoga a try… again.

For the past 15 years, I have tried to commit to a yoga practice at least a half dozen times. Apparently, trying yoga is a cyclical event for me — about every two years I give it another go.

Just thinking about yoga — the dimly lit studio, the uncluttered space, time to focus on my breathing and posture — makes me feel instantly healthier and calmer. I imagine myself sipping green tea afterward and feeling rested, peaceful and calm. Yoga is going to stop me from overeating, and it’ll keep me from eating too much chocolate and drinking too much coffee, wine and beer. I will never again bark at my daughter, “Hurry up, we’re going to be late!” I picture myself with a toned, fabulous body like Angelina Jolie and all the other celebrities who swear by yoga.

But, truthfully, the practice of yoga stresses me out.

I am the student who uses the yoga blocks for Triangle Pose and leans against the wall during Tree Pose so I don’t fall down, especially when I try to do Tree Pose using my left leg. When the teacher walks around the classroom, inspected everyone’s posture, I am the student who constantly needs to be adjusted. And that adjustment usually results in me being in some twisted, uncomfortable position that is impossible for me to hold.

I don’t get the point of getting into a pose and holding it and holding it and holding it. And the breathing — maybe it’s because I am a klutz who finds it hard to just walk and text at the same time, but I can’t seem to synchronize my movements to my breathing. I should feel lighter and more graceful while I am doing yoga, not awkward and clumsy.

No surprise that my two favorite poses are child’s pose and corpse pose — the two least active poses — and I’ve been known to fall asleep during corpse pose (go ahead and pretend like you haven’t).

Here’s what typically goes through my head during yoga class: How much longer do I need to hold this? How much longer is this class? How many times is the instructor going to make us do the same pose over and over again? Is it wrong for me to be thinking about having a glass of wine when I leave here? I don’t see how this will help me lose weight.

Despite my past track record, I was determined that my commitment to yoga would be different this time. So, I paid a flat-fee for unlimited yoga for a month at the studio near my house rationalizing that maybe in the past I wasn’t committed enough to yoga, maybe I need to practice it more than once a week, maybe I need to embrace yoga as part of my day. Besides, it would at least get me out the house and somewhere peaceful twice a week. So I figured this would be a good thing… until I attended the first class.

Although it was billed as a beginner’s class, these people were serious. They could twist their bodies into every pose, hold it for the required 6 to 8 minutes and quickly move into the next pose fluidly without missing a beat. I, on the other hand, felt like an ox, slogging through each pose, being readjusted, and often falling out of the pose before we moved on to the next one.

I also wasn’t expecting the class to be filled with what appeared to be all graduate students. I don’t think there was a mom, grandmother or anyone over 25 in the class. It was just me — the mother of a tween — and the grad students, including one very hot guy who grunted in ecstasy every time we changed poses.

With each pose, I wondered when I would hear the word I longed for, “Namaste.” When it finally happened and the class ended, I felt euphoric. I wasn’t sure if it was a natural high from the class or relief that it was over, but I told myself that the yoga class felt good, I felt healthier, and that the next time would be even better.

Oh, the lies we tell ourselves.

When I went back two days later, I found it even harder to get through the class. Namaste couldn’t come soon enough. Instead of feeling peaceful, I felt frustrated and bored. Honestly, I don’t see the point of holding a pose and stare into the mirror to check my alignment and posture. I know am probably supposed to clear my mind during all this but all I can think about is my grocery list, that thing I keep forgetting to tell my husband, that I need to remember to respond to my best friend’s email about getting together Saturday night, and wondering whether there is white wine in the refrigerator at home.

By the end of the third class, I decided once again that yoga wasn’t for me. So much for a month of unlimited yoga.

(Photo: Getty)