About five years ago, I was thinking about what I would need to do to really get in shape. I was absolutely not in shape and my aggressive and optimistic plan included running, weights, and yoga. Running for cardio, weights for strength, and yoga help improve flexibility and movement. Instead, I joined CrossFit and found that it was a pretty good combination of workouts to help with cardio, strength, and mobility.
After 5 years, my mobility has significantly improved but not where it needs to be.
CrossFit helped a ton and I’ve been doing a lot of home stretching as well. I’ve seen improvement but I know there can be more. Frankly, a lot more. About once a week, a patient asks, “What do you think about yoga?” I tell them I’m a fan and that I recommend it. I have plenty of patients that practice yoga in various levels. I’ve had patients that are contortionists and yoga instructors. I see the benefits of what they do, but I see that it’s not a replacement for chiropractic care. They work together.
When evaluating a new patient, we test range of motion. One of the first movements is for the patient to bend down and touch their toes.
Most of the time, I get a look that says, “Seriously?” and they proceed to give it their best shot. If they bend straight down and put the palms of their hands on the floor, there’s nearly a 100% chance they have done yoga in some capacity. Do you want to touch your toes? That may be reason enough to try yoga, but don’t stop there.
A few months ago, my wife (Dr. Natalie Cordova) decided to give YogaWorks (formerly YogaOne) a try. They’ve got a new client special where you can try as many classes as you want for two week for just $20. And try them out she did. “I’m going to yoga!” was said frequently during the next 2 weeks along with “I feel awesome!” and “You should try it!” about an hour later.
Her insistence let me know that I would be doing yoga soon, very soon.
Sign up is easy, it’s all online on their website. If you’ve got a yoga mat and towel, you can bring it. Not sure this is for you and don’t want to invest in anything, they’ve got everything there too. Just wear something comfortable and bring a water bottle (they’ve got those there too).
My first class…
There’s a lot that goes into trying something new. You’ve got to go into it knowing that you’ll likely look and/or feel stupid. I definitely felt like that the first few (and often still) classes at CrossFit. This felt a lot like that. Even though I had tried Bikram Yoga for a couple of classes a few years ago, this still felt new.
I didn’t particularly enjoy the class, but not because of anything at YogaWorks. They provide a clean environment and signing up couldn’t get any easier. I’m just not as flexible as I would like, I didn’t know the names of any of the moves, and felt like I was playing catch up most of the time. “What did she say? ‘Shavasana’?”
Then I took a few more classes…
A few classes in and I had a chance to try the Hot 60, Warm 60, and the Sonic Hot 60. The routine is identical, but one is hot, one is warm, and one is hot with music playing. They were all fine and there’s positives and negatives to each. I don’t know that I truly have a preference on which one I would choose. I think I would choose entirely on the time of day I can go, not necessarily on the class type.
The instructors have all been solid. They walk you through the same routine, but they all do it their own way. They share their personalities through how they teach and it’s been different each time because of that. Without throwing anyone under the bus, instructors have good days and bad days. There’s one instructor that I didn’t particularly enjoy the first time (I think she was having a bad day), but she was great every other time.
I only bring this up for those that are trying out yoga for the first time. When you’re just trying something out, you can be easily turned off by the slightest annoyance (at least I have in the past). The music isn’t right (or just not what you would have preferred), you don’t like your spot in the class, you felt stupid, or the instructor’s personality doesn’t match yours. To me, these are not good enough reasons not to continue to work on your health.
There will be good and bad, and once you get a chance to see these instructors a few times, there’s nearly only good to what they’re offering. I can tell they all care and give a lot of themselves to helping you have the best experience possible each time. I haven’t felt like any of them are just there to get a paycheck. They are yoga practitioners, trying to work on yoga and themselves each time.
The people in the classes are as varied as any group I can think of. There’s male, female, young, old, all shapes and sizes, and all skill types. There’s those that are taking a break halfway through and those that are really pushing themselves each time. You’ll get the idea pretty quickly that no one is paying attention to how well you’re doing. They’re working on their own thing.
If you need a break, take a break. If you can only do the basic version of the move, do that. If you can push it, you can do that too. Feel like you need some water? Have some water. Everyone’s there to work on their thing and that’s all you need to do as well.
There are some people that are louder than others (like really loud breathers. I had no idea you could breathe that loudly) and some that make noises. There have been odors. Again, I only mention this as these could be annoyances that stop you from coming back and that would be a shame. This is an opportunity for you to focus, to learn to shut out the outside stressors as you work on your mental and physical health.
VINYASA FLOW – I haven’t tried this one, but my wife has. She likes the other classes better but that’s because we’re there for mobility over “working out.” This is a much faster paced class. Yogaworks describes it as “a dynamic series of sequenced postures.”
HOT 60 – 100 – 104 degrees with 50 – 60% humidity. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Give it a try before you feel like it’s too hot for you. If you start to overheat, lay flat on your back on your mat. It’s much cooler at the floor level. It’s good to sweat and the heat helps with the mobility. That being said, the outside humidity does play a part in how this heat has felt. I still liked it overall.
WARM 60 – 90 – 95 degrees, which feels much cooler than the Hot 60 class. Almost feels like you’re cheating after going to the hotter class. The warmth helps with the movements, so if the Hot class is too hot for you, try the Warm class.
SONIC HOT 60 – I’ve gotten used to working out with and without music, but the music does make the time go by faster. It’s been a mix. There’s a theme to the music selection in these classes. I’ve attended the class with nothing but Madonna, another with just Prince, and 80s music that had us singing along to “I think we’re alone now” by Tiffany. Hadn’t heard that song in years.
HOT CORE BARRE – Haven’t tried this one either. This incorporates weights, resistance training, and barre along with your yoga mat. I know these classes are a great challenge, but not something I want to try right now.
HOT CORE WEIGHTS – Yoga + interval training with music. Also haven’t tried this one.
As I write this, they’re offering a free week for all new students. In the past, they’ve had something like “$20 for 2 weeks.” Either way, it’s a great low-risk opportunity for you to try their classes.
EDIT: YogaWorks went out of business during the pandemic. Learn more about the yoga studio we recommend (Yoga2Gather) here: https://www.corechiropractic.net/yoga2gather/
Yes, you need to try yoga. As I wrote in a recent blog post – you are more likely to get injured due to poor mobility than any other reason when working out. You don’t have to only do yoga, but you do need to work on your mobility and this is a great way to do it.
YogaWorks in Bellaire is doing a great job and I’ll keep working on health by incorporating this into my other activities.