Yoga for the Non-Yogi

Tony Horton is many things, but a yogi he is not. 

(Aside: Tony Horton is the guy behind P90X, the program I am doing right now.)

As I’m watching his impressive legs move in his little tight yoga pants, I’m thinking more about the fact that he looks like a kid who is ready to watch Saturday morning cartoons, than about the fact that my body is in down-dawg, and what that might mean for my  breath.

He admits several times during the video that "yoga is not his thing".  That is why I like him.  Yoga isn’t "my thing" either but, like Tony, I keep at it because I know that flexibility is key to being a well-rounded athlete.  I also know that the pause yoga gives me is good for my otherwise racing head.

Yoga says: "Sit here, Heidi.  Sit here right in the middle of this amazing pain.  Think about it.  There, that’s a good girl."

Steven over at Mud, Sweat, and Gears may admonish me for speaking openly about yoga, which he has commented is the "secret cyclocross weapon".  Unfortunately, as a fairly-so-far-non-fast beginning racer, I fear I probably am not yet qualified to claim to have secret weapons.  However, after meeting Michael Sylvester (former World’s level ‘cross racer, bike-fit genius, and super-yoga-person), I have a sneaking suspicion that Steven may be onto something.

If so, then accept this pre-emptive apology: I’m letting the cat out of the bag.

Back to Tony Horton.

In my little workout room yesterday, with Tony plastered humongously onto the wall by the projector, I am not getting into the yoga groove that I know is possible.  In fact, I don’t feel loosened up at all.  Tony’s voice is not soothing and smooth like the cute lady at the shala.  Tony is not getting me "there".  Tony is not doing it for me.

I finish the 90 minute yoga workout and jump into the shower, disappointed.  Moments later, as my hands scrub my little pea-head, I make a decision.  Yoga again.  Real yoga. 

I’ll go back to the studio up in the NW and suffer at the hands of some super-hottie little girl in the beginner class tonight at 6:45pm.  I need my fix, goddamit.  I need my yoga high!

The yoga studio that I favor is in the "fancy" part of town.  I live diagonally across the city in the "not-fancy" part of town.  I like my side of town better, but I suffer the little Yoga Queens with their Lululemon bags and $1200 boots (no really, when you see a pair of Golden Goose boots stashed in a shoe cubby, you know you are somewhere fancy) because I haven’t found a studio on the eastside that does it for me.  Besides, most of the little Yoga Royalty ladies are actually pretty nice.

In a crowded class of about 15 goils and 1 boy, I get what I came for.  Calm, pain, clarity, sweat, even-ness, respite.

I also get an absolutely killer leg workout.

And amid the searing pain of holding, holding, holding (those bastards make it look so easy!) I solidify and finalize my thoughts around what I want for myself this year, and how I’m going to make it real.

More than anything, I appreciate the way that yoga is "quiet".  Not in the aural sense, but in the experiential sense.  It is so different than any other physical activity I do.  Slow and intentional.  Reflective in its agony.  Relentless in its insistence that you stop rushing and start paying attention.

I lay in corpse pose for a good ten minutes after class wraps up.  The room is warm but not hot.  The lights are dim.  The Yoga Royalty are gone and I have the room to myself.

I remind myself to come back sooner rather than later.  Then I drive home in the freezing rain and winter blackness.  The world is a stark contrast to the warm-toned paint and toasty temperature of the studio.

At home it’s hot tea, last minute emails, and bed.

I’m not a yoga-person, but I don’t mind pretending every now and then.


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  1. Hi – if yoga is the super-secret-weapon for CX then I am ordering a double dose!!!!

  2. I missed this post! Glad you’re discovering yoga (shhhhh!). Seriously, if it were a secret weapon I’d be better at CX than I am, but without it I know I would be worse. One of our best ‘crossers here is a yoga instructor and teaches yoga for cyclists. Which studio are you going to? I learned at Holiday’s, and currently I’m liking Corepower (they’re here too, as well as NW PDX) for the ass-kicking, sweaty workout.

  3. I discovered yoga doing Tony Horton’s Yoga-X. I’m enjoying it much more now that I’m viewing the yoga workout as an end in itself rather than a means to any other end.


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