It was 4:00 in the afternoon and I found myself with nothing to do. I’d already completed my tasks for the day, watched a bit of Netflix, made banana bread, and spent far too many hours on YouTube.

It is at these crossroads that we all must look ourselves in the mirrors and say: who am I? Will I log onto tumblr and spend the next several hours of my life looking at Supernatural gifs and stupid jokes? Or will I make something of myself?

Most of the time the answer is the former, but today it was the latter (solely because I had leftover kale salad for lunch and was feeling pretty healthy and didn’t want to ruin my streak). So I opened YouTube and typed in “yoga for beginners.” One of the first videos was “Yoga for Complete Beginners” which sounded like me, so I clicked it.

It’s by a woman named Adrienne and she makes all sorts of different videos about yoga. She has one of those soft voices that you expect from yoga instructors and she’s encouraging, understanding, and somehow knew exactly when my shoulders were hurting (as well as told me what to do about it). As someone who doesn’t want to drop $50 on four yoga classes at the local studio, I’m really happy that there are all these videos on YouTube for free, so that I can do yoga, for free, in my own bedroom, using a bath towel as a mat and acting as a human bridge for my dog to walk underneath while I do downward dog.

Adrienne dragged my body kicking and screaming through several simple poses in this 20-minute workout, and it was exactly what I needed after spending 2016 eating gelato and not working out beyond climbing Italy’s copious hills.

Was it difficult? Yes. Was it impossible? No.

Here are seven thoughts I had while doing yoga for the first time in years:

  1. “Why does my body already hurt it’s only been two minutes and I’m just sitting here”
  2. “Have I always had the posture of a gorilla or is that a new thing?”
  3. “Okay focus Helen, don’t get distracted by the beautiful instructor…oh my God but look at her…”
  4. “Where is my pelvis again…?”
  5. “How are her legs so straight are we even the same breed of human?”
  6. “But how can I look at her if my forehead is supposed to be on the ground? How will I know if I’m doing it right?”
  7. Do what feels natural? None of this feels natural.”

I complain but actually I feel really good right now – my legs might hurt a little and my muscles feel slightly strained but spiritually speaking, I feel good. It’s nice to check in with your body every now and then, even if you don’t like what it’s saying. At the end of the video Adrienne told me to do this same thing every day for a week, so tomorrow around this time, you can find me hauling out the old bath towel again.


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