We’re all about the yoga this January at FIFI. Many of us (me, Sam, Tracy, Susan, Christine — who else?) are doing the Yoga with Adriene Home 30 day yoga journey, along with scores of people in our 220 in 2020 groups and elsewhere. It feels like a community tipping point, so I asked people what draws them to it.
(And to be clear, this is not a sponsored post — we are just really fans, lol).
- People appreciate who Adriene is as a teacher and a person
People have a lot of experience with yoga teachers who take it too seriously or give lectures about How to Live. Adriene hits the right note of caring, humorous, affirming and expert.
I enjoy Adriene’s humour, that she doesn’t take herself too seriously (Margot)
And she feels very affirming of where I am in that she regularly makes comments about how the hardest part is showing up. (Jennifer)
I find Adriene charming. I find her amusing, genuine, and supportive, which are unusual things to say about a person I don’t know at all, but–for me–this is what she projects. (Maryjean)
I like how friendly (and marvellously goofy) Adriene is. She clearly takes yoga seriously but she doesn’t take herself too seriously. I like the foolish jokes she makes and the way she says ‘Hey-oh!’ If something she has said could have an off-colour interpretation. (Christine)
I like her style – not so much yoga/spiritual/hippie stuff that I can’t manage, but just enough to help me buy in and learn more about myself. (Craig)
like YWA specifically because of the simple clean production of the videos and that she is not too too much into cultural appropriation. (Jason)
I also really appreciate her kind, calm, generous personality, as well as her unabashed goofiness. (Johanna)
For me, I cannot say enough about how positively I feel about Adriene. I have spent some time in every yoga studio in this town and I am invariably irritated by instructors. They are too advanced or they are too full of crap or they never stop talking when they should or they tell me how to solve all my problems and they are no older than my kids. Adriene triggers none of that for me. I relate to her even though she is about a decade or so younger. She is unserious, but totally serious. She has ease in her own self, even in her own self consciousness. It’s not perfect, nothing is, but it’s darn close, for me anyway. (Susan)
2. January is hard, and having a regular practice helps create resilience
January is resoundingly awful, at least for the last few years. For the second year in a row, the whole family is sick except for me. Which means, I am often the first one up and the last one to bed, making many meals and snacks, and cleaning up from all of those, and there is not enough time for any exercise outside of the house. But last year, I made space for YWA’s 30 days, and I felt like it was part of starting me on the right track for 219 in 2019, and it was also a huge part of keeping me healthy when everyone else was sick. (Jennifer)
A victory of hope over experience? I do like a New Year’s resolution and the idea of having a goal is appealing to me. Without the goal, it’s easier for me to let things slide. (Maryjean)
3. The practice is short and doable, but generates something real
It also makes me realize I have time in my life for exercise. I’m doing this on top of my running but don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything. (Craig)
It is the yin to my weight lifting yang. The older I get the more I feel the need for a balance of soft and hard exercise. I (Jason)
Some days I’m torn between thinking it’s exactly what I needed and I could have used more – there are also some days where I’m like “okay enough talking Adriene – let’s go” and others where I’m like “Holy smokes this is moving”. (Craig)
Since I often only have time to sleep 6 hours per night, and I am spending a lot of the in between time exposed to the germs of school/commute/public transit/kids, YWA is just small enough that I can reliably make space for it, and it feels great. I definitely find the time and space, and the getting to my yoga mat to be the hardest part, and if I spend the duration of the video breathing and trying (though often failing) to shut out my to do list, then I have accomplished something huge. So, the feeling of accomplishment provided by the YWA 30 Day calendar- especially the regularity of the feeling of accomplishment – is such a gift. (Jennifer)
They’re all shorter than I’m used but if they were a full hour I don’t know that I’d be as able to maintain the daily commitment. In some ways, knowing it’s short has given me an attitude of “of course I can fit this in before dinner”. (Tracy)
The classes are a little short for me, but that makes sense for 30 straight days of yoga as opposed to my typical schedule, which might include no yoga or a quick 15 minutes on some days and an hour or more on others. (Jennifer2)
I’m doing it, not necessarily every day but many days and still her format makes it feel that you are right in pace. I like how she gives various challenge level for the moves.
I have a hard time keeping my eye on her as I am using my laptop and don’t know all the moves which can be a challenge but I like that I can go back and redo it after watching.
4. The dog!
OMG the dog !! (Alex)
I love that she makes her dog Benji a part of her practice that she shares with us. (Johanna)
And I love Benji and how she incorporates him into each episode. Like for the relaxing day she didn’t take the blanket away from him because he was sleeping. That was cute. (Tracy)
it’s fun that she has her dog snoozing away in most of the videos! (Christine)
Doing it with others has also been great – I look forward to seeing others talk and share and have a community. (Craig)
My daughters are both doing it too and we are encouraging each other, plus I enjoy reading people’s experiences here. and seeing Benji walk in and out of the frame is great 🙂 (Margot)
6. It fosters self-reflection and growth
What I love about YWA is that she gets me to try new flows and new poses. I generally use yoga to keep my body functioning and tend to do the same familiar poses/practices week after week because I’m not trying to grow so much in my practice, but more, I guess, to maintain both physically and mentally? It keeps my together and sometimes puts me back together. (Jennifer2)
I also learned something about myself and the need to recognize that different people are at different places with their practice – despite what she says (and what I thought) sharing experiences here and seeing comments has made it clear this is not as accessible as I thought. Also made me realize I’m further ahead in my own practice than I thought. (Craig)
I’ve done a few of her January yoga journeys (I love how she doesn’t call them challenges!) before and I find it super satisfying to be able to feel progress in myself (in terms of strength and flexibility) by the time I get to the end. (Johanna)
For me, she strikes the balance between neither treating yoga just like any other gym class nor being toooooo esoteric for my own personal tastes. I really appreciate the nudges to be mindful and to appreciate my own body! (Johanna)
YWA helps me engage with yoga in a different way. After Dedicate last year I continued inserting a few internet videos, some YWA, some not, into my practice every month and some of it has stuck in my every day practice. So, YWA has definitely helped me expand my yogic horizons. (Jennifer2)
She really makes it okay to do yoga at your own level. Lots of time online videos feel (to me) end up feeling like you are failing if you can’t replicated what they are doing. Adriene has regular reminders that you can modify the practice or just do what you can, and she somehow makes it truly okay. (Christine)
There are challenges to YWA Home, mostly that it might not be easy to follow as a true beginner — even with the variations she offers, some people aren’t familiar enough with the poses to modify in a confident way. She does build “vocabulary” over the 30 days — introducing new poses and concepts, and then referring back to them.
I’ve been doing yoga for 25 years, and my experience tends to be like Tracy’s — intellectually, it feels short, and I start out thinking “oh this is simple” — and then there is a moment of “oh my god that’s intense and challenging,” then “oh, it’s over.” The practice is cementing daily reflection and presence to my body, and is the perfect adjunct to the more intense running, crossfit and spinning that dot my week. Like others, I feel oddly supported and cared for by a person I have never met. What more could I ask for?
What about you? Have you tried YWA? If you’re inspired,go to the link and click subscribe to home — you’ll get emails every day starting with Day 1.
Fieldpoppy is Cate Creede, who lives and practices in Toronto. This image is one of Christine’s daily yoga inspiration drawings. It refers to the “ground” practice, and I love how it evokes my favourite of Adriene’s refrains — “root to rise.”