Why Learning to Run Is Easier Than Learning Yoga

Hi everyone!  I’m so excited that my week is over halfway finished!  My classes are being observed all week by my trainer who flew up from headquarters in Seattle which is extremely stressful.  So to distract myself from that, I’ve been pouring all my energy into following my training plan.  And it’s going really well!  One thing that I’ve been doing this week is checking out tons of yoga studios and classes to use as my cross training twice a week.  Even though Anchorage is a smaller city, there are quite a few studios here!  And before even visiting any, I can tell from their websites and Facebook pages that they all have totally different vibes.  There are some studios that have crazy class names where I can’t tell what is going on exactly, and some that mention things that I’m not into at all like meditation and chanting.  And once you find a studio that sounds okay, you then have to figure out which classes you should take!  This may sound easy – obviously the beginner’s workshops, anything that says “basics” or “intro” in the title, or ones that are marked as all level classes.  But here’s what I’m quickly learning about yoga:  it’s a different experience for everyone.  You basically have to try out a bunch of different kinds to see what you like best, and then try out different studios until you find one you’re comfortable going to.  And then you have to find an instructor that you like so that you’ll enjoy class!  My only other experience with studio classes was Barre3, and they only offered one class over and over again and 4 instructors so it was a much faster process.  Honestly, I’m kind of getting overwhelmed here!

yoga typesThis chart is an example of how confusing this is!  PS apparently I should be doing hatha yoga.

There’s one simple thing about this process that keeps jumping out at me:  learning to run was easier than learning yoga.  Running doesn’t have complicated names (except fartlek, which is pretty silly) or require instructors or modifications or props or flexibility or knowledge.  Running just simply is me putting one foot in front of the other for a few miles at a time.  When I started I didn’t know about foam rolling or tempo runs or minimalist shoes, but I was able to run without googling a million terms and calling studios.  It’s not always necessarily “easy” (in fact, it never really is) but in comparison to yoga it just seems like the simplest workout in the world because I can understand it.

just run

I read Rebecca’s awesome post earlier this week, and I couldn’t help but agree with her.  With my crazy sweaty red-faced workout situation and lack of flexibility, I’d be better off working out at home with Yoga with Adrienne or Barre3 online.  But there’s something about signing up for a class that just gives me so much more motivation.  I feel like I can skip a workout if it’s something I’m supposed to do at home and I get lazy, but when I sign up for a class I’m committing to being somewhere.  I need this kind of motivation right now.  And so there is only one thing I can do to make this happen:  talk to each studio about their beginner level classes to get as much information as possible, sign up for a class at each studio that I think I’d feel comfortable in, and try things out.  So far I’ve taken a workshop on vinyasa flow at the place with the lash bar and pole dancing (loved the workout, wasn’t so sure about the studio vibe) and an intro workshop that was more about laying on my back and breathing than anything else.  And there was mini-inversion and a chant at the end.  Nope.  I’m thinking that vinyasa is the way to go, so I’ll be trying out a few beginner classes around town to see where I fit in.  I basically have two outcomes to look forward to:

Best case scenario:  I get out of the house in the dark winter for some exercise in some really nice, calm studios with other newbies like me, and maybe I find a studio and practice that I personally enjoy and can commit to.  And through all of this yoga searching I might enjoy running more because of how simple it is in comparison.

Worst case scenario:  I blow through some money trying out classes, embarrass myself in front of strangers that I will never see in class again, and learn that Yoga with Adrienne is the only yoga for me.

It’s worth a shot!  I think it’s incredible that I’m even trying this out given my lack of knowledge and flexibility, but I do love the excitement of trying something new that will help my training.  And yeah, the new-found appreciation for running isn’t so bad either  🙂

Do you practice yoga as cross training?  If so, how did you choose your studio, type of yoga, and instructor?  What’s your favorite type of class?


23 thoughts on “Why Learning to Run Is Easier Than Learning Yoga

  1. Haha I love this! I agree that learning yoga is definitely harder than running in a lot of ways, but one think yoga does that running doesn’t is help me breathe! I always have trouble keeping my breaths even while I run but when I practice yoga I am able to figure out a good rhythm to hopefully transfer to my running. Good luck finding a studio! You will know when you find the right one 🙂

    1. See I feel the opposite, and it might just be because I’m new! But I feel like I’ve learned how to breath in a rhythm when I run, and when I do yoga I’m holding my breath half the time because I’m either in pain or just trying too hard to get into a pose. This may not be for me haha. If only Barre3 was here, I’d love to start going to a studio again and that one was perfect!

  2. That’s why we say yoga is for everyone because there really as so many avenues to take and try. Keep it up though and you’ll find it sooner or later! I know studios just don’t work for me. I have a lot of feelings about this (I still need to post about it), but I’d rather (and NEED) to workout and do yoga on my own.

    1. I really think you’re onto something with the no studio thing. Why does no one talk about how hard it is to find a good yoga studio? I only hear people talk about how awesome yoga is, and while I agree with that and want to do it more I’m so frustrated with how annoying the studio process is! I bet you that I’ll end up just doing stuff at home in a month haha 🙂 Thanks for all of your advice though! PS what is your favorite “type” of yoga? Or do you like it all?

  3. There are so many different varieties of yoga, and every instructor takes a different approach. In a way, I love this because it helps to keep my interest sparked and I don’t become bored. On the other hand, there are SO MANY different movements, and I can’t remember all of them for the life of me.

    1. Yes! This is how I’m starting to feel. I really don’t want to be overwhelmed in class. I wonder how many poses there are? And I agree that it’s awesome that everyone takes a different approach to teaching yoga, but I wish I could magically tell which ones were perfect for me to cut down on wasted time. Their bios are not helping right now!

  4. It really is a crapshoot when you walk into a yoga studio; you never quite know what you’re gonna get. I once took a yoga class where the instructor played nothing but Elvis music. Ummm, really? I hope you find something that works for you, because when you do, it’s awesome!

    1. What! That’s crazy! I would have been laughing the whole time! I really hope I find it too. If not, I’m just sticking to some at-home yoga.

  5. Holy massive yoga chart, Batman! I’ve tried yoga twice, but both times didn’t go so well for me, so I’ve been hesitant to try again. I could really use the stretching/flexibility aspect of it! Hope you find the perfect yoga method! 🙂

    1. Yeah when I saw that chart I was like yep, this is why I’m having a tough time! I know that there are lots of stretching classes at many places I’ve looked at, and the receptionist at one place actually recommended that class for my cross training. Maybe we’ll both find classes we actually like! And I recommend Yoga with Adrienne to try at home, she’s really chill and is the only yoga instructor that I’ve ever liked! She has a ton of free youtube videos.

  6. I love yoga but dont get the chance to visit the studios very often because of the kids. Ive found yogaglo.com gives me the best selection and flexibility to practice at home. I love how they have the classes categorized by either style or body part. I don’t even know what style i like the best. I just do whatever i’m in the mood at that moment.

    1. That sounds awesome! I’ll have to check that out if I can’t find anything! I do like doing Yoga With Adrienne on youtube, so I feel like I have more options online than in studio haha.

    1. Haha thanks! Picmonkey is where I make all of my stuff because it’s free and easy. That picture was from a trail in Kenai Fjords National Park and I wish I could be running on that now instead of the treadmill 😦

  7. I love yoga as one of my cross training days. I have definitely seen an improvement in my running. I lucked out in that the gym I go to also offers yoga classes, so I already knew the instructor and have been lucky enough to have some solo classes with her.

    1. So jealous! That’s a big reason I wanted to join a gym with classes, but I ended up going with Planet Fitness 😦 But I’m glad it’s improving your running! That’s one of my goals for sure.

  8. I love yoga! Bixler is skeptical because his is completely inflexible to the point where it is hilarious to try to watch him stretch or anything. I do Rodney Yee DVDs at home and other stuff online, mostly power yoga because I like the cardio component. I’ve never been to a studio, though we do have one here in Seward. Last time I tried a studio activity the instructor kept using me as an example because I’m not an instant expert on the first try with poses and stuff. I’ll never set foot in a studio again. A mirror to view poses, the internet, and some motivation is all you need!

    1. I am really starting to agree with this! I love the feeling of having a class to go to, but I think I’ll be more comfortable at home. Although I did just take a candlelight yoga class Thursday night and it was incredibly relaxing, so I may need to light up a ton of candles at home every time I do it now!

  9. I’d never really considered this, but I think you’re absolutely right! I think once you’ve been running for a while, you might not call it simple thanks to all our recovery tools, race gear, workout specifics, but you have a point that you can get started with no knowledge whatsoever. I’m constantly looking at the instructor during yoga to make sure I’m doing the correct warrior pose, or my feet or arms are positioned properly- there’s no zoning out in that class!
    I think I was lucky that my gym offers yoga, & I didn’t mind the size of the class or the instructor, so it’s something I go to whenever I feel the urge 🙂 good luck on your studio search!

    1. This is the one reason I regret jointing Planet Fitness – no yoga classes to join! And all of these studios seem so serious. And yeah, I can’t take my eyes off the instructor or I misunderstand her and have to be super corrected. On Thursday I took a class and we were laying down with our feet doing something in the air and then she told us to make some pose that I didn’t know and her directions were just “put the soles of your feet together” so I did it in the air and of course she meant the floor and I looked ridiculous. I may go back there, but I may not because I definitely looked like an idiot for the entire hour!

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