A bunch of people standing on their heads and holding obscure poses never seemed like that much fun to me, but after hearing about yoga from from my friends and reading about its mental health benefits, I decided that I needed to see what all the buzz was about. Why are people spending their hard earned money on what appears to be sweaty quiet time?
While New York offers many options for those interested in yoga (including naked yoga!), I chose to attend a Yoga to the People class, which is one of the cheapest classes offered in New York and, according to the site, is a judgement-free environment for both beginners and advanced practitioners.
According to the most recent Yoga Journal Study, yoga is a 5.7 billion dollar industry in the United States alone. When I showed up to class, I paid ten dollars total for a water bottle, and a yoga mat and towel, which I returned at the end of class.
There were only two other people out of the 23 present who were yoga virgins like me. And as the 60 minute class progressed, they looked equally as confused by the various poses and pauses. The catch? We aren’t supposed to look at others, but instead focus on our own eyes in the mirror.
“This class is about focusing on you. Keep your eyes on yourself,” my instructor repeated several times throughout the sweaty hour. She walked around the class and chanted instructions, occasionally stopping by my corner of the room to help me.
When class let out, I was told that talking is “strictly forbidden” until we exit the building, and the line for the changing room was 22 people long.
I left feeling refreshed and sweaty, like I do when I finish any other workout. But I haven’t bought into the hype…yet.