I’m not a resolution-maker, so when a few friends suggested I try Adriene Mishler’s January 2020 yoga challenge, I was skeptical. I signed up anyway, with just enough curiosity to commit to it for the month, but no plans to continue beyond. 365 days later, I surprised myself by logging an entire year of yoga.
Beyond the strength and flexibility I gained, doing yoga every day — specifically doing Mishler’s yoga every day — helped me put things in perspective as the world grappled with a, political upheaval and fights for social justice.
Sweaty puddle room
Every January, Mishler — the creator of the now 9-million-subscriber-strong Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel — releases a month of new videos. Each morning, for 31 days straight, there’s a brand-new video on her channel and a brand-new email in your inbox, talking about the practice and encouraging you to give it a try.
In addition to her January challenge, Mishler, who has been publishing free yoga classes on YouTube since 2012, has hundreds of other videos in the cache — to try whenever you want, wherever you are, often featuring her impressively calm Australian cattle dog, Benji.
I was a member of a yoga studio near me when I started Mishler’s January 2020 challenge. And in stark contrast to her slow, thoughtful approach, the in-person classes I attended took place in an intensely heated room. Lying prone in savasana at the end of each session was a hard enough breath-battle against the crippling humidity. The class itself, which focused on fast vinyasa flows, perfecting your form and sweating your guts out, was even harder. Those classes always ended with pools of camouflaged sweat speckled across the gray floor, followed by my embarrassed, whispered apologies for hydroplaning into someone’s water bottle or mat when my foot accidentally hit a puddle on the way out the door.
I had probably done half a dozen Yoga with Adriene videos over the years before I signed up for her annual challenge, but to me, the sweaty puddle room was real yoga. Yoga with Adriene was just… stretching. I was so wrong.
Where I learn what yoga actually is
Mishler’s first video on Jan. 1, 2020 wasn’t yoga at…
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