Coffee Break – Yoga for Stress Relief DVD

Yoga for Stress Relief
I’m just going to start by saying this: I am not a yoga chick. Part of this stems from the fact that I’ve always been really flexible, but with lousy balance, so I can get into the positions really easily and then just fall over. That said, I wanted to recommend this DVD to you guys — particularly as the end of the year amps into a fairly stressful time of year. This DVD has 20+ easy to follow routines that target (in generally 15-20 minute segments) specific pains, such as lower back pain, neck and shoulder pain, headaches — and yoga that purports to help stomach and digestive issues, as well as troubled sleep, including insomnia. For $13.49 through Amazon, it’s a great investment in YOU. Yoga for Stress Relief


  1. I have the “for beginners” DVD in this series. I like it a lot. :) It features a lot of calming ocean sounds, and the instructor’s voice is also very nice.

    • I have this DVD. I’ve used it a ton over the last few years. I still love it. Very helpful!

  2. MissJackson :

    Thanks. This is really well-timed. I woke up with ridiculous backpain this morning, and am currently sitting in my office with a heating pad and feeling generally really old.

  3. personal grooming :

    Early threadjack: we’ve talked a lot on these threads about not washing your hair every day, but I’ve seen a few recommendations around the web not to shower every day, since the soap strips your skin of the natural oils, etc.

    How often do you shower? My skin is ridiculously dry already, and the winter cold is not helping! I’m wondering if showering every other day (unless I workout, since I need a shower after a workout) would be enough. I sit at a desk all day, so it’s not like I’m doing anything to get “dirty”. However, I also use my shower to wake me up in the morning, and I don’t know that just a daily face wash will be enough.

    Have any of you tried to go with fewer showers, and what effect did it have on your skin?

    • S in Chicago :

      I haven’t skipped. But I do try to avoid really hot showers. For some reason, temperature really seems to make a difference for me. I also try to pat dry vs. rub.

    • I shower every day, but if my skin is getting dry I only use soap on the parts of my body that actually get dirty and don’t use it on my back/legs etc.

    • There’s a post for that, kind of – Thoughts on Bathing

      More of a survey of habits, rather than the result.

      As to the dry skin – do you have a humidifier that you run during the winter? It really helps prevent the general dryness of winter from getting too bad.

      • karenpadi :

        I’ll second the benefits of having a humidifier. I run it when I feel cold but my skin glows!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I frequently shower every other day. My skin is SUPER sensitive and is so much healthier when I go a day in between. When I’m working out I suck it up and shower daily.

    • It may just be me, but I tried to skip daily showering when I was working at home, and I just felt completely gross and like I hadn’t really “gotten up” for the morning, even if I washed my face and put on make up, deoderant, and nice clothes. And feeling that way made me want slack off even more, so I finally decided that I wasn’t saving a bit of time with it.

      I do think that you could get away with skipping the soap and maybe just doing a rinse (followed by a lot of lotion) if skipping a full shower doesn’t work for you.

    • Do you have hard water? If so, that’s probably causing more dryness than any soap/body wash will cause. You can easily get a water filter to put in above your showerhead that should help remove a lot of the deposits that will really dry your skin out.

    • I shower every day, even when I don’t exercise. My brother thinks it’s disgusting, but I only wash the “dirty” parts–hair, armpits, crotch, feet. I don’t wash my arms, legs, chest, back, etc. I figure the soap and water go over them and they seem generally clean and don’t smell. While I take a pretty warm shower, I don’t stay in for more than 5 minutes unless I’m shaving my legs (which is only once a week–and I wonder why I’m single :))

      • I do this, too. The only time I really lather up all parts of me is after excercise (which, is 4-5 days a week). Other times, I just wash the “dirty” parts with soap and arms, shoulders, back, neck, etc with water only.

        I shave my legs every day, though. I hate the feeling of stubbly legs.

      • A dermatologist recommended exactly this approach for my son, who suffers from eczema. You know if you stink, right? So you’ll know if it’s working!

      • I do this too. Soap the parts of me that would make stink, just let the water run over the other parts. I also use an exfoliator on the dry parts, and then use a lot of aragon oil (from Kiehls) on everything that’s dry. I find it light smelling and quick absorbing and I can feel the moisture that it keeps in at the end of the day.

    • Try using a “milk” rather than a cleanser or a soap. Something that’s basically lotion, that you rinse off gently and pat dry.

    • Less Water :

      I only shower if I exercise, which means only 2 or 3 times a week (hey, don’t judge). I’ve got pretty oily skin/hair, and over showering actually exacerbates the problems. I find that when I’m on a low water schedule, my skin ends up clearer and my hair doesn’t go immediately to greasy mess on day 2.

    • found a peanut :

      Have you thought about taking the same amount of showers but not using soap except on (ahem) body parts that need it?

    • Research, Not Law :

      Typically every other day, occasionally three days if I can. (After having kids, I’ve learned to go longer… but that has nothing to do with your question).

      I do it mainly for my hair, but now that you mention it, it was good for my skin. My skin does quite well when left alone. My typical routine is a gentle exfoliant in the shower every 2-3 days. Otherwise, it’s mild cleanser in the evenings and water-only in the morning. For body skin, I typically do nothing but water. I figure my shave cream (Kiss My Face) gets the spots in need. If I’m feeling particularly dirty and need soap, I use something very mild on the areas necessary (think cetaphil, castile, plain glycerine).

      At the gym, I just did a quick rinse-off in warm (not hot) water.

      Water temp makes a big difference. I love hot, hot showers, but my hair and skin prefer warm.

    • personal grooming :

      Thanks for the replies. The water temperature might be a culprit, now that several of you have mentioned it. I LOVE a really hot shower in the morning, and I like to stand under it for a good 10 minutes if I can. I already use the soap sparingly, and I don’t think I have hard water, but the temperature is always really hot. I’ll have to look into a humidifier…

      • Try a wash with shea butter. Also I find that keeping lotion in the bathroom that I can slather on while I am in the shower & just done is key to feeling hydrated.

        I don’t think I could do every other day or no soap at all.

        Also, yes, to the humidifier. For those with old fashioned radiators with covers on them, I find placing a bowl of water on the radiator also does the trick.

      • Humidifiers do work wonders. Aveeno has a nice body wash that I find quite moisturizing. Also, Suave brand Intensive Therapy lotion (something like that) took me from scratching myself bloody with dry itchy skin to no problems at all.

        I realize it’s probably ridiculous that I shower every day, sometimes twice a day if I work out (2-3 times a week) and then “add back” moisture with lotion, but I really can’t stand skipping a shower. I just feel vaguely disheveled for the rest of the day if I don’t shower in the morning.

        • personal grooming :

          Yep, when I’m exercising regularly, I take 2 showers a day, several days a week, so I don’t think it’s ridiculous to shower daily either! I also feel kind of disheveled without a morning shower (usually Saturdays end up being non-shower days, since I’m just studying or running quick errands).

      • I love love love a really hot shower, and can’t give it up even though it dries out my skin. I slather on moisturizers of various kinds to compensate. One of my favorites is Alpha Keri bath oil — it’s cheap, moisturizes really well and I like the smell of it. I rub some on after getting out of the shower and before drying off.

      • I have had this problem with dry, itchy skin in winter for years.

        I do skip showers sometimes. I am not much of a sweaty person, so that helps. I often only shower once per weekend, maybe late Saturday, so that I can give my skin a break. I do shower every work day, but I would like to break this habit.

        As soon as I step out of the shower and lightly towel off, I apply a very rich lotion. I found the Aveeno Baby Moisture Cream (I’ll post link separately) through reading Amazon reviews, and it has made a huge difference. For me, it’s primarily my legs that itch, so I concentrate the lotion there, but I also use it on my trunk and arms. I reapply to my arms, hands, legs and feet every night before bed.

        Sadly, I really had to give up taking baths. I rarely do it now. It’s counterintuitive that soaking in water will dry out your skin, but it does. It doesn’t matter what you add to the bath.

        For soap, I only wash what’s dirty as others have said, and I use natural glycerin soap. I find it the least drying.

        OK, baby lotion link to follow.


    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      I’ve tried. But I wash my hair at night so it can airdry over night, and I shower in the morning to wake up. I tried skipping the morning shower and I was just cranky. So I adjusted the water temperature. Hot water strips oils; it’s better with cooler water. I also try to use really mild soap, and I moisturize the second I step out of the shower to help “lock in” the moisture. I also run a humidifier at night in the winter and am constantly applying hand lotion and chapstick in the winter. I’m from the South, and northern winters are brutal on my skin.

      • Northern winters are brutal on everyone’s skin. We just don’t know any different up here :)

    • For those of you with dry hair, consider switching to sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. I use L’Oreal’s EverPure line, but there are many others out there at regular drugstores now. I’ve noticed a world of difference for my flat-iron-damaged hair, and my hairdresser has remarked that my ends look a lot better and my hair is less frizzy too.

    • I have a related question. For those who don’t shower every day and use dry shampoo to keep the oilies away– any recommendations? My hair is fine, medium-dark brown, and my skin is very very oily, which happily migrates to my hair (especially roots and face-framing strands) on days when I don’t shower, like lazy weekends. In my head, dry shampoo would leave me with a dandruffy look. I always assumed it was better for blondes. That seems dumb now that I’m writing it down. Any suggestions?

    • I use Neutrogena sesame oil after showering while my skin is still damp and it really helps in the winter when the air is so drying

  4. Anon for this :

    Threadjack, ladies: when is it too early in a relationship to start factoring it in to your big decisions? I’ve been dating a guy for 7 months now, and it’s going really really well. To be honest, it’s the best relationship I think I’ve ever had. The problem is that I hate my hugely stressful job, and I’m starting to hate the town I live in. Getting another job in my field in this town isn’t an option, and Guy is pretty settled here. I want to get a new job and leave town, but I’d also really like to see if this relationship could be something really good. I’m tempted to stick it out for a while at Crappy Job to see how the relationship goes, but the practical side of me thinks that making big life decisions based on a 7 month relationship is stupid.

    • You should at least be looking for other jobs, right? Maybe you won’t get them, or maybe you will, but at least you’ll have something definite to weigh against the relationship. Have you talked to bf about wanting to move for job, but not wanting to move away from him?

    • My personal thinking is that 7 months is, or at least, can be, plenty of time to know whether or not a relationship is “the big one.” So, I definitely don’t agree with the practical part of you. :) Really, it’s up to you to decide how big of a deal this relationship is to you, and what your options are. Imagine if you were to get married – how would you deal with this situation? How does thinking of that make you feel? What are your options (as far as, can you move to a nearby town where you would still be close enough to have a relationship, or would visiting each other be a major project?) and how does thinking through each one make you feel? (I’m not asking for you to respond, just trying to offer some guidance as to what you should think about.)

      • Research, Not Law :

        Agree with this. I dated one man for five years and took it into very little consideration. After only a few months together, my (now) husband and I were casually house shopping and talking big-picture.

        We’d been together about 7 months on our first new year together. We decided that we’d separately write down our “five year plan” and review over a nice dinner on NYE. It gave us a chance to talk about things, but also to compare what we wanted separately from each other. Not surprisingly, our plans were nearly identical and certainly compatible. I highly recommend.

      • I respectfully and amicably disagree regarding how long you need to know when you’re in “the big one.” I don’t want to strike a depressing note, but unfortunately almost all of my friends who have married are at this point either divorced, or in the process of divorcing (we’re ~30) and it’s gotten me thinking about how certain one can feel about someone, regardless of the time involved, and yet still end up having to make a change. Obviously, each of these friends might have made different decisions about where to work or live if they had known this wasn’t forever.

        I’m not weighing in on one side or another here. If I were in your shoes, I’d probably initiate a conversation with my boyfriend about whether we were both thinking about starting to take the relationship into account in major decisions–and that would include the questions “what would you ideally like me to do, given this situation?” and “what would you do if our positions were reversed?” I’d see where that went. But I’d probably be at least looking and applying at the same time, without hiding anything from him.

        • I agree that the OP should talk to the boyfriend. If I was dating someone for 7 months, and they didn’t discuss something like this with me, and just up and announced that they were moving to Y city for a new job, I’d be pretty miffed. Frankly, it would make me reconsider being serious about that person if I had been getting serious.

          But to Monday’s point, even forever is not always forever, so you do need to factor in both the relationship and what is best for you, life and careerwise.

          And as to the more narrow question, I do think every relationship is different. Some people can date for a year and see each twice a week and rarely sleep over; others date for a month and have a drawer at each other’s places. I would look to how close you are; how involved in each others’ lives; do you assume that you’re spending major holidays together; have you met each others’ friends and family; does he even know you’re unhappy and thinking about a move?

          • Anon for this :

            I guess this maybe needs a bit more background:

            I had been planning to leave since before I met him, and my plan was to start applying for other jobs once Big Job Milestone was reached, since the milestone would significantly increase my employability. I was upfront about this when we started dating, and we both agreed to only date casually. After about 4 months, we both admitted casually wasn’t going to work for this relationship and decided to get more serious. I’ve met Big Milestone, but now I’m not sure I want to leave. He knows I’m considering staying, but while I’ve told him that our relationship is a big part of my considering staying, I haven’t told him it’s about 85% of the reason because “I’m staying in this shitty job for you” seems like a lot of weight for a recent relationship to carry.

            He’s a pretty emotionally reserved person and has told me he’s having trouble going all in emotionally in a relationship with someone with one foot out the door, but he also says he feels this relationship is special. I feel I owe it to him to decide if I’m willing to commit to multiple-year plans before I ask him to do the same. At the moment, due to issues with his parents and their health, him moving is unlikely to be on the table.

            Thanks for everyone’s comments. You’ve all definitely given me a lot to think about.

      • I second (third?) this, but mainly the aspect of thinking through how taking different paths would make you feel. I’m a big fan of “trying a decision on” for a day or two when you can’t decide. It’s a fancy way of saying you probably already have a gut feeling what to do, you just can’t or won’t acknowledge it. So if you pretend for a day or two that you have already decided to do X and see how you feel about it, Then try it again with option Y and option Z. One of them will feel right.

        As for how long before you should factor a relationship in… I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule for that (but wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could just say nope, 1 year is the magic time?). And it’s more of a sliding scale than a switch you flip where suddenly the relationship outweighs everything. You have to go with your gut here, not your heart or your head.

    • In my relationship with my now H, I had been in law school for about four months, and we had been dating about seven months. I was certain about where I wanted to move, post-law school, and I told him that I wanted to move there when I graduated. He was really resistant, so I didn’t nag at him or beg him, I just went on with school and did my summers in the city I planned and by the second summer, it was as if he had thought of the plan to move himself. I’m not sorry that I operated as if I was willing to leave, whether he was going with me or not. I told him that I wasn’t willing to stay in City X because that was never my plan, nor would it make me happy or make sense for my future. I hated to force him to make that type of decision but in the end, it was well worth standing up for what I knew would make me happy. I love my H, but I know we, as a couple, wouldn’t be as happy if we hadn’t moved where we are now. Plus, it means the world to me that he was willing to come with me.
      I feel like, at seven months in, you ought to be able to be honest with him about how you feel about your job and your desire to look elsewhere. Those conversations (and “big” stuff) are the kind that let you know how the relationship will go. I wouldn’t stick it out at Crappy Job, unless the commitment he demonstrates to you after you have that discussion with him is enough that you feel it is worth it to stay. (Much as my H felt it was worth it to come with me.)

    • law talking girl :

      I’m the boyfriend in your scenario. I’ve been dating a guy for 3 months and it is going VERY well, better than any other relationship I’ve ever had. He hates his job and wants to someday move back to his home state (especially as his mom gets older he wants to be there to take care of her). He has promised that any decision of that nature will involve me, and he has no immediate plans to move. But I just know that someday (maybe 1 or 2 years) I will have to choose whether to stay here and let him go or go with him and leave the only place that has ever felt like home to me.

  5. I’ll put in a plug for Exhale: Core Fusion Yoga. I like it a lot, does good things for my thighs, really opens up the IT band (which just feels good). Wouldn’t recommend it for someone who’s never done yoga before, though.

    • DVD link here:

    • It’s a great workout, but omg. I’ve only gone to a couple of the classes, and WOW they had parts to them that I literally just could not do. Not even one rep. One of these days I’m going to try to go regularly to see if I improve at them …

  6. Blonde Lawyer :

    For more caring for yourself tips, I have benefited a ton from regularly seeing a chiropractor, going to a meditation class, and as of recently, trying hypnosis to better deal with stress.

    • MlleCroissant :

      I’m so curious – how does the hypnosis work? Has it helped?

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I’ve only gone to one of three sessions so far. I am actually going to break a really gross habit (scalp picking) but to stop doing that, I have to first better manage my stress. The first session wasn’t 100% successful as I have major control issues and had some trouble turning myself over to someone and completely relaxing. However, even though I wasn’t the best “patient” I am already recognizing when I’m starting to get stressed and using the techniques I was taught to use. Basically, she had me do about a half hour of meditation with her first, not hypnotized. Then, while under hypnosis, she was going to put me in the meditative state. Then she would give me a short cut to use in the real world to get into that relaxed state. It involves a deep breath (about 6 seconds worth) hold for 2, out for 4 while saying to myself “I am calm.” That alone can be calming but it is supposed to trigger the calmness I felt in her office. I will report back after my next two sessions but I’m happy with it so far. Heck, it might be the placebo effect of spending this money to force myself to take care of myself but whatever works!

      • Another hypnosis fan here! My therapist takes a similar approach. We do talk therapy for about 30-45 minutes, talking through what I am focusing on. Then we do hypnosis — it is nothing like on a movie, at a grad party, or some stage at a state fair! I lay down, all comfy with a big blanket, and she guides me through imagery that is designed to relax the mind and body. I was a skeptic and not typically someone who would be drawn to this type of therapy, but I was so desperate for help that I tried it as a last resort. Three years later, I am a believer and frequently find myself encouraging others to try it out.

    • Always a NYer :

      I swear by acupuncture. Once you find a good practitioner, it is amazing how much it can help. Over the years it’s helped me with migraines, a shoulder injury, and lower back pain. I’m a big believer in alternative medicine if at all possible.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        How did you find a good acupuncturist? I’ve heard acupuncture can work wonders for tendonitis, so I’d like to give it a try next year.

        • Always a NYer :

          The best one I went to was a woman my mom found out about through word of mouth. One way to find someone in your area is to look up the nearest acupuncture school and call them for a recommendation as well as asking around with people you know.

          It can be a gamble though because when I moved and one was recommended to me by my really great acupuncturist, the new one was a quack. She left me on the table for over an hour with more than thirty needles covering my face, arms, abdomen, and legs. I was more p*ssed than anything and never went back to her but that could freak out someone new to acupuncture because you really can’t get off the table like that.

          I still swear by it but it takes a while to find a really good one. Once you do, you’ll never look back and it will be your cure-all for any ailment. Good luck in your search and be sure to let us know how it worked for you!

          • Assuming you’re in NYC, do you mind sharing the name of your accupuncturist?

          • Always a NYer :

            @AIMS – The acupuncturist I loved moved down to Kentucky to work with racehorses. Side story, she used to work at Belmont Racetrack doing acupuncture on the horses and the people and for the last few years, every horse she’s worked on has won the Belmont. Why I haven’t gone to the OTB with these tips, I don’t know.

            Anyway, she was on Long Island as is this other doctor I went to who was really good. Here’s her contact info.

            Q. (Nina) Liu L.Ac.
            Broadway Acupuncture, P.C.
            400 S Oyster Bay Road, Suite 205
            Hicksville, NY 11801
            Phone: 516-384-9076

          • Thanks!

        • A friend of mine is an acupuncturist in San Francisco – you can find her contact info at I haven’t been to her, but I know she’s knowledgeable and conscientious and wonderful, and if I were going to try acupuncture (which I probably will at some point) I would go directly to her.

    • Bostonian :

      For anyone in Boston, I HIGHLY recommend Acupuncture for Everyone. I see Anne Drogin, who is amazing and so warm and friendly too.

      • For anyone in the East Bay, I would go to Lisa at Indie Acupuncture. She is great and has a very calming presence.

      • Gooseberry :

        Boston here, I recommend Josh Summers. He’s brilliant. And friendly. And competent. And, and, and…! Happy to discuss more over email if you’d like. His webpage is: www [dot] joshsummers [dot] net.

      • For the Bostonians – any one have a good place they go for massages? I’ve tried a few places and always leave feeling good at the time, but haven’t found anywhere where that feeling lasts more than a few hours. The main goal is to combat my ever-present back pain.

        • anon in dc :

          any recommendations for the dc area??

          • I’ve had good luck for massage with the Massage Envy chain. They have a wide variety of therapists and I’ve liked everyone I’ve had.

          • sunrise-acupuncture dot com

        • Is it too gauche to recommend my H? Also Josh at The Healing Tree in Quincy is excellent.

        • Diana Barry :

          Boston Bodyworker is good. Very no-frills and the therapists specialize in sports massage – they do a lot of work around marathon time.

  7. karenpadi :

    I have a somewhat related threadjack: any advice for people starting yoga?

    I recently decided to leave my old workout behind and I’m thinking of trying yoga. I researched a few studios and there is one near my office that has a pretty good schedule and good reviews.

    What should I know? Should I go ahead and buy a yoga mat right away? What kind of shoes should I wear? What’s up with water? Some studios encourage water bottles and some say no water during class. Anything else?


    Also, I’m a huge believer in massage therapy. It’s so important to have a regular therapist who you trust. For anyone near San Jose, I highly recommend Astounding Massage Management.

    • I’d call the studio you’re going to try. They should be very friendly. If they aren’t, that’s a big read flag, IMHO. Let them know it’s going to be your first time doing yoga, and ask if they rent mats (my Bikram studios always do), whether to bring water, what to wear (including footwear), and if there’s anything else you should know.

      Go for it!

    • Doesn’t matter what kind of shoes, you take them off anyway. I say you might as well buy a yoga mat because you can use it for other things in life too :) Water depends on the temp and length of the class (and the studio, like you said).

    • found a peanut :

      Definitely buy a mat. They’re not that expensive and then you won’t need to use the gross ones at the studio. As for shoes, yoga is done barefoot, so just show up in whatever is comfortable to you.

      Also remember that some people practice yoga for years and you will not be able to do all the exercises the first time. Try to go to a beginner class at first or speak to the instructor beforehand so s/he knows you’re a newbie.

    • If the studio you’re interested in has a beginner series or Intro to Yoga, that’s a good place to start. Introduce yourself to the instructor at the beginning of class, let them know that you’ve never done yoga before, and tell them about any injuries (and if you’re pregnant, even early, some poses are counter-indicated). Traditionally, yogis don’t drink water during class while trying to build cleansing ‘inner heat’ – teachers have various degrees of adherence to this practice – but bring a water bottle for after class. You can probably rent a mat the first few times, though keep in mind, you’re putting your face where someone else’s stinky feet were. You’ll slip off your shoes before entering the studio, so I usually prefer flip-flops or clogs – something I don’t have to bend down and undo. I prefer that my clothing stay in place, especially during inversions like headstand, so you may be more comfortable in a form-fitting yoga top than in a old t-shirt which can flop down in your face. Have fun and remember to BREATHE!

    • Definitely try to go to a class especially for beginners. Most good yoga instructors will be able to run a class for various levels at once, but if you go to a class for beginners, the instructor will generally take a little more time to explain each position, how to breathe, how to use your chakras, etc. Plus, you will feel more comfortable asking questions. Take your water bottle – your first few classes (or months) you shouldn’t worry about the hardcore yogis and what they do, so drink a little water if you need to. Take a hoodie or long-sleeved top into the class with you – you may want to wear it while your muscles are getting warmed up and you should put it on again at the end during the last, regenerative postures when your body can lose a lot of heat. And please don’t go to Bikram’s.

      • No Bikram ever for anybody? Seems like a pretty extreme stance.

        • Bikram Teacher Law Student :

          Yeah. Bikram is pretty much the only way I find joy in my days at law school. It’s fine if Bikram is not for you but it is certainly life changing for some. I say try different styles and go with the one that resonates for you. Obviously I love Bikram and would recommend it to anyone. Just know it’s a bit intense and you probably have to give it a couple of classes before it starts to make sense.

        • No, no, I am not extreme, and yes, some people like Bikram. There is nothing wrong with that. But for someone just starting out with yoga, it doesn’t really teach you anything. It is kind of like a go-go-go cardio class, and to my mind doesn’t capture the spirit of what yoga is all about. It’s great exercise but probably not great for a beginner who is learning about what their body can and cannot do.

          • Ehhhhh, agree to disagree. Different people need different things out of yoga. Whether it teaches you something–guess that depends on what you’re looking to learn. I got a lot of learnin’ out of Bikram (learning focus, learning to push myself, learning to accept myself (sometimes you just have crap days where your head’s just not in it)). You may not learn downward dog, but doing new poses in other types of yoga feels very natural to me after having done Bikram.

            But, I also am one of those people who wouldn’t enjoy a yoga class in which the instructor talks about your chakra, and/or everything is very quiet, slow, and soothing. That’s probably why the only yoga DVDs I own are Exhale Core Fusion Flow and Rodney Yee’s Power Yoga – Total Body Workout.

            I just hate discouraging anybody from trying any one particular type of yoga without knowing more about what they’re looking for and what they hope to get out of it.

    • Take a beginner class or ask which classes are good for a beginner. If the instructor is good, you should always know what you are supposed to be doing, just by listening to him or her. You might keep an eye out for an Iyengar class — they spend a lot of time on each pose so you really learn what you are supposed to be doing.

      I would wait to get a mat, so you know more of what to look for. I learned that I have sweaty hands, so wanted a mat that is really sticky so I didn’t slide during downward dog.

      And congrats! I always hated yoga but started going to a great studio 1.5 years ago for stress release and have become a regular! Still consider myself a beginner though….

    • I think yoga classes/studios are kind of like therapists, or massage therapists. They’re all different, have different styles and classes and other participants have different personalities. Plan to check out a few different ones and a few different kinds of classes to find one that feels right to you. Many studios have a deal or discount on your first class with them for this very reason.

      And it’s always a good idea to talk to the teacher before the first class with them, tell them you’re brand new to yoga and you’d like some extra help, and tell them what your problem areas on your body are: back problems, bad knees, etc, so they can be sure to keep an eye on you and make sure you aren’t pushing any poses too far.

      • another anon :

        I agree that you should plan on checking out at least 2-3 different instructors. I may get some flack for this, but I have found that there is a wide variation in the amount of woo-woo kookiness that goes along with the yoga, and personally, I prefer an instructor that focuses on the poses and doesn’t talk a lot about “energy” or “chakras” or say things in the middle of class that are scientifically incorrect. As a scientist, this really irks me and leaves me feeling annoyed for the rest of the class, which kind of ruins the whole thing for me. (As an example, I once had an instructor say “relax your lymph nodes.” Um, what? And I recently had a substitute teacher in a class that said that your vertebrae *only* get nourishment from your body when you are arching/rounding your back. Uh, no.). And I personally am not a big fan of chanting–it just doesn’t do much for me. But, on the other hand, I recognize that other people may actually like these aspects of yoga, and are better off with instructors that have this type of focus. Basically, my point is that there is a lot of variation, and it may take a few tries to find someone who is right for you as a yoga instructor.

        • THANK YOU. I wanted to comment with something like this but wasn’t sure how to word it articulately.

        • I couldn’t agree more! It really annoyed and distracted me when my former yoga teacher would tell me to “breathe through my toes.” I know it’s supposed to be metaphorical, but I just can’t get past stuff like that sometimes.

          • Heh! One of my earlier teachers, in a university gym class (not the best place to learn or practice yoga) told me that there was ‘not enough energy in my feet’ and subsequently gave me a B in the course (the only B on my grad school transcript!).

            Funny thing is that five years later, after consistent practice, I understand what she meant. While some of these yoga teachers’ statement may seem woo-woo or metaphorical, they can make their own kind of sense in context.

        • exactly! This is what I meant by different personalities, and for a while I thought I just didn’t like yoga. But then I realized I just didn’t like the instructor I had, and when I found one that clicked, I absolutely love it.

        • I am taking a break from number crunching to read this, and I am laughing out loud like a crazy woman in my office about relaxing my lymph nodes and breathing through my toes. I would never make it though a woo-woo yoga class without, uh, giggling through my nose (otherwise known as snorting.)

          I live in Berkeley, so of course I have taken yoga classes, but not for over 10 years and my issue at the time was how freaking stinky everyone was. This was before yoga was as mainstream as it is now so my fellow classmates were really serious hippie types.

          A yoga at home CD sounds much better to me.

          • I took a restorative class in San Francisco (Spring Pilates in Noe- highly recommend it) and it took me quite a few sessions to avoid getting the giggles because of the dialogue. Also, once there was a man who just totally passed out- snoring like a bear! The room is quite dark so I like to think that no one could see me silently cracking up. I’m apparently too immature for yoga!

    • karenpadi :

      Thanks all! I am going to give them a call.

  8. Kat – Maybe you would have better balance if you did yoga!

    • I have allergy/sinus issues and my balance is horrible when my allergies are acting up. I go to yoga regularly and when my sinuses are clear, I have no problems, but when they aren’t, it’s near impossible.

    • As a yoga teacher, this is the kind of thing that makes me so sad to hear. “I can’t do yoga because I’m stiff.” That’s exactly why you would probably benefit from a yoga practice.

      • I have heard that same thing from other yoga teachers. Because of knee surgery (nerve damage) and a torn ligament in the other knee, I was unable to kneel and a person I know who teaches yoga told me that it would help me get back to being able to kneel. Instead I decided to try weights and it’s made a huge difference for me. I no longer need any knee braces, even when I exercise, and I no longer have problems standing for long periods of time. And I feel so strong. I’ve heard that ideally one should do all three – cardio, weights and yoga, but with the amount of time I already spend exercising in a week (now around 9 hours), I don’t think I could add one more thing. Otherwise I’d give it a try!

        • Chances are, depending on your body and your injuries, no one single thing (or exercise or therapy modality) is going to fix every condition and then also be your exclusively maintenance for life. Don’t let anybody’s ridiculous marketing claims convince you otherwise (certain yoga celebrities, who I won’t name, are notorious for this).

          Yoga is great. I’ve been practicing yoga for more than 15 years and teaching for 6. But yoga didn’t prevent me from needing back surgery.

      • Yeah, but the problem is, you need to find an instructor that is willing to spend time helping you with variations so you can work on your body’s problem. And, honestly, I have gone to classes with instructors that are barely paying attention to the participants. When I first started, I just didn’t know what to do if a pose hurt, or I couldn’t figure out how to do it. There are a lot of ‘meh’ instructors out there. And after a bunch of those it’s kind of amazing when you find a great instructor and see the difference.

      • KE, is there anything you CAN’T do? You’re awesome!

  9. I want to put in a plug for yoga as a healthful and positive habit, especially for people who work long hours. I have taken classes for 15 years, and I believe that goals of yoga can be summarized in these three words: Strength, Flexibility and Balance. And most of us need more of those three things (both physically and emotionally.)

    Advice on practical things: Don’t feel as if you have to wear fancy yoga clothes; I see a lot of loose T-shirts and sweats (though yoga pants are super-comfy). Visit a couple of studios, if you can, and try a few classes at each. Don’t get too hung up on the style of yoga (hatha, vinyasa, etc.) – just attend a few classes and see what you like because the teacher is the most important part.

    In addition to yoga, I do a few other classes at different places (Zumba and Pilates), and now when I try something new I pay individually for each class for at least a month instead of buying a package. For me, it turned out to be a false economy to get a package of seven but only use four classes.

    Be aware that yoga has a religious basis, and many classes will include chanting or meditation. I am lousy at meditation (I am always thinking: “What’s for dinner?”) but it does not bother me. Not everyone likes it, though, and those folks seem happier in yoga classes at health clubs, where that part of the yoga practice is not emphasized as much.

    And finally, I want to say that I’ve only been reading Corporette for a few months but have been very impressed with this community. I am a lurker by nature, but I recently read “Nice Girls just Don’t Get It,” (sort of a variation on the NGDGTCO book that is familiar to many people here) and Lois Frankel says to contribute to online communities instead of lurking, so this is me, contributing.

    • This is great advice. And, so glad you’re contributing!
      I also can’t seem to focus during meditation, but accepting that fact has made it much easier. Now, even if I am not “meditating,” I can still sort of just let my mind unplug whereas before I would try so f*ing hard to meditate, it actually stressed me out.

      • my attitude too! :

        This made me laugh, and agree! I suck at relaxation… any time I try to get a massage, I’m always thinking about making sure I’m in the “right” position for the therapist to reach me, or “trying” to relax. When they try to get me to relax my head for a neck massage, I keep worrying that my head will be too heavy, so I should hold it up. FAIL. Epic relaxation fail! I could never get into Yoga, it just moves too slow for me. That probably says something about me… but I haven’t slowed down enough to contemplate it! Argh, I’ll think about it when I retire :)

        • Try Ashtanga! It will keep you moving, and the difficulty will still your mind as you contemplate how to get into and out of the crazy poses.

    • Welcome! I think contributing is great. Sometimes people get miffed when other people disagree strongly but that’s why i find it such good practice- people might be having these reactions to you or something youve done in real life and just not telling you. Also good practice to just give your opinion without feeling real world pressure to ‘soften blows’ which is a habit I have.

    • If the bhakti (devotion to god) aspect of yoga is a turn-off to anyone, keep in mind a few things:

      – asana, the physical practice of moving through different postures, and what most people go to classes for, is just one of 8 aspects or parts of yoga.

      – you don’t have to practice or believe in any religion to get the benefit of an asana practice.

      – the first “rule” of yoga is non-harming, which a lot of people interpret not only as refraining from harming others, but also from harming yourself. Don’t do, or let anyone make you do, anything you’re not comfortable with physically or emotionally or spiritually or otherwise.

    • I am a consummate lurker but with this group it’s different, isn’t it?

      I disagree re. loose-fitting clothes for yoga. Yoga pants are not meant to be loose, and for good reason: imagine raising your legs and having the pant hems slide down and bunch up. Likewise, an inverted pose in a loose top will leave you more exposed than you want.
      I’d say, the ideal fit for yoga is… “loose-clinging”?

  10. This has been my attitude as well! I’ve never read Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It, but I figured after lurking here for a couple of years that if I derived this much enjoyment and benefit from reading other people’s comments, that I should try to contribute something. So, I started commenting occasionally, even though I, too, am a lurker by nature. Welcome!

    • Welcome (and to you too, PM)! I read this site for a year or so before I started commenting/contributing (although sometimes “contribute” is a strong word for what I add to the conversation…). But once I did, I became even more invested in the women here.

    • Little Lurker :

      Me, too. ;)

  11. If you have sweaty feet like me, you can get yoga socks that have little grippers on the bottoms (and mine also are five toes rather than being like normal socks). I couldn’t do yoga without them!

    • I didn’t know these existed. This just might convince me to give yoga a serious try. I’ve bought two mats (thinking that the first wasn’t sticky enough) that I use when I do yoga videos at home, but my feet *always* slipped back or out from under me during downward-dog and I would get so frustrated that it made me want to quit.

      Just as an aside, the P90X Yoga X video was the hardest workout I had ever done in my life. And I was a college athlete. After that video I quickly realized that yoga was not chanting “ommm” and slightly stretching.

      • Pink on Black :

        For a yoga mat, I (and many, many others) highly recommend a Manduka mat. There are various types, I use the prolite. Once it’s seasoned it’s pretty non-slip.

        You’ve inspired me to check out P90X…hmm…

      • Agreed! I do P90x and the yoga routine was by far the hardest DVD for me – despite the fact that I am flexible and have great balance. The only down side is that it is 1.5 hours of yoga. Who has that kind of time!

        • That was definitely the hardest p90x workout. I’d be dripping sweat ten minutes in, and sure my muscles were literally in flames by about twenty minutes in. I never managed to wake up early enough to do the full 1.5 hours before work, but sometimes I’d split it up and do the moving positions (vinyasas?) in the morning, then the balance poses after work. Probably not as efficient or beneficial as doing the video straight through, but at least I did it that way.

          On another note, the stretching routine might be the best thing I’ve ever done for my body, and I find myself popping it in whenever I’ve had a stressful week at work and it feels like my shoulders have relocated to somewhere above my ears. Feels like I got a massage by the time I’m done.

  12. My feelings exactly. I need to shower every morning to wake up. But, I usually only rise most of me and only use soap on the necessary areas, usually skipping my arms and legs.

  13. What a fantastic idea – I think I will order this DVD. It sounds perfect for nighttime when it’s almost time for bed and I’m having trouble winding down.

  14. I just need to say that I am so so glad that I have a yoga practice. I think it is going to save me from dying at my desk. Really. It calms me down in a way that running does not and cannot. I don’t think I could survive as a lawyer without it.

  15. You might want to try getting a yogitoes skidless instead of a yoga mat. One of these might help in several ways (1) they prevent skidding, which makes it easier to focus on the pose without worrying about slipping, which is really helpful when you are just beginning (2) they are washable, which is hugely important especially if you try some heated classes (where you will sweat a ton) (3) while you’re trying out a bunch of studios (and I definitely agree with that suggestion), some of which you may go to directly to/from work, you can toss a yogitoes along with your workout clothes in a backpack or workout bag, the yogitoes will provide a personal (and washable) layer between you and a rented mat, and you’re not carrying the mat you will be lying on, pressing your face to, etc., around on busy city streets and even public transportation (ewww!). Finally, enjoy the practice! I’ve been practicing consistently for 18 months now, and yoga has made my biglaw-crazy life survivable.

  16. karenpadi :

    Thanks for the yoga advice!

    I know it’s late, but I think men need a “Corporette” too. We had two male staff from out of state visiting one of our clients today. This client is a very well known Silicon Valley tech company that practically invented business casual.

    They showed up in suits.

    I don’t think overdressing would normally be a problem but this company’s business casual atmosphere has been widely reported on over the years and even more recently. I think it leaves the impression that these men don’t care enough to fit in or to educate themselves about this company’s culture. Thoughts?

    • I get your point, but if you are in a service industry, you don’t get to dress the way your client dresses, at least not the first time out of the box. Even if the client is well-known for its dress code. There is no way I would show up at my client’s office dressed casually, unless the client gave me an explicit instruction. You aren’t in the same position as your client, so trying to fit in doesn’t make sense. But I am basing this on being a lawyer and coming from the position of someone in a service industry — it may be different in other scenarios.

    • Really? I showed up at client sites where the dress was casual in suits not because I didn’t care about their culture but out of respect. Just because they were allowed to wear casual clothing to their offices didn’t mean I was entitled to do the same…

    • anon consultant :

      I disagree with you. I always showed up in suits when I was a management consultant, even if the client was casual. It’s sort of like an interview, people expect the consultants, auditors etc to be in suits (at least at first).

  17. Hugo Boss Jewelry :

    I was in a Hugo Boss store while traveling this weekend (there isn’t one in my hometown) and there was a beautiful thick chain necklace on one of the mannequins and in a display case. I didn’t have time to ask to have it taken out, etc. so I figured I’d just find it online. Problem is, I can’t find it on their website – the website seems so confusing and I don’t know if this necklace was boss black, orange, green…?! Can anyone help me find this somehow?

  18. My fiance is a grad student (I’m a lawyer) and his advisor’s holiday party is coming up soon. I feel like we should bring something since the prof & his wife are welcoming us into their home & providing a lot of food. But my fiance says nobody brings anything and we would be really weird if we did. Can anyone in academia help me out?

    • You can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine. I don’t think it’s expected, the way it would be if you were having dinner with peers, but it’s always a nice gesture. I had a parallel dilemma in the first month of my job – the university president invited the new faculty to his place for dinner. What to do? What to take? I took a bottle of wine. I don’t think anyone else did, but, like I said, it’s a nice gesture.

      • Agreed. I’m not in academia, but my mom was for about 30 years. A bottle of wine is always appreciated.

    • When I was a grad student I would have brought something – and would have been the only one to do so. And now, as a jr. prof, I can report that some students bring something (typically the female students or the international students) and many do not (especially the American male students – sorry for the stereotypes here).

      My view is that just because many people in academia do not follow social protocol, does not mean that I have to be a rude guest. So, if it were me, I would bring something (wine, chocolates, flowers, etc). Trust me, the prof and his wife will notice the thoughtfulness and appreciate it.

      You won’t be seen as weird. You will be seen as thoughtful and polite.

  19. Coat length threadjack–

    I bought the J. Crew Plaza coat (link to follow) a week or two ago during one of the endless promos. I’m a fairly recent grad living in a generally warm climate, so I’ve never had much need for a “nice” winter coat, but it’s gotten really cold here that I think a coat would be nice to keep me from ever being tempted to walk through the parking garage swaddled in my emergency blankets from my car.

    Here’s my question–what’s an appropriate length for a coat like this? I tried it on today when I got home from work (capitalizing on those 30 seconds from the time I get home until I’m out of my work clothes and into yoga pants) to see how it looked with my skirt suit. My skirt hit right in the middle of my kneecap and the coat was about 4-5″ shorter than that. Is that weird? The coat is a sort of light grey/beige and my skirt was dark grey, so I felt like I was trying to colorblock, or like my skirt was playing “peekaboo.” I only wear skirts and dresses, so the fact that J. Crew models every. single. one. of their coats with pants doesn’t help me figure this out.

    I’m just totally lost on what’s the right length. Should it be shorter than, but closer to 2″ of my skirt? Longer than my skirt, even if that looks a little like a trench-coat-surprise? As equal as possible?

    • Plaza coat link:

      Apparently it’s no longer listed online, but here’s the catalog shot. Also, I now see in the catalog that they do actually model some skirts/dresses with the wool coats, but they all seem to be the casual, too-short-for-work ones, so I’m not sure if those are valid examples.

    • I think either as equal as possible, or such a length that it definitely looks like you’re intending for it to be different lengths.

    • I think you’re overthinking it. If you like the coat, it fits you well and there are functional pockets, you’re good, especially since you’re not going to wear it that often.

  20. I value the post.Much thanks again. Will read on…

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