Adriene Mishler and her dog, Benji.
WHO IS ADRIENE MISHLER?
While this article won’t provide you with a clear cut formula for staying fit during the COVID 19 lockdown of 2020, I assume many of you are feeling the effects of your long weekend and looking for some inner peace. With this in mind, our passion-driven lifestyle recommendation may be just what you need. This is the story of how Adriene Mishler, an “influencer” using social media and her youtube channel to make the currently broken world a better place, changed my perspective on exercising and brought some light to my quarantine. Adriene Mishler is the brilliant mind behind Yoga With Adriene, an online Yoga class that is centered around her understanding that “Yoga is really the art of waking up.”
My family is what you might call “quirky” or “different.” While I had a stellar childhood, certain things were just a little off. My sister tried her first hamburger at age 7 and I still, at 24, have a legitimate phobia of velcro that I can’t pinpoint to any one memory. The point being, when we go on vacation, it is always somewhere that is “quirky” or “different” in its own right like Laos or Marfa, Texas.
Myself and my sister on a family trip to Laos in 2013.
I love my family for this, but I’ll admit that our aversion to normalcy has created a perhaps irrational disdain for particular things–walking tours specific to architecture, boats without windows, and until very recently, yoga. I can close my eyes and feel the Nicaraguan heat scorching my half dozen bug bites as an ex-pat pushes down on my slanted back telling me to relax. If you know me, telling me to relax is the equivalent of giving me a Red Bull, so no inner peace has been achieved in these yogic experiences.
Maybe I should have held off on hamburgers until I was 7 because somehow my sister adores these tours, has no nautical tribulations, and is now a certified, bonafide yoga teacher who I imagine having trained under wise gurus a lá Eat Pray Love who taught her valuable lessons in utter silence. When I visited my sister in Berlin where she lived last, I was lucky enough to land the day she was teaching a class out of her Kreitzberg apartment. I was impressed, but embarrassingly fell asleep towards the end– fully shivasana’d. Yet another sign that, despite being an advocate for meditation, Yoga just wasn’t for me.
My sister, Camila, flexing her zen at James Turrell’s House of Light.
So why am I writing on Yoga if I’ve hated it up until this point? I admittedly have an addictive personality, but thankfully have learned to use it in my favor as I grow up. For example, discovering that the Brentwood YMCA had a steam room was enough to get me hooked on working out 4 days a week, and the incredible Unplug instructor who leads “Manifesting Abundance” on Wednesday mornings got me hooked on her 45-minute sessions after one drop in. When quarantine went into full effect, these healthy vices were ripped out from underneath me and I began to itch for something to fill the void. Grasping at thin air, I half-jokingly ask my housemate if we should “rinse yoga some time” in a brief lapse in egoic repetition. After 2 minutes of research on abs focused classes, I found a 20-minute video that called to me.
Alas, here it is:
*Cue that noise that they play in Hollywood films when the gates of heaven open or an angel comes down from the sky*
“Hi everyone, welcome to Yoga With Adriene, I’m Adriene and this is Benji!”
The video starts out with Adriene, seemingly the nicest woman ever, greeting you in a calming voice while hugging her adorable pup. Within 2 minutes, I’m deeply in love in a way that I haven’t felt in years–kind of like that love experienced when you have a crush on your third-grade teacher and you’re literally 8 years old. By the end of the session, I’m laughing, no… giggling to myself. I get it now… I get why we did it on vacation, I get why my sister trained so hard for this, I think I just get it.
I’m sure it remains true that yoga is not for everyone, but keep in mind I’ve repeatedly voiced that yoga wasn’t for me, citing “my limbs are just too long” or “it’s boring” as my rationale. Adriene has the practice and promotion down to a T, allowing her viewers to work at their own pace and from the confines of their own homes. I have miraculously succeeded in dedicating myself to the practice, picking one of her videos based on my mood or the amount of free time I have with her reminder that stepping foot on the mat every day is the goal in itself. Unlike other high profile internet celebrities, I truly feel that Adriene would find joy in knowing she’s improved the lives of those who found her channel. This joy fuels her mission and after reviewing numerous interviews on the matter, I refuse to believe her character is anything but authentic.
I can touch my toes again. I’m running faster. I’m sleeping better. I love it. Yoga With Adriene is everything good about the internet era and I’m well aware that I’m not the first to say this; she has nearly 7.5 million subscribers on Youtube and there are numerous accounts of her saving/changing/improving her viewers’ lives. I love how Adriene makes fun of herself when she slips up. I love how she improvises “quirky” and “different” pop culture references in her sessions. I love how Benji sits so calmly, almost hypnotized by her very presence. I love how I feel when I mutter “Namaste” under my breath after finishing one of her videos, not having spent a cent or left the house. Goddammit, I love Yoga with Adriene.
TLDR; I used to hate yoga because I associated it with architecture tours and then whilst quarantined I tried Yoga With Adriene on a whim and it shook my world. I can touch my toes again.