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Coping with uncertainty with ‘Yoga with Adriene’

Adriene Mishler of 'Yoga with Adriene'
Adriene Mishler of ‘Yoga with Adriene’
(Lauren Logan Photography/Lauren Logan Photography)

It’s not an easy time in the world. The days are filled with turmoil and an underlying sense of hopelessness and uncertainty that permeates every corner of life.

In addition to the battle against Covid-19 and the overwhelming effects of the pandemic, like the economic ramifications and the politicizing of the virus itself, we’re also dealing with issues of racial inequality and the protests that have ensued because of it.

In short, things feel very messy. And we’ve all had to live with it. We’ve all had to learn to become comfortable in the discomfort.

It’s important to find structure in the midst of chaos. And it’s important to take care of ourselves – our minds, our bodies and our souls. In the early days of the stay-at-home order, I realized that in order to survive each day, I needed to create a routine for myself.

I’d wake up at a decent hour (usually), go for a walk around my Hillcrest neighborhood and then come home, move my ottoman out of the way to make some space in my tiny living room (my rule is, once the ottoman moves, there’s no turning back), unroll my yoga mat and focus, just for the moment, on the things I could control: my movements, my breathing, my mind.

Thanks to the YouTube app on my Roku player, I discovered a whole world of YouTube yoga instructors, each one vying for my time (and views). But for me, none rose to the level of Adriene Mishler of “Yoga with Adriene” fame.

Adriene Mishler of 'Yoga with Adriene'
Adriene Mishler of ‘Yoga with Adriene’
(Lauren Logan Photography/Lauren Logan Photography)

I discovered Mishler through social media. Quarantine had shed new light on ways to practice self-care at home. I noticed a number of friends posting about how “Yoga with Adriene” was getting them through quarantine and took notice.

And I was a little late to the party. According to her website, “‘Yoga with Adriane’ was recognized by Google as the most searched workout of 2015, was recognized by the Wall Street Journal and was awarded a Steamy in Health and Wellness in 2016.”

In addition to being one of social media’s biggest yoga instructors, Mishler is also an actress, writer and entrepreneur. She films her yoga sessions in her Austin, Texas home. Her home studio set-up is comfortable and approachable with a rustic charm, much like Mishler herself. Her dog Benji is often planted in the studio, dozing off steps away from her mat while Mishler leads the practice. She’s stationed in front of a window that looks out onto leafy green trees. Her studio is filled with plants and flowers and books and solid hardwood floors that creak, which she frequently apologizes for.

It’s a no-frills set-up that makes it clear that the yogis who follow her don’t need a fancy studio or the latest trendy gear. All are welcome on the mat during “Yoga with Adriene” and Mishler is your affable yogi-next-door whose dulcet-toned voice will wash away your worries, at least momentarily.

Mishler doesn’t put on airs. She’s funny and self-deprecating, often cracking jokes throughout the practice. Her hair is thrown in a messy bun or braid, and her yoga uniform mostly consists of tanks or tees and multi-colored leggings that look like they could be found in anyone’s closet. Mishler isn’t trying to be the perfect yoga teacher or have the perfect practice. She embraces her flaws and encourages viewers to do so as well.

Such is the “Yoga with Adriene” brand. It’s an inclusive space for all levels of yogi in a relaxed atmosphere. Even the “Yoga with Adriene” logo is thoughtful and on-brand, with long, lean lines that stretch and curve like a yogi’s leg in three-legged dog.

"Yoga with Adriene" logo.

In short, Mishler doesn’t seem like the type of person who has over 920K Instagram followers (@adrienelouise) or an astounding 7.2 million YouTube subscribers (@YogawithAdriene).

Her mission, according to her website, is to provide “high quality practices on yoga and mindfulness at no cost to inspire people of all ages, shapes and sizes across the globe.” She’s devised yoga practices for just about everyone and everything: Yoga for Nurses, Yoga for Writers, Yoga for Chefs, Yoga for Risk Takers, Yoga for the Service Industry, Yoga for Back Pain, Yoga for Beginners, Yoga for Weight Loss, Yoga for Vulnerability, etc.

All of these are in addition to her 30 Days of Yoga, which was the series that originally got me hooked. Videos are also organized by length, so finding a quick 10-minute or a more involved 30 to 45 minute practice is easy. The channel also contains curated playlists, community resources like monthly calendars and more, all provided free of charge to subscribers. For those hoping for more in-depth guides, the premium platform, Find What Feels Good, offers a series of wellness workshops and exercises that focus on, yes, yoga, but also meditation and other practices, plus access to a global community of Mishler devotees.

While I’m normally someone who enjoys a weekly yoga class in a studio, I’m hoping that post-lockdown, my “Yoga with Adriene” habit continues. The world will, undoubtedly, continue to be a scary place at times. How freeing it is to know that at any time, I can move my ottoman out of the way, unroll my mat and take control of my mental health and well-being, all from the comfort of my tiny living room.


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