Photos of Jill Knouse + Thoughts on Being a Yogi

It was about 3 years ago when I decided to throw in the proverbial towel on a regular gym membership in search of a yoga studio to call home. In the months I spent making whores of various studios through Groupon and Living Social deals, I ended up at a CorePower C3 class with none other than one Jill Knouse in the house.

There are very few yoga instructors of whom I can remember details from the first time I took their class. My first class with Jill happens to be a memorable one. Because that is the day I learned it’s possible to feel the urge to puke whilst doing yoga.

And the masochistic side of me loved it.

Jill’s class clarified for me that 60 minutes of gut wrenching yoga was entirely more fun, dynamic, and HARDCORE than 60 minutes on a treadmill (or realistically, for me, 30 minutes because running in place is just. so. boring.).

I imagine most people would not associate the word ‘yoga’ with the word ‘hardcore.’

Isn’t yoga supposed to be meditative and calming and make one feel at peace with the world? Well, yes. But once you’re upside down with your legs in a pretzel and blood rushing to your head and your instructor telling you to BREATHE when you feel like you’re going to DIE, things start to feel a little more ‘hardcore.’

Solution found for adrenaline junkie gym rat boredom.

Fast forward a few years and I now know the point of the whole damn thing is to be relaxed when you feel like you might die. It’s a physical metaphor for life.

And let me tell you how empowering it is on the day when you’re upside down in one fashion or another, realize you’re breathing evenly, maybe even smiling a little, and not imagining 143 ways to murder your instructor.

Progress in yoga is easy to come by, and it’s the little things that are ultimately the most rewarding. Like when down dog finally becomes a resting pose — no one even knows but you!

I think it’s safe to say at this point that you probably won’t ever find me hanging around a 24 Hour Fitness again. Those gyms just don’t come with life lessons.

However, at 29 years old, I still haven’t gotten the lesson on not being intimidated walking into a skate park full of dudes on boards. I thought that weird teenage insecurity would have gone away by now, but apparently it’s still hanging around.

However, I don’t generally let a little anxiety stand in the way of a great shot (or anything I really want for that matter).

So, for our final setup, Jill and I wandered into the Burnside Skate Park and asked the boys if they’d be part of our project. They were confused at first – why did we want yoga photos in a skate park? – but they got into it and started taking shots on their respective smart phones, as well.

Thank you, Jill, for the yoga AND the fantastic photo sesh. You’ve saved me from a lifetime of lame treadmill running!