I Tried Yoga Every Day Like Jonathan Van Ness & Here's How My Week Went
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Fans look to Jonathan Van Ness for advice in practically every aspect of their lives. From hair inspo to tips for staying positive, the Queer Eye star has no shortage of wisdom. So, when I found out Jonathan Van Ness does yoga every day, I tried it for a week, because I basically trust him with my life.
If you're wondering how JVN makes time for yoga every single day with his busy schedule, it comes down to a very simple, very yogic answer: balance. In a 2019 interview with LA Yoga, Van Ness explained how he manages it:
One of the things I had to learn through practice was to balance out my compulsive need to do yoga. I learned how to accept that even a 20 minute practice, when I don’t have time to do anything else, can make a significant impact.
With that in mind, I began my one-week yoga journey. Luckily, I didn't have to seek out a new studio to get my stretching on. Yoga is easy enough to do at home; plus, I had easy access to classes: About five or six days a week, I go to a workout class called SPENGA, which is 60 minutes long, broken up into three sections: spin, strength, and yoga. However, I don't often stick around for the yoga portion, which is always the last 20 minutes of the class. I would often say I just didn't have time for the stretching segments and leave the class early. But that was about to change.
According to his numerous videos, JVN is into both vinyasa (yoga flow) and asanas (posture and pose), so his practices differ a bit each day. That was lucky for me, since I didn't have a dedicated routine to stick to, so I was able to try out a range of different yoga poses and practices throughout my week. Here's how it all went:
After hyping myself up to stay in the SPENGA class for the full hour, I was a bit in my head about doing the yoga portion. But even though I was feeling anxious, my hips were aching badly after the spin and strength workouts, so I was thrilled to get some much-needed stretching time in.
While I was familiar with some of the poses, like the Downward Dog, it was initially hard for me to feel graceful while going from one pose to the next. Because of that, I felt a bit awkward, before realizing everyone in the class was focused on themselves and not worried about how I was doing. I lost my balance a couple times trying to get deeper into a Warrior II Pose, but I redeemed myself when I conquered the Tree Pose.
After a long day of work, I was very much looking forward to an evening yoga session at SPENGA. I used the lesson I learned from the day before — aka getting out of my own head and letting the instructors do their job — and it really helped. I felt relaxed, my hip soreness was gone, and I was able to focus on my breathing, something I haven't done at all since 2020 began.
I made it a point to note how my body felt before and after each pose. I noticed a huge difference in my back and shoulders, which are normally super-tight, but after this practice, they felt less heavy.
On this day, I had to rush home to start work and couldn't stay stay for the yoga portion for my class. However, I found myself scrolling through JVN's Instagram feed during my lunch break later in the day. Luckily, he has a variety of at-home yoga videos on his feed. I picked three that looked easy enough to follow, and got to work setting up a zen space.
I set up my mat close to a window for a little added relaxation and spent 30 minutes getting my namaste on. Using JVN's videos as a guide, I followed his poses and flows, spending extra time on the more difficult moves.
When I returned to my desk, I felt like I had freed my mind instead of bogging it down with social media like I usually do, and it put me in a positive mood for the rest of the day.
By this point, I'd actually begun feeling the benefits of yoga before even stepping onto my mat. I woke up with a clear mind, and my normally stiff body actually felt somewhat flexible. Admittedly, I was not exactly looking forward to my yoga time, since this was the day out of the week I double up on my SPENGA strength and cardio workouts. But, I stuck with my commitment to doing the workouts and the yoga, and I'm glad I did. After two intense sweat sessions, I decided to especially focus on breathing and meditation during my time on the yoga mat. As I went through the practice, I remembered something Van Ness spoke to GQ about in 2018:
So much of our lives and what we experience as emotions is chemicals in our brain ... We don’t know how powerful we are ... If you’re really, really busy and you just do not have any time for yourself, if you just turn your phone off and go away from everyone — whether it’s mindfulness practice or just breathing.
This yoga session really helped put me in a peaceful mood for the rest of my night, which led to a *perfect* eight hours of sleep.
“Anyone that wants to get into yoga, I always encourage them to remember that it’s really not about the poses or the way it looks, it’s about the way that it feels," Van Ness told Us Weekly in 2018. I used this quote to set up my practice for Day 5. I checked out a handful of Van Ness' yoga videos and put my own spin on them. Though I could not keep up with all his epic handstands and tricks, I did my best.
I started with a 15-minute flow session, combining the stretches I learned in the previous days, including Downward Dog, Child's Pose, Triangle Pose, Cat Pose, Pigeon Pose, and the Seated Forward Bend. After that, I attempted to follow along with Van Ness' moves in the video below:
All went well until the jumping handstand, which I definitely couldn't do. But I made it work, modifying the move by using a wall for support, and I still felt extremely powerful being able to lift myself up. With a slight bend in my back leg, I was even able to do the splits stretches with my legs in the air, just like Van Ness. Even though I only spent five minutes following his moves, I felt a surge of confidence. I concluded the day's practice with an additional 10 minutes of the stretches I started the session with.
Since it was my day off work, I decided to use Day 6 to try morning yoga. Around the 50-second mark in the below video, Van Ness explains he believes in breathing with mantras; for him, that includes giving himself a compliment so he can start his day with something positive, so that's exactly what I did. I made it my goal to focus on my mindset instead of worrying about getting any of the poses right, and it felt wonderful.
For my final day, I decided to attend an actual, full-length yoga class. After almost a full week of practice, I was feeling extremely confident in my body, and the poses were much easier for me than they were on the first day. Even more revelatory, my mind was more open and wasn't wandering as much.
In short, I feel amazing after seven days of yoga. I found balance in my mental and physical state, and I feel more alert. More so, I have a better understanding of how my mind wanders when I'm anxious and what I can do to control it. On top of that, learning to focus on my breathing was key, and I now feel more in-tune with taking deep breaths not only during yoga or working out, but in my everyday life. Plus, consistently taking time out of the day for a nice, long yoga stretch has relieved some of my body aches, and my posture has truly benefitted from it, as I've noticed myself slouching less.
I'll definitely be taking yoga more seriously now that I've felt the true benefits of it. I can see myself doing at least four days of yoga every week. But let's be serious, I probably won't ever conquer those intense poses Van Ness does on the daily — and I'm absolutely OK with that, henny.