Wherever you look, there will always be an article telling you why yoga is good for you and why you should do yoga. That’s all well and good, except sometimes, yoga just isn't the answer for you right now. It can be hard to see why when everything else is telling you to go for it, so here are some reasons why you should NOT be doing yoga.
1. Acute, Chronic Injury
Yoga is not a not a cure-all to any and all of your ailments, nor is it a substitute for medical or therapeutic treatment. This is especially true when you have just had a surgical procedure, have persistent joint pain or grave injury. Take the time to let your body heal, and always, always get clearance from your doctor before you get back on the mat.
2. Because You Only Want To Become Bendy
Yes, yoga definitely helps increase flexibility, but it’s only one of the many benefits you’ll get from a regular practice. While yoga is a great way to open up tight hamstrings, shoulders, and hips, you'll find that in all poses, there are also other elements being worked (like core strength and balance). There are no isolated benefits in your asana practice, and your goal in yoga will shift over time as you become more aware of your body and what it truly needs.
3. Because You Look Awesome In Yoga Pants
Doing yoga simply because you want to show off your body in a place where it's socially acceptable to wear stretchy clothes is not a good enough reason to do yoga, and won’t keep you going when your practice gets challenging. Check your ego in at the door, or at least you will when you get on the mat.
4. Because It’s Trendy
Yoga’s popularity, and its association with detox cleanses, juicing, and celebrity fitness is at an all-time high. In a way, it’s awesome because more people are learning about yoga. But it's easy to succumb to the all-alluring trimmings like mala beads and cute organic tops without going into how the practice itself makes you feel. Catch yourself the next time you post that Instagram yoga selfie with a green smoothie, in expensive Lulus with (in)appropriate hashtags that make you come off as yogier-than-thou to your friends.
5. When You're Sick
Yoga can be pretty addictive, and once you're on a roll, it can be hard to stop. But if there's anything that yoga has taught us it’s that you should always listen to your body. If your body is telling you to grab the tissues and the tea and stay in bed, then maybe you should follow suit. Hold off on the intense asanas and if you must, maybe take a more restorative, meditative practice instead. Plus, you could be pretty contagious, and a virus can only go around more quickly in that humid room where the instructor doles out adjustments to everyone.
6. Because Of The Girls
Joining a class with the sole purpose of meeting/flirting with members of the opposite sex? You are bound to be in for a disappointment. Yogis take their classes seriously as time to honor themselves and their intentions. You don’t really want to be "that creepy guy in yoga," do you? And as much as the idea of looking at butts for an hour is appealing, you underestimate the amount of sweat a human person can go through, and you'll very likely be so focused on your practice that you'll forget about the midriff-baring waif to your left.
7. To Please Your Yogi Girlfriend/Boyfriend
Your significant other loves yoga so much that they practically beg you to take a class with them so you can feel as great as they do. But like everything else, you have to believe in it yourself. If you remain close-minded towards all the benefits, then you won't be able to truly absorb them. Open up to the possibility that yoga can do you good, and you’ll make the most of your 90 minutes. Don't do it for your girlfriend (or boyfriend!), do it for yourself.
8. To Lose Weight
Being skinny is vastly different from being healthy and happy. Some bodies aren't built to be stick-thin, nor will it become that way through yoga. Yoga is a great way to get in cardio, lengthen muscles, and yes – burn fat. But more importantly, it’s a vehicle to learn about your body, teaching you that an ideal body is not necessarily a slim body, but a strong one that makes you feel good.
9. Because Yoga Will Change You
Yoga is a means to an end, not an end in itself. You still remain yourself no matter how often or hard you practice. Yoga helps you become aware of your negative patterns, teaches you ways to get over these bad habits, and focuses and calms the mind to prevent you from relapsing into your old grooves. But to actually get to that point — that's on you. All in all, yoga can't change you, only you can do that.
10. Because You're Already Flexible /Good At It
Yoga works when you're doing postures that produce sensations, reminding you to breathe, focus your attention and calm the mind from mental chatter. If you’re not feeling anything, then your mind is free to wander, which it often does. Find the little things that turn the posture from one wherein you can hang out without working, to one that engages all your muscles and your mind. Rather than showing off the wonderful gifts you've been blessed with, enter the session with a beginner's mindset.
So while we all know yoga is all sorts of awesome, you probably won't be able to reap all its benefits if you're practicing for the wrong reasons. Is there anything I missed that you think should be on this list? Let me know!