Yoga is everywhere right now. You can hardly go a day without hearing it mentioned in some way. In response to that, maybe you have listed the many reasons why you can’t possibly try it, or why it’s not for you. Or maybe you started a practice, fell in love and then fell out of it again?
Here are the top 6 reasons to not go to yoga that teachers hear…and why you really should give it a chance.
1. I’m Not Flexible Enough
This is the main excuse I hear all the time, and I’ll let you into a little secret…you don’t need to be flexible to do yoga. Seriously!
And another little secret: doing yoga will actually help make you more flexible.
Yoga is about so much more than flexibility. It’s about strength, balance, peace of mind, and learning to soften and let go. The word itself means "union," as yoga works on not just the physical body but also the mind, heart and soul. The magic of yoga is that no matter how flexible you are you can still do a full yoga practice and feel incredible (and more flexible!) after it.
The only flexibility you really need in yoga is flexibility in your mind — the flexibility to try something new or challenging, to let go of your ego and all your self-limiting ideas and to give it a try. After all, how can you ever get flexible unless you start doing something to help make you more flexible.
2. I Don’t Have Time
It’s in the times that you don’t have time to do yoga that you need yoga the most!
We all live in a busy world with constant demands on our time and energy, being pushed and pulled in so many different directions and getting caught up in the drama and fast pace of this modern day world. I’m here to promise you that taking one hour out of your day or even week for yoga will benefit you so much more than an extra hour of running around like mad!
Stepping out of the madness and into your own body, breath, and stillness will not only allow new inspiration to flood in, but also help you to put things in perspective, allowing you to move back into your life with a new outlook on things. You will be far more productive after this time out; coming at things from a place of being calm, centered, and relaxed rather than already being overloaded and stressed.
3. It’s For Chicks/Old People/Hippies
Maybe 30 years ago, yoga used to be perceived as something that the older generation did to keep them in shape after they were "unable" to do any other form of exercise. Maybe for a short while, yoga was the domain of women and the more alternative kind of person.
But for the last 10 years or so, yoga has taken the world by storm for its life altering benefits, becoming a firm favorite with many top celebrities, athletes, professionals, men, teens, and everyone in between.
Yoga doesn’t judge, so why would you? Yoga does not ask anything from you except to come as you are. And while sometimes there may be incense and plenty of women in class, yoga is for absolutely everyone and anyone, and everyone can reap its many rewards.
With all the different styles and different teachers out there, I promise you'll find something you love.
4. I Prefer to do "Proper" Exercise
Many people still hold the belief that gym work and hard-core exercise is better for your health than yoga — both have their place.
I hear so often that people want something that’s more energetic as they believe yoga is not dynamic enough. I challenge anyone to go to a Vinyasa, Ashtanga, or Jivamukti class and not feel like it's a "proper" workout. Yoga will build muscle strength, stamina, and stability, but the true beauty of yoga lies in its many extra benefits.
Yoga has been proven to improve flexibility, take care of the joints of the body, help the lymphatic system fight infection, maintain the nervous system, and regulate the adrenal glands. Yoga is also proven to reduce stress levels and help us to quiet the mind, bringing peace of mind, clarity, and an ability to manage our stresses – perfect for those who want "more hard-core," as they are usually the ones who need to slow down the most.
5. I've Never Done it Before; I’ll Be the Worst in the Class
So hide at the back for the first few classes! That’s what I encourage all new students to do, to take away that feeling of paranoia, and also so you can follow along as best you can while you get used to the different poses.
We all have to start somewhere, and each person in that class had a first class and all came back, so it can’t have been that bad! One of the main things to remember about yoga, is that it’s not at all competitive and so you don’t have to be at a certain level — in fact we are all, even teachers, still learning and growing in our practice. It really doesn’t matter if you can touch your toes in the first class, or the first year (or ten). What matters is that you showed up and tried.
The other thing to know is that yoga is a personal practice so no one else is really that bothered about what you are doing, they are so focused on their own practice that nothing else matters. After just a few classes you’ll very quickly become more familiar with the positions and terminology and not feel like the newbie anymore.
6. I'm Too Old/Large
Yoga is for absolutely and utterly everyone, no matter your age, shape, size, or flexibility levels — it’s just about finding a style and teacher that really works for you. The beauty of yoga is that nearly every single pose can be adapted and modified to your level, and a good teacher will only ever encourage you to take things at your own pace.
I know we’re all sadly used to seeing yoga being represented by a young skinny girl in bikini in a handstand, but that really is not what yoga is all about. Yoga’s benefits are many and varied and can be enjoyed by absolutely everyone. Whether it’s increased flexibility and strength, better self-esteem and self-belief, more joint mobility, or calm and stillness of mind — whatever it is you seek, yoga can offer you the answer.
So there you have it — no more excuses. There is nothing left to fear, it’s all up to you. Take a deep breath, let go of all your fears and excuses, and find your nearest yoga class today!
What has kept you from going to yoga in the past? Share your stories (and how you got over your fears) with us in the comments below!