5 Common Yoga Excuses and a Rebuttal to Each

by Beaming with Health on February 12, 2013

It has recently been brought to my attention that I may be one of those annoying people that will not shut up about yoga (I am working on it, friends). I am always trying to get people to do it with me. The reason I do this is not just because I am on a yoga kick or love the new fashionable yoga clothes that are always coming out. I talk about it so much because it has healed me. Maybe you know this about me, and maybe you don’t, but I was chronically tired for a couple years amongst other health problems. I couldn’t exercise without getting sick a few days later. Not a fun situation for a former athlete and competitive gymnast.

I finally started introducing yoga into my health routine. Slowly but surely it has helped me to regain my strength. I now practice regularly and I don’t get sick anymore. I have even managed to avoid the flu this winter. On an ongoing basis, yoga helps me with minor injuries or soreness that occurs in my body from normal wear and tear. Yoga also helps me to clear my mind, become centered, and live more in the present moment. Many a day have I walked into a yoga class with a lot on my mind and have come out feeling like a new person.

Yoga is a phenomenal form of exercise that is great for athletes (yes it will improve your abilities in other sports), can combat sadness and serve as a coping mechanism for the difficult things life throws us, and a way to address the subtle imbalances in our bodies before they turn into deeper injuries. Have I sold you yet? If not, you might be making one of the excuses below. If so, I hope my counter arguments are compelling enough to get you into your yoga clothes and off to class. If you live in the Bay Area and want to catch a class with me, let me know! Cheers to discovering the yogi in you (in whatever form that looks like).

1. I am not flexible

I hear this one a lot. Many people believe that because they are not flexible, they will not be able to do yoga. Quite the opposite. Yoga is designed to make you more flexible. Don’t worry if you can’t touch your toes or if downward dog seems hard for you. As you practice you will become stronger and more flexible.  Don’t focus on what other people are doing in class (although sometimes this is hard). Tell that competitive voice in your head to be quiet and just work slowly to build up your practice.

2. I don’t have time

My rebuttal here is two fold. Perhaps you feel you don’t have time because you are intimidated to try your first class or are not sure which type of yoga is best for you. This is the fun part! Try out several types of yoga and instructors until you find the one that is best for you. A lot of studios offer introductory deals where you get unlimited yoga for a certain period of time. Use this time to experiment. Set up a “yoga date” with a friend to give you some accountability. Having someone do it with you helps relieve the intimidation factor.

Maybe you actually don’t have time. Perhaps you are traveling a lot or your work schedule doesn’t allow you to get to class. In this case, try to squeeze in at least a yoga class or two so you can learn some of the basic moves. You will have the guidance of a teacher to show you how things are set up. Then you can do a couple yoga moves in the comfort of your own home or hotel room (in the case of traveling). Don’t underestimate the power of a good inversion to get your circulation moving and change your perspective on life (literally).

You could also take a private lesson and have the instructor set you up with a simple sequence that you can do on your own. I can’t speak enough about the benefits of being in class; however, so feel free to look up classes around you when you are traveling or squeeze in a weekend class. 

3. I have an injury

I say this within reason. Obviously, if you have a serious injury, then you probably need to rest.  However, if you are through the healing period and want to ensure the injury doesn’t happen again or want to strengthen the area, yoga is great for this. Make sure to tell your yoga instructor about a past injury, and they can tell you how to modify certain positions as needed. They can also inform you of the postures that will be best to strengthen that area.

4. It is too mellow for me and I want a workout

Let me start by saying, there are many different types of yoga. If you are looking for a fast-paced, heat generating class, then maybe something like a power Vinyasa flow might be for you. With this said, often times the people that resist a slower-paced yoga class are the ones that need it the most. I am often guilty of this. I like to get the most bang for my buck when doing yoga.  I like to sweat!  However, I do see the benefit of doing other types of yoga as well.

A slower-paced class helps you learn technique, can be more focused on spirituality and quieting the mind, and can serve to relax the body. If you are a typical action junkie, switch it up and throw a restorative class in the mix. Go into it with the idea that you are relaxing and healing your body, which is just as important as a hard-core workout. I still prefer to mostly do more rigorous forms of yoga, but I try to mix in a gentler class here and there (especially after a stressful week).

5. It is expensive

That’s true, yoga can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Many gyms are now offering great yoga programs. You can also often find deals on the discount sites like Groupon. Community classes are a great option too. You may be able to find a location or center near you that does donation-based yoga classes. Do a google search and check it out! Often times athletic wear or sporting goods stores will offer free classes as a promotion. Don’t forget that once you are comfortable with a sequence of yoga postures, you can do them in the comfort of your own home, while waiting for the bus, or down at the beach. That is the beauty of yoga!

Well, I hope by now you are done contesting. At the very least let me leave you with this, don’t knock it until you try it. Yoga is a beautiful, healing, powerful art that is sure to bring you a lifetime of benefits. See you on the mat!

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