1. You’ve been known to mutter one or a few of the following reasons when people ask you if you do yoga : I’m too tight. Everyone will laugh at me. It’s too crowded. I’m old. I have kids and don’t have time. It’s too hard. It’s too slow and not enough of a workout. It’s too hot. It’s not hot enough. I can’t sit still. I’m too lazy.
2. You had an injury and you can’t get back on track because your doctor told you yoga is bad for you or because you’re afraid you will re-injure yourself.
3. You think it’s more important to run yourself into the ground than being gentle and kind to your body and mind. You think beating yourself up and working out hard is the only way to achieve a strong and sexy body.
4. You would rather jam-pack your schedule, distract yourself with tv, bad habits or anything else you can think of to avoid experiencing yourself fully. The thought of stillness, silence and non-action makes you feel bored, anxious and useless.
5. You feel like you have to compete with people around you and feel intimidated about how others will perceive or judge your non-yogi skills.
If you fall under any of the above mentioned, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to give up the fight and surrender to a system of movement and breathing that will change everything.
Excuses are lame and if you’re too tight and too busy then you definitely need yoga more than anyone. Inflexibility is a prerequisite for injuries and a stressful life breeds disease. So all in all, not a good combo. There have been numerous studies on the positive effects of yoga and meditation but all you have to know is that it will improve your quality of life drastically and I don’t mean just physically. Looking for reasons to avoid a yoga practice will keep you stuck in negative patterns and you will never give yourself a chance to improve essential life skills that can also lead to spiritual development. Try to cultivate a open mind and try different classes to find the right fit.
If you had an injury, just know that the beauty of yoga is that there are hundreds of modifications and if you can keep your ego out of it, there are numerous ways to work around the part of the body that is out of commission. A lot of doctors exercise extreme caution when telling people that yoga is bad for them but that doesn’t mean that you have to give it up. The quicker you’re able to get back to your practice, the easier the healing process. Just listen to your body, be patient and gentle and you’ll see improvement. If you are new to yoga or are recovering from an injury, you might consider a couple of private yoga sessions to start or get back into yoga. Your teacher can guide you through the poses and modifications best for you and the type of class best suited for you.
I’ve met a lot of people who think running, lifting weights and over-stressing the body is the only way to get fit. A few of my trainers have told me they feel 90 (even though they are in their 30s and 40s) because their bodies are so tight and they lack mobility and range of motion. People who think yoga isn’t a good workout have probably never taken a challenging power yoga or vinyasa class. An NFL player once told me it was the hardest training he had ever done. Most people sweat more in a strong yoga class than in a CrossFit type of class and yet yoga is probably the only type of workout that also lubricates your joints, realigns the spine, improves posture, doesn’t put counterproductive stress on the body AND increases flexibility. It’s good for every system – circulatory, lymphatic, digestive etc. Show me a machine that will twist your liver while reversing the flow of gravity. Or a machine that forces you to focus enough and control your body enough to defy laws of physics (check out Dylan Werner on Instagram and you’ll know what I mean). I like to call it functional training – the type that doesn’t cause injuries and instead turns us into powerful beings that are also improving the quality of life for others through meditation, self study, and stress management techniques. Added bonus to doing yoga? Your mind will be calmer, you’ll be more patient and you might even get a glimpse of the type of bliss that enlightened masters have been talking about for centuries.
You’ll get a good workout in yoga but you will also take a much needed Time Out from the everyday crap that clogs our systems. We have to unplug for everything to recharge. It’s ironic I know. More than ever we are moving faster, focusing on external things and avoiding going inward for fear of what we might find. Take some time to slow down and disconnect no matter how busy you are. A class is a great way to get it all and you will literally be a different person after that final resting pose.