When I meet people for the first time at a party and I tell them that I’m a yoga instructor, I get one of two kinds of responses. Either they love yoga and want to talk about how much they love yoga OR they don’t practice yoga and feel the need to give me an excuse why. If I am meeting someone for the first time, I typically let the moment pass and move onto another topic (like the weather or how tasty the appetisers are). But if I had more time, below are some of the responses I would share.
Reason #1: I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.
It’s true: A quick Google search for ‘yoga’ will give you hundreds of photos of people doing things that even I can’t do. These photos represent a minority of yogis. People who do yoga come in all shapes and sizes and most will never be able to wrap their legs around their necks. On the other hand, are you the type of person who’s let a physical challenge stand in their way before? Did a lack of strength prevent you from learning to lift weights? Did a lack of speed discourage you from running a race? You’ve learnt from experience that with practice, your body changes to do an activity more efficiently…so what’s stopping you now?
Reason #2: Yoga’s too slow for me. I like fast paced stuff.
There are a broad range of styles of yoga. If you have trouble sitting still, than going to a restorative yoga class that involves lying on the floor in one position for long periods of time is probably not what you should try first. There are styles that involve more movement that might be better for you. There are health risks to living a fast paced lifestyle and yoga is an effective way of slowing things down.
Reason #3: I already go to the gym 5 days a week. Why would I do more exercise?
In Western society, we often think that yoga is just another form of physical exercise- like lifting weights or using the TRX. Yoga works with our body, breath and mind and the results are endless. Practiced regularly, yoga can lead to: increased lung capacity, better posture, improved focus, reduced stress levels and…wait for it…increased libido. So, yes- if you’re going to the gym regularly, you probably don’t need to add to your physical activity. However, yoga will improve your sports performance and overall health in a way that hitting the gym won’t.
The thing is – you don’t have to do yoga. Nobody has to. There are countless tools available to help us achieve and maintain health. But until you’ve tried, you’ll never know if it’s the right tool for you.