Most people feel they are too old, not flexible enough, clumsy or too fat, and have ailments that will hinder them from trying difficult Yoga asanas. Fatigue, pregnancy and travel are also reasons that keep people away. Yoga in fact is restorative, can be done anywhere, heals most ailments, helps pregnant women manage back pain and nausea, and eases childbirth.
As a yoga teacher I have heard all the excuses as to why people are interested in yoga, but do not end up ever giving it a try. Believe it or not, once upon a time I was not a believer in it, and I was quickly shown the error of my ways – thanks to a dance injury! Since that day I have seen it all and learned so much.
My goal here is to inspire you to just try it if it is something that interests you. I guarantee you won’t be the best in class your first time, but we have all been there. Just follow the #1 rule in yoga: keep your eyes on your own mat, no comparing allowed.
11 Excuses For Not Practicing Yoga And Why You Are Wrong
1. I Am Too Old
There is an eastern philosophy that goes something along the lines of “you are as old as your spine is flexible”, basically meaning the more flexible you are, the younger you will feel. Put another way, if you work on your flexibility, age does not matter.
Have you seen this teacher? She is over 90 years old. She is such an inspirational lady! And can I just say – I hope I look even half that good at 90-something!
2. I Am Not Flexible
You never will be, if you do not start somewhere. It is a process, and one that is directly related to how much effort you put in. Practice 30 minutes every day and I guarantee you will notice a marked difference in the course of 2 weeks.
3. I Am Clumsy
Do not take yourself so seriously! Everyone has fallen out of poses in yoga. Seriously, it is not a big deal. I am a teacher and sometimes I still fall.
4. I Am Too Fat
Have you seen this amazing woman? Her name is Jessamyn Stanley. She is a fabulous yoga teacher and body positive advocate. Check out her website. I absolutely love her and what she is doing to break down these stereotypes.
5. I Do Not Want To Say ‘Namaste‘
You do not have to say, no one will be offended if you don’t. But, if you knew what it meant you might feel differently. With the ever increasing popularity of yoga, I am always amazed that more people, even experienced yogis, do not know what ‘Namaste‘ means.
The word ‘Namaste‘ means “the divine in me honors the divine in you”. I have also heard “the divine” referred to as “the light” or “my soul” etc. The point is, it is spiritual and a sign of respect, not religious. Those two things are not one in the same.
6. I Do Not Feel Well/I Am Injured
You know how there is an app for everything? Well there is a yoga pose for just about all physical ailments. It is true: nausea, exhaustion, constipation, pulled muscles, low immune system, stiff knees, thyroid problems; there is a pose for that!
7. I Am Pregnant
Congratulations!! Guess what. Yoga is one of the best workouts for pregnant women. There are even special classes for pregnant women. It will even save you from some of that pesky lower back pain, and hip pain.
It can even help with nausea and morning sickness. It will even keep your core nice and strong which can possibly make labor slightly shorter and perhaps easier.
Yes, some poses you will want to stay away from, but most of the poses will do nothing but help. I myself am currently 28 weeks pregnant and am still teaching my normal classes. Here is one of me a few weeks ago!
8. I Am Too Tired
Ever heard of restorative yoga? It is designed to relax and rejuvenate. I even once fell asleep in a restorative yoga class. Yes, in class (I was a student, not the teacher this time).
With the candlelight, and soft music, I was so relaxed! No one judged, I was not the first one to do this. Not all yoga is hard work.
9. I Travel Too Much
Check and see if you can find a yoga studio close by, almost all will rent you a mat or you can check out online yoga classes and do them from the comfort of your hotel room.
Here is a little, not so big, secret. You do not actually need any equipment. I do not take my mat with me when I travel. The hotel floor is just fine by me or in the case of this picture, an old creaky wooden dock.
10. It Is Not Challenging Enough/ I Am Really More Of A Weight Lifter
Ever tried iron yoga? Boy, will that one make you sweaty and sore! All the regular yoga poses with weights added. Yes!
11. It Does Not Go With My Religion
This is a very common misconception, and usually said by someone who has never been to a class. I even heard that a group of parents in California were against yoga being taught in schools as part of their physical education program because they were afraid it was teaching their kids Muslim teachings.
To those parents: wrong country of origin, and wrong religious association. Yoga comes from India, which primarily practices Hinduism. But, again, religion is not part of yogic teachings.
Yoga is not a religion, or associated with one, nor is it necessarily spiritual, unless you choose to make it that way. When you go to a yoga class aside from what the teacher says, there really is no talking.
The teacher is too busy coaching you on breathing and how to move to give you a lesson on spirituality and philosophy. Religion and spirituality were not even discussed in my 200-hour teacher training course, ergo, it won’t be taught in class.
That is not part of our standard qualifications. They may walk you through a short meditation to clear your mind, and to my knowledge, there are not any religions against that (and believe me, I have studied them, it is fascinating to me).
If yoga is something you have ever been interested in trying, I do hope with all that is in me, that I might have helped clear up a few things on the subject.
I am a true believer in the benefits of it. As a teacher I have seen so many come through injuries and health conditions and be stronger than they were before, myself included!