I don't think I can do Yoga
Like so many other people I used to think that yoga was not for me and that I wouldn't be able to do it. Then one day, I went to a yoga class with my daughter and to my excitement I really enjoyed it! All my previous worries or excuses as to why I couldn't do yoga completely faded because.... I could do it! And I did do it! I even went on to do my Yoga Teacher Training and now teach several classes each week. Had I not tried, then I would not be where I am today and writing this blog for you!
What are some of the reasons you may think that yoga is not for you?
The benefits of yoga are well documented citing enhanced muscular strength; body flexibility; improved respiratory and cardiovascular function; reduced stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain; and much more. Many people all of the world are benefiting from the overall positive effect that a regular yoga practice can have on our well-being and quality of life. So you're reading this, you know that it's good for you, by why are you still reluctant to get started?
Here is a list of the most common reasons why people think that they can't do you yoga, and my response
"I'm not flexible enough enough to do yoga"
Whether you're flexible or not doesn't matter! People come in all shapes and sizes, and do different activities during the day. Take a runner - they are often very tight in the legs, then take an office worker who is sitting down all day - they are often very tight in the head, neck, shoulders and back. Flexibility also comes with practice. Do you think everyone was born to do the splits? Well maybe, but if not practiced it is pretty hard! But overtime you will practice and you will gain greater flexibility and control over your body. Yoga is also NOT just about the poses. The poses (or 'asanas') are only one component part of a total 8 limbs of yoga. Time to get moving as "you're only as young as your spine is flexible" (Joseph Pilates).
"I have to lose some weight before I start yoga"
People come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Yoga is designed to be practiced by all. If you have not practiced yoga before, best to go to a beginner class and introduce yourself to the yoga instructor. Yoga can be a way to achieve weightless if this does happen to be one of your goals. The movements can exercise and strengthen your muscles, and the breathe and mindful can be helpful to have greater control over your diet.
"My feet are too unsightly to reveal to the public"
Okay now your really just making excuses. Of course I suggest to keep your feet reasonably clean, maybe wash them if they have been in socks all day, and then in yoga we keep to our own mat, that way they won't bother anymore. After all, who is looking at our feet? Only you :)
"I have to wear tight yoga clothes"
You don't have to specifically wear yoga tights. As long as what you wear is comfortable, can stretch and move with you then you will be fine. Best to avoid denim, belts, zips and buttons.
"I need to be feeling energetic to do yoga. I’m just too tired in the morning and have no energy after work"
All you need to do is show up. That's the beauty of attending a class with an instructor and other people around you. Whilst you may feel flat at the beginning of class, yoga helps us to rebalance our energy, to re-centre ourselves giving us more energy in the early part of the day or to calm us down after work to prepare us for a good night sleep.
"Yoga is going to be way too hard"
There will be challenges, but the instructor often suggests various options for the pose to make it more accessible. We don’t have to do the most “intense” version but do the one that works for us! You can do child pose anytime too.
"Everyone in class is going to be watching me"
Yoga is a personal journey and you need to remain focused and attentive to yourself. If your eyes (as well as the others in class) dart about the room, it’s a lot harder to stay balanced! In short, your fellow classmates won’t be paying that much attention to what we are doing because they’ll be busy paying attention to what they’re doing to keep steady and balanced.
"My yoga instructor is sure to single me out and berate my incompetence"
In general yoga instructors are nice people, welcome people of all levels and are very encouraging. If you are new you should introduce yourself to the yoga instructor before class. It is also important to remember that you are you're own teacher - yoga instructors are there to guide you, if something really does not feel right or hurts, please ease out of the pose and/or rest. Be sure to flag with the instructor if something doesn’t feel right during and/or after class
"Yoga is for women"
While in general women outnumber men in many classes, some men who live or work down the street from you, and who might not look like they do yoga, do yoga. They often tell yoga instructors how much yoga has been helping their golf swings! Some of the poses that entail, say, flexible hips, might indeed be easier for women (in general), but men tend to have an advantage in many of the poses that require upper-body strength.
So there you have it! Some common excuses or reasons why you may think you cannot do yoga, and why I think they are mostly invalid! Have I missed anything? Comment below!
Finally, if you know someone who thinks they cannot do yoga, why not take them along to your next class and share the wellbeing effect of Yoga?! If you reside in Perth, Western Australia check out our studio in Nedlands. Our boutique yoga studio offers a slow vinyasa suitable for all levels delivered in a very inclusive and safe environment.