December 28, 2010

9 Lame Excuses that Keep People away from Yoga.

Have you ever heard someone tell you that they would like to start a yoga practice but: “fill in the blank”? Excuses seem to abound.

A friend of mine recently asked me about the common excuses I have heard and even though at first I didn’t want to think about it, I confess that eventually I found a certain almost evil pleasure in coming up with the list,  had so much fun I even made a video with extra excuses that are not even in it:

What is your excuse?

1.-I do not know the poses

When my uncle (who is now 60) was about to attend his first day of school he hid under the bed and cried because: “he did not know how to write or read”.  I found that cute, provided that we are six years old, of course.

2.-I do not want to take my shirt off

My husband seems to keep this one in high regard but there is no need to take anything off.  Most of the men in class keep a short and a t-shirt on, some get over heated and take the top off, but there is no code of conduct that determines weather one has to wear one. Husband update: he has started yoga and loves it.

3.-I am not flexible

The guru of Ashtanga, Pattabhi Jois,  said it all when he utter these words: “Body is not stiff, mind is stiff”.  You can hear it with an Indian accent, it sounds more profound.

4.-I do not want to chant

Fair enough, many classes start with one simple Aum at the beginning. Ashtanga yoga has a whole chant, but not all styles adhere to this.  Also noticing our feelings around things that make us uncomfortable is a great meditation. For example: can we remain equanimous? Who would have thought that through this we can get started with our work on the other branches of yoga?  Transcend the poses and reach higher.

5.-I want a real workout

I can understand this.  Some yoga classes are very slow, but not all of them are like that, there is a class for every level of intensity, flexibility and courage (if I dare say so).  Just playing the DVD of Mark Darby for example, the one with the primary series,  is work, a lot of work. Try it if you do not believe me, just the standing sequence is enough to get the blood, muscles and the breath going.

6.-I am not fit enough

Yeah, nothing to worry about, we are all very self conscios and nobody thinks they are fit enough anyway, so coming along is a show of camaraderie.

7.-I do not have the money

Yoga can be practiced at home with a dvd that costs no more than 20 dollars or so. Classes of course are a great way to get corrections and inspiration and, if possible, always recommended. NYC features the 10 dollar class, and there is a “yoga by donation” initiative in many major cities.  Online classes are popping up everywhere with fantastic deals, if you find a good place let me know.

8.-I have no time

There are short classes, especially in gyms.  You can also leave classes earlier, although teachers tend not to like that, but you can make an arrangement.  People in the yoga world understand, they are approachable.  If you do happen to leave a class early always remember to do savasana (corpse/relaxation pose) before re-entering normal paced life, your nervous system will thank you with extra years of life.

9- It will take years for me to do any of those impressive asanas
Maybe, maybe not.  There are a few really cool looking asanas that can be mastered rather quickly, for example: The whole Sun Salutation sequence or even the shoulder-stands. I know it “looks” difficult, but it is not, and pretty much every class includes an attempt, so you will build up fast and impress the yogi out of all your friends.

I do not have excuses myself anymore, I love my yoga practice, but here are 21 things I wish I knew before I started practicing Ashtanga.

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