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Posted on 09-01-2015

I know there are folks out there that clean the house before the cleaning person comes or scrub the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. There are also people that don’t try new things unless they have some assurance they’ll be good at it.

I’ve been practicing yoga a long time and have been teaching it now for a year. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation.

“Blah blah blah, yes I practice yoga.” I say.

“Oh, yeah. Yoga. I would try that but I’m not flexible enough.” They say.

I love you all, but that makes me want to pull my hair out.

Or there are the other “reasons” people don’t try a yoga lesson like being male or being overweight or having some physical limitation or being of a certain religion or not having time. Honestly, it seems like there are a group of people out there that sit around thinking of all sorts of reasons and then they sell these reasons to people I come across.

Here’s my stance.

  1. If you don’t want to try yoga, that’s fine. I’m not here to pressure you into anything. Yes, yoga is good for you, but I’m not going to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to do it, then just say so and leave the silly reasons for the next person.
  2. Yes, yoga has its origins in the Hindu faith and Indian culture. But yoga itself isn’t a religion and it isn’t trying to convert you. You can be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Satanist, or a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Bring your god, gods or lack of gods to your practice if you like, or leave them at home. The practice is for your body, mind and spirit. If you don’t want to say Namaste at the end for one reason or another, then don’t. Before poo-pooing it, I recommend reading a little about it. Here is a great page about the origin and meaning of “namaste”.
  3. You don’t have to wear tight, fancy pants. If you’re uncomfortable in Lululemon or can’t afford it, just do what I do and buy your pants from the thrift store. You don’t have to wear tight pants. You just need to be able to move around. The only “rules” when it comes to clothing in yoga is that you should be in bare feet and wear a shirt that won’t come down around your ears in Down Dog. That’s it. If you’re still not comfortable, seek out a teacher like myself who makes house calls! Practice at home until you’re comfortable for a group class. Or, if you’re like me, maybe you prefer to just practice at home and that’s the end of that! I do recommend working with a live teacher at least once before using a DVD or doing your own thing at home. You do still want to be safe.
  4. If you are interested in yoga but THINK you have a reasonable excuse for not doing it, talk to a teacher. There are modifications for nearly every pose. And there is a type of yoga for every person. Also, everyone comes to yoga for a different reason. You are special, but you’re not alone.
  5. Yoga isn’t what you see on the cover of Yoga Journal. You don’t have to become a pretzel to officially be a practitioner of yoga. As a matter of fact, there are probably 300 yoga poses that you’ll never do because they aren’t healthy or actually good for you or your body. You may never do more than seated poses. That still counts as yoga.
  6. Yoga was created thousands of years ago as a way to practice many different seated postures that would assist in meditation. I’m simplifying it a bit, but that’s really what it breaks down to. And it was mostly done by men. There are breathing techniques, common sense words of wisdom to try to adhere to, meditation techniques, and movement poses. Take what you want and put the rest to the side.
  7. Yoga can be fun. It doesn’t have to be “I are serious yogi. No laughing or smiling. Only breathing and sitting on this mountain.” If yoga wasn't fun and different and challenging and helpful for me, I wouldn’t do it, nor would I teach it. Much less write a blog post about it.

Some truths about me so you have some context as to why to believe me. Yes, I am a consumer who gets caught up in the sparkly, new things. And, yes, I’m a bit impetuous and usually don’t pause to consider all the reasons why I should or shouldn’t buy something. However, I’m also prone to bouts of boredom and laziness. It’s very difficult for me to incorporate something new into my daily or weekly routine. I’ve had memberships to at least 7 different gyms and have cancelled all of them for really lame reasons but primarily because I didn’t want to go.

The two things that I have started in my life and have continued regularly? Yoga and running. I’ve been practicing yoga for 20 some years. I’ve been running for the past 2 and some years. Both things are part of my daily and weekly routine. I schedule things around yoga and running. I spend my money on things related to yoga and running. Books, classes, movies, food to support both things, proper clothing, and events. Nearly all things in my life revolve, in one way or another, around these two things that I do for myself.

Both things I can do either at home or can start from home. Both things have a community of people (in Sanskrit a sangha) I adore and respect. Both things make me feel good inside and out. And both things allow me/force me to be away from the computer/cellphone/Facebook and in my own head. I cannot multi-task.

Yoga is something that is so broad of a thing that there really is no excuse for not attempting some part of it. I am someone who loves a good discussion, so if you have questions about yoga, please, contact me! This is one of those topics I can talk about for hours. I believe in it passionately, but respect you more. Leave comments. Ask questions. But if you really aren’t interested in yoga, please let’s just move on to something else.

Yoga truly is for everybody and every body. Many folks say it, but it really is true.

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