Dear Yoga: No, Thank you.

Note:  This post is part of a continued series entitled “Strong Mind, Sound Body.”

Throughout various parts of my life, I’ve found myself in a yoga class, be it in pursuit of recovery, a winding down, or some solid stretching. But despite my access to an incredible assortment of offerings and instructors (read: reachable within just a few steps from my office), a regular practice has eluded me. So that is why when my friend Rita approached me about training her, I knew immediately that the universe was presenting an opportunity.

Our idea to trade services and document the experience came quickly, mostly because I was able to justify exploring yoga in the name of work and being productive (i.e. helping others through the sharing of our process). It didn’t matter nor dawn on me that I, myself, actually needed yoga. Because when it comes down to it, the tangible benefits of the modality have always seemed elusive for this type-A personality.

And that, of course, is why I subconsciously keep the below list in my pocket when I’m contemplating hitting the mat.

My 5 Tried and True Excuses for Talking Myself Out of Doing Yoga

  1. Fast is More: Thus far, my life has trained me to believe that I’m not being productive unless I am running full throttle and multi-tasking.   This translates to a warped belief that in order for any physical activity to produce benefits that it must require maximal effort and leave me feeling completely depleted.
  1. The Clock is Ticking: In accordance with the first point, yoga and its perceived lack of intensity have typically felt like a waste of my time. If and when I have an hour to spare, I’m looking to gain the most from it.
  1. Little Aesthetic Value: Part of what motivates me to move are the beneficial effects movement has on my physical appearance. Yup. There. I said it. Call me impatient (and you’d be right to do so), but ashamedly, I have little tolerance for results that I cannot see.
  1. My Spirituality is My Own: No doubt going inward has its benefits, but the idea of doing so in a room full of strangers is not something I’ve loved. It has nothing to do with discomfort or lack of being open, but rather that some of the spiritual elements of yoga have – in my experience – felt contrived and forced.
  1. Fear of Failure: Yes, this means exactly what you think. While I’m not one to ever let fear stop me from moving forward, the thought of not succeeding at a physical activity intimidates me. It may be pride, it may be perfectionism, but the bottom line is that my comfort zone involves partaking in something I already know I do well.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am well aware that my points above are not rational, despite the fact that they are undeniably my own. What I am learning, however, is that a critical part of this endeavor is going to involve redefining what it means to “do yoga.”

Game on.

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