But if you're curious.. let me talk your ear off for a second.
I don't know what you think about yoga or people who do yoga, but I'll tell you what I thought:
Yoga is for the flexible. For the spiritual. For the vegans and for the people who don't want to do real exercise. For people who don't need to lose weight or who don't care about strength training. It's for people who like to meditate and care more about breathing than getting their heart rate up. It's for people who can afford lululemon and want to spend days away from civilisation on a retreat in the rainforest. It's for people who have never struggled to touch their toes and do nothing but yoga every damn day.
Let me apologise to all the yogis out there. What an ignorant idiot I was!
I haven't been doing yoga long, and it took me a long time to even accept that what I was doing was yoga, it was worth dedicating time to and it counted as exercise. I am so thankful that I finally took Alyssa's advice and started Erin Motz's 30 day yoga challenge.
Guess what? I am not flexible. I am not spiritual, or a vegan and yoga is real exercise. I do need to lose weight (in my opinion) and I never knew true strength training until I attempted crow pose. I don't meditate although it has 100% made me calmer and able to do my version of meditating. I've learned breathing is important, and so is getting my my heart rate up - which it does during yoga. I still can't afford lululemon and I don't think a retreat is for me, but probably for financial / time reasons than anything. I can barely touch my toes - but I'm closer than I was when I started and that is important. I don't do yoga every damn day, but I sure try.
Obviously, the title of this post gives it away - I do yoga regularly and I love it. If you really think it's not for you, I just want to know why. Are you like I was? Full of misconceptions? Do you stretch after a workout? Then you can do yoga. Yoga is more than glorified stretching, of course, but when I first started it helped me to view it as that. Just stretching.
The thing is, yoga is harder than it looks. But it's more rewarding than it looks as well.
A few weeks ago, I started doing planks and push ups at home again. I had taken so much time off that I stupidly did them with incorrect form and of course, my lower back started hurting after the first day. I hoped it would go away and kept doing the planks and push ups, and my lower back hurt even more. Rage (at myself) ensued. I was feeling so.. ugh. Blech. Mad at myself and my body for being so inept.
The next day, Alyssa just happened to be talking about lower back yoga (it's like she could read my mind!) and then we talked about it further so I had a plan to get rid of this pain. Now, I'm not trying to pretend I know real pain, but my lower back hurt. I couldn't bend down to pick something up, I couldn't even pick my cats up. Sitting hurt, standing hurt, tossing and turning in bed hurt. It was a constant throbbing pain. Ouch. So I went home that night, still mad at myself and feeling very un-yogi-like and did all the poses Alyssa told me to, twice, and ... waited. The pain will still there.
Screw you yoga, I wanted to say. Instead, I grabbed a tub of ice cream and turned on hug TV.
The next morning, I woke up and checked my emails and such. It wasn't until I saw the email from Alyssa telling me to let her know how it went that I remembered my back was supposed to be hurting. I forgot because it wasn't hurting. Boom. I jumped out of bed and twisted and turned and down dogged and all sorts of things to try and aggravate it. It was all but 98% gone. Because of a few poses and twists. Like, really? That is bloody brilliant.
I know I caused the pain myself, but it sure is handy to get rid of it myself as well.
I had a couple reasons why I didn't want to start yoga.
1 - I already run and strength train, I did not have time for another exercise.
2 - I didn't need yoga. I couldn't see any benefit to starting. It certainly wouldn't help me lose weight.
3 - I couldn't even touch my toes which was probably a good indication of all the other things I wouldn't be able to do.. and I hate when I'm not good at something. I'm not the fastest runner but I can run. I'm not the strongest, but I can still squat with weights. I didn't want to try yoga because I knew I wouldn't be good at it.
If you don't want to do yoga, that's fine. I dig it. You might not have time for another exercise, like I thought I didn't. Do you have 5-10 minutes in the morning or before bed? It doesn't have to be all or nothing, you don't have to go to a studio class 5 times a week, you can do it all at home (read Alyssa's posts here and here about beginning a home practice). You don't have to wear lululemon - most of the time I do yoga in my pajamas.
You might think that you're fine without yoga in your life. You might be like me and simply didn't feel the need to - why, when you do other exercises? What benefit could yoga possibly bring to your life that running / barre / weight lifting / whatever doesn't? If your goal is weight loss, you might think yoga won't help. I didn't think yoga would bring anything to my life. But it did. It made me stronger, more flexible and it has helped me sleep better (a big deal for me). It's helped with my running, my strength training and it is a huge stress reducer. It's helped with any anxiety and other not so great thoughts I have sometimes. It's improved my posture, my self esteem, my mood and helps me make better choices in other areas of my life. It helps me focus, and ensures that I have dedicated relaxing time where I don't think about anything else going on. It has absolutely helped me lose weight. I don't have a lot to lose and overall it's not the scale I want to go down, but rather I want to feel good about myself and fit into my clothes. It has 100% helped with that.
You might think you won't be good at it. That's totally fine. I'm not. Just check my instagram. But seriously. You don't have to be good at it. You don't have to be as good as the person next to you, or on instagram, or in the video you're watching. You have to enjoy it and not hurt yourself. That's all that matters. Your practice is your practice. That's why I love it.
Linking up with Alyssa and Tracy for Training for Tuesday!
If I had known how much yoga would benefit multiple aspects of my life, I would have started it years ago. So that's why I want to share with you today. I never thought I would be someone who does yoga, I did not think it was for me. But it is, it's for everyone and anyone who wants to do it.
Do you yoga?