What follows are a collection of the 3 top myths (in bold) I have heard over the past 16 years of teaching and the truth as I have discovered.
I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.
I love this one. I’ve never met anyone who said the opposite, “I do yoga to become inflexible.” Nor have I ever met someone who said, “I don’t do yoga because I am already flexible enough.” When you do yoga, you improve your flexibility. While it may be true that your hamstring muscles are short and thus your hamstrings feel tight, it doesn’t mean they won’t receive the benefits of yoga. Besides, yoga is so much more than stretching! It’s strength, balance, exploration, discipline. It’s great cross-training for living a well-lived life.
I don’t meditate because I can sit still/my mind is always going.
My Spiritual Mentor shared a story with me once of working with the young children at his church when a woman dropped off her grandson. They said their good-byes and then the boy began to run around and around the room. One of the other volunteers asked if they should do something. My mentor said, “No.” (and I am sure amusingly smiled). Eventually the boy collapsed in the middle of the room, sighed heavily, and said, “Okay. I’m ready to learn now.”
Did you know it takes you mind about 5 minutes to catch up with your body? I’m sure you’ve had the experience of walking with someone, having a discussion that you’re really focused and didn’t realize they’d stopped. The mind can be like that sometimes. That’s the great thing about yoga. You give yourself some physical activity to help the mind and body connect again so that when it is time to sit in silence, you’re fully present.
The simple truth is you meditate to train your mind to be more calm. Some people are successful at stopping the thoughts all together. It’s a goal.
I’m too ___ to learn how to do yoga (or meditation).
Old. I had a student named Wayne early in my career who was in his mid-sixties. My class was his first. It was at a community college and most the students were well below half his age. But that didn’t stop Wayne. He chose a front row, close to center seat (many years later he told me that was because he had hearing loss and wanted to make sure he heard me). He did it all, at first not great, and stuck with it. He was doing headstands and handstands into his mid seventies! Some of the younger students never got the courage to even try. Wayne also was a solid 30 pounds overweight, but he didn’t care. He was having fun and the class was good for him (balanced out some lifelong bad habits!). So if old or fat are on your list, forget about it.
Busy. For some people this is probably true. Your schedule is overpacked. My question to you is how’s that working for ya? What if you carved 15 minutes in for yourself? And, better still, what if that 15 minutes allowed you to be more productive and less stressed, therefore more effective? It’s certainly worth a try, right?
For the rest of you, stop hiding behind time as an excuse. I’ll accept “I don’t want to do yoga”. That’s far more honest. If you have time to check social media or gossip about celebrities or shop Amazon, you have enough time to do yoga. It’s all about priorities. You might even find it fills the void those other things haven’t.
What’s your excuse?
Join me in the “Stretch Into Your Greatness” yoga series on YouTube. Every wednesday (starting in January 2018) I’ll share a 15 minute yoga and mindfulness practice targeting busy professionals and leaders who simply don’t have time to do a full practice. If you’d like to get started now, check out my 1:1 online yoga program. I also do customized guided meditations.