Fitness, Motivation

“I Can’t Do Yoga Because…”

Person doing yoga pose

This week, I’m excited to once again have TOPS Publication Specialist Taylor Patton as my special guest blogger.

“I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.”

I’ve heard this excuse about 13 times—this year. Working at a yoga studio, flexibility is often a topic of conversation. I have wondered why it is that some people can touch their toes while others can barely reach their knees. What determines flexibility?

The short answer is that a multitude of genetic and lifestyle factors play a role in your overall flexibility. Some are within your control and some are very much not. Ligaments, muscle fascia, joint structure, tendons and connective tissue are all key factors in your ability to one day do the splits … but that doesn’t mean that you should stop trying anyway!

Just because you tried a pose and couldn’t go as deep as you wanted doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to. Listen to your body. Learn how to determine if something is a deal breaker or if you just have tight hamstrings that day.

Starting a regular yoga practice is a great way to work on your physical and mental flexibility. Yoga is a mind-body workout that combines stretching, strengthening and breathwork. Poses will stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion. You may not be able to put your leg behind your head, but a regular yoga practice will improve your overall flexibility.

Studies have shown there are a great many reasons to take up yoga, but I’ve heard probably just as many reasons as to why people don’t want to give it a try. Let’s go over my “Top 10 List of Excuses” and see if we can debunk some of the most common ones.

  1. I need to lose weight before I try a yoga class.

Yoga does not discriminate based on size, shape or flexibility. People from all walks of life practice yoga. And if weight loss is one of your goals, then a power yoga class may actually help you achieve that.

  1. I need to buy a mat.

Yoga studios usually have mats to rent.

  1. Everyone is going to be judging me.

Trying anything new is going to be intimidating at first. But you’ll soon realize that if your eyes are darting around the studio, it’s going to be harder to balance. Yoga is about focusing on your own practice—not watching other people. Besides, everyone was a beginner at some point!

  1. Yoga is a female activity.

I promise you, it’s not.

  1. It’s going to be too easy/too hard.

There will be opportunities during class to make poses challenging or more restorative. Teachers may also come around for hands-on assistance to make sure you are doing what’s best for your body.

  1. I don’t like meditation.

Me neither. If there are times during class where you are meant to be still, take that opportunity to listen to your breath and just relax for a moment.

  1. I need to get a pedicure beforehand.

If other yogis aren’t going to be watching you during the practice, they are definitely not going to be paying attention to your feet.

  1. I’m scared I won’t be able to follow along.

There’s a learning curve to every new activity. If you’re nervous about going to a class, try a free video online first. That way you can get acclimated with the terminology before heading to a studio.

  1. I don’t have time.

Take five or ten minutes out of your day to do a couple stretches. It could be a great way to break up time while at the office, wake up in the morning or ensure a restful sleep.

  1. I’m just not a yoga person.

Yoga is not for everyone. If you’ve tried it and it’s just not for you, that’s OK! Just know that trying yoga doesn’t mean you have to become vegan and change your name to “Fallingwater.”

Bird of Paradise yoga posePublished in Milwaukee Magazine, Edible Milwaukee and TOPS News, Taylor loves finding everyday stories of real people that are just begging to be told. A dedicated yogi for almost ten years, Taylor recently completed her RYT-200 teacher training this summer.

17 thoughts on ““I Can’t Do Yoga Because…”

  1. I don’t do it because if I get down on the floor need help getting back up. But I have been doing Zumba, however I’m going to have to switch to Chair exercise as my hip keeps making me lose balance and I don’t want to fall.

    1. The first night I took a class the instructor asked me what I wanted out of the class? I told him to get on and off the floor. He said easy you can learn that the first night. We all get lazy and saying ” no I can’t” is the what your brain tells you when you are older. You may not be able to do it as you did years ago. But yoga is great for just learning to relax and slow down………It was great. I could keep my shoes under the bed and clean under the furniture as well as get up myself before I had my knee replaced.

  2. Thanks for reading, Sundra! And you may be interested in a chair yoga feature coming up in the Jan/Feb issue of TOPS News! 🙂

  3. I’ve had both of my knees replaced. So I can’t do a lot exercises. Do you think that yoga would be easy enough for me?

    1. Thanks for checking out my blog, Shelley! I’m always hesitant to speak to anyone’s unique situation and urge you to always check with a licensed healthcare professional before trying a new activity. In general, I believe that the best form of exercise is the one you enjoy and are willing to do most of the time (we’re not always going to feel like exercising, even if we do enjoy a certain activity, and that’s okay!) You may be interested in a chair yoga feature coming up in the Jan/Feb issue of TOPS News. We also have a number of seated exercises in the Getting Active portion of the Members Area on I hope this helps, and thanks again for reading!

    2. There are books for doing yoga in a chair and seated yoga DVD’s. That’s what I use as I also have had both knees replaced

  4. I have been doing yoga 2 to 3 times a week. I’m 70 years old and I love it. I do what I can, learning my limits has made me enjoy it even more. My balance and flexibility are improving and thanks to yoga I’m able to walk couple miles a day, and enjoying myself. Plus I have rheumatoid arthritis RA, but it is not keeping me from yoga and walking. Thanks for a great article.

  5. We had a chair yoga instructor come and do a program for our Tops group. It was easy to follow along. I like to line dance. I take a 90 minute class. I am having so much fun. I am 69 years old . I have always been active and like to try new things. I enjoyed learning about chair yoga. Good way to try it. Linda

  6. Fallingwater…lol! Great article and a smile too. I have recently tried Restorative Yoga and I love it. Never felt more calm and slept soooo good.

  7. “Fallingwater…lol! A great read and a smile too. I recently tried Restorative Yoga and I loved it. I never felt more calm (sort of like falling water) and I slept soooo good! Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. I ordered a chair yoga DVD. My husband and I have spent the past 6 months caring for a terminally ill relative. All we did was sit, in the car to various hospitals, at the hospitals, at home. I met a lady who swears by yoga. she said a year ago she could barely lean down to touch her knees but now she can go palm down to the floor I am definitely going to try

  9. Was doing yoga twice a month. With the stay at home I can’t go. Got my mat out of the car and doing at home. Helps me with my depression. One day at a time.

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