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Wellness Wednesday

“I Can’t Do Yoga Because…”

Person doing yoga pose

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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. Here’s my “Top 10 List of Excuses Why You Won’t Try Yoga … and Why They Aren’t Valid.”

  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 for a few dollars. If you decide you’d like to purchase a mat, you can easily find one for around $20.

  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 only for women.

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” … unless you want to.

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 is excited to begin her RYT-200 teacher training this winter.

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