5 Reasons I used to hate Yoga (and what I've learnt now!)

5 reasons I used to hate yoga (and what I've learnt now!)

Sound strange? A yoga teacher and studio owner talking about hating yoga?! Well it’s true! I didn’t always love yoga and I wanted to share this to reassure you that if you’ve tried yoga before and it hasn’t resonated, please don’t give up! Whatever reservations and preconceptions you’ve had, or currently have toward yoga, trust me, I had them too. After years of trying classes in my 20’s, yoga finally clicked for me when I turned 30. Here’s why I used to hate yoga and what I’ve learnt since!

1.  I was totally inflexible

Initially at all the classes I attempted throughout my twenties, I felt frustrated. My body was stiff and tight, I became easily discouraged by the ease of everyone getting into postures and I felt inadequate.

What I’ve learnt now

Most people start yoga stiff! In our daily lives, we move our bodies in a linear way so the poses will always feel strange initially, this is totally normal, don’t worry! Once I stopped comparing myself to those around me, I was able to truly enjoy being on my mat. I realised it didn’t matter what I could or couldn’t do, nobody else noticed or minded as they were absorbed in their own bodies.  Over time and with practice and patience my body became more flexible however I FELT amazing after every single class. It was this sense of relaxation and wellbeing that kept me coming back to class week after week.

2.     I found the breathing really hard

A huge element of yoga is coordinating breath with movement. This was hugely challenging for me at first. I’m naturally very uncoordinated so when the teacher asked me to link a move to an inhale or an exhale, I struggled and became confused!

What I’ve learnt now

Coordinating the breath with movement will take time, it’s hard for everyone to start with so don’t worry! Initially just follow the movement prompts so your body gets used to the poses. Try not to hold your breath and whenever you can, take a mindful inhale and exhale. Once you are more familiar with the poses, the linking of the breath will become easier. Be patient, don’t be so hard on yourself and just enjoy the journey!

3. The spiritual aspect of yoga didn’t resonate with me

For many years I had no interest or understanding of what ‘spiriuality’ was and even now the word ‘spiritual’ doesn’t resonate with me. However it was during a transitional time in my life, and a difficult relationship, that I became desperate to make sense of things. I began reading books like ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle and books by Wayne Dyer and I began exploring ‘the self’. It was during this phase of my life that the philosophy around yoga really made sense to me and I became captivated by the yogic teachings and the deeper world of yoga.

What I’ve learnt now

People come to yoga for all sorts of reasons and they are all important. Whether you are practicing yoga to help an injury, to get fit or to find some peace and calm, every single reason is valid and important. You don’t need to understand or be interested in the spiritual aspect but once you start exploring the other parts of yoga, there is so much depth to unfold below the surface of asana and teachings which you can take off the mat and into the wider world.

4.  I found yoga intimidating

Often when I tried a new studio, I would walk in and feel intimidated by the skinny, young and beautiful girls. Some places just didn’t feel friendly and welcoming and I felt out of my depth and out of place.

What I’ve learnt now

Find the right studio!! This is so important! Every studio has a different feel, a different focus and a different community. Go to them all and find the one that fits! Once I found a studio I loved, it felt like home every time I walked in, I loved going there, made amazing friends and couldn’t stay away!

5. I couldn’t find the right teacher or the right type of yoga

When I first started yoga I had no idea what type I would like so I would just pick a random class. Often the class was too advanced for me, too fast paced or the teacher didn’t resonate so again I wouldn’t go back to yoga for months. Sometimes I would want a powerful energising class but would pick a Yin class by mistake and then sometimes I would need nurture and calm and would end up at a hot power yoga.

What I’ve learnt now

If you’re a beginner, go to a beginners class! It is so important that you learn the basics and build your practice from a strong foundation. Understand what the different types of yoga are. If you want to sweat and have a fierce work out go to a Hot or Power Class, if you want to relax and find peace, try a Restorative or Yin class. Find a teacher who you like so you enjoy the class and their vibe and will more likely go back. It’s also good to go with a friend so you can encourage each other! Whatever you need from your yoga practice, there is a class and teacher that will be perfect so keep looking!!

If you’ve still not started yoga, now’s the time! Just remember to be gentle and patient with your body and shop around to find a class and studio that’s right for you. When you find a studio and a teacher you connect with, yoga may just be one of the best things you’ve ever done!