3 Reasons Not To Hate Yoga

Hate yoga? Liz DiAlto shares 3 reasons why you should give it another try.

I remember the first time I ever took a yoga class. It was at NYSC in Hoboken, NJ and I freakin' HATED it. Maybe you can relate? While I was well versed in doing all kinds of plank exercises, I just wasn't used to spending so much time in positions on my hands so by the time it was over my wrists were killing me. Also having zero experience with the practice, I found the positions to be awkward and pretty funny at times. Stifling laughter does not a present yogi make. I fell over more than once-it was kind of embarrassing.

This brings us to REASON #1:

Stepping out of your workout comfort zone sometimes is a great way to check in on the functionality of your strength, balance and flexibility. Even if you don't LOVE yoga, you can notice a lot about your body on the mat. I also left that first class at NYSC without breaking a sweat. At the time, to me, if a workout didn't make you sweat, well, that wasn't really a workout. So the next time I tried yoga, it was Bikram which ended up being my favorite for a while. It doesn't matter what the movements are, when the room temp is set to 95 degrees or higher, it's impossible not to sweat profusely. Now some people feel that Bikram is boring because it uses the same 27 postures every time.

REASON #2 to not hate yoga is relevant here:

The amount of presence required on the mat helps us learn to practice more presence in daily life. Sometimes everyday things we have to do are boring, and we half-ass them because we aren't present. The practice of staying present in yoga is something we all can (and probably should) apply when we roll up our mats and get back to the real world.

REASON #3 is something that makes a HUGE difference in the lives of millions:

Focus on your breathing. Most of us go through life without paying any attention to the way we breathe. This can reduce the amount of oxygen we get to our cells and it doesn't help our stress levels. Learning to pay attention to and control your breathing is a super valuable skill for being relaxed and reducing stress in everyday life, not just in class. Paying attention to your breathe is a super valuable skill for relaxation and reducing stress in everyday life. "Paying attention to your breathe is a valuable skill for reducing stress. - @lizdialto" -- Click to Tweet It's also a great precursor if you have any desire to start a meditation practice. Meditation can be incredibly powerful for a ton of reasons. One of the most amazing applications I've ever seen is here—this amazing female scientist and yoga expert used meditation to hold her breath for 10+ minutes and survive sub-zero temperatures to tame Beluga whales off the shore of Russia! Those are just three reasons of an endless list not to hate yoga, so if you've been holding out, give it a try. You may discover something you never knew about yourself. And remember these two things:
  1. Give yourself permission to fall over, mess up, giggle and feel uncomfortable for your first few classes.
  2. There are several different kinds of yoga. My personal favorite is Vinyasa Flow, but there's Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Kundalini, etc. Don't give up on yoga until you've tried them all. Just because you find one you don't like doesn't mean you won't enjoy another.
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