Yoga for people who hate yoga

woman doing a yoga pose

Mia Woolrich

Posted September 20, 2021


 

In these crazy, stressful times, it could be argued that now is the perfect time to chase the mood-boosting properties of yoga. 

The benefits of yoga are endless, from improving cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and mobility, to helping back and joint pain, reducing stress and inflammation, and maybe the best of all: improving your mood. 

Despite all these amazing benefits, you’re not alone if you’re just not into yoga. For many people, the idea of contorting your body into weird shapes in a room full of sweaty people while being reminded to breathe sounds like torture.

Maybe it’s the skin-tight outfits. Or perhaps it’s the chanting, the offerings, the Namaste’ing that turns you off. Whatever the reason, it’s fair enough just not to be that excited about yoga, but couldn’t we all use a little mood booster?

Here are some tips for making the practice work for you.


How to get into yoga

See yoga through a different lens

If you're a science-minded person and the spiritual wishy-washiness of yoga doesn't appeal to you, try changing your perspective. Approaching the practice through the lens of science might be the answer for you. There's an abundance of online and print information about yoga's anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Understanding the science behind yoga might help you to view the practice in a new light. 

Another thing that puts people off yoga is the pre-conception of what a 'yogi' looks like. In reality, there's no such thing as a 'yoga body'. Yoga is for everyone of all shapes and sizes, and you don't need the flexibility and mobility of a child to get into the practice. Check out a local beginner's class, and you'll no doubt find yourself in a room full of real bodies that all wiggle, jiggle, struggle and sweat.  

a man doing yoga stretches

Yoga is for every body of all shapes, sizes and abilities. 


 

Shop around to find what fits for you

Yoga is definitely not a one-size-fits-all practice. There are many types of yoga, from Vinyasa (where you ‘flow’ between poses) to Bikram (where you hold a series of postures in a hot room) and so many in between. 

Most seasoned yogis have their own preferred practice, and all would tell you that the key is finding what works for you. Try giving a few different types a chance and discover what feels best for you. Whether at a local yoga studio or home via YouTube (Yoga with Adrienne is a great place to start), explore a little and have fun with the process of discovering something new. The most popular for beginners include Hatha, Vinyasa, Power Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, and Yin.

Still not finding your jam? These days, yoga has been taken to a whole different level. Try checking out whether there’s a Hip-Hop Yoga, DDP Yoga (if you're into an ex-wrestler turned yogi) Aerial Yoga, even a Nude Yoga studio near you.

Make it your own

There’s no need to squeeze into skin-tight outfits to practise yoga, nor do you need to be up at sunrise to salute the sun on your mat. The key to making the practice work for you is by making it your own. If you have a hectic schedule, don’t be intimidated by the 90-minute classes out there. Just getting on the mat for 20 minutes before work will allow you to reap the benefits.

If you want to use yoga as a way to disconnect from the world, try making a Youtube or live streamed class more personal: dim the lights, light a candle, and get into something comfy.

If exercise is a social thing for you, why not hit a class with another newbie friend? The main thing is to understand what you want to get out of your yoga practice and tailor it to suit your needs.

Overall, yes, the world of yoga can seem intimidating at first, and maybe you’ve even tried a couple of classes and declared that it just isn’t your thing. But hopefully, with a change of perspective, a little trial and error, and personal touch, you may just find the right fit for you.

And remember, it’s called a yoga practice…the yoga mat is a place to let go of expectations, take chances, make mistakes, learn something new, and have a little fun.


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