Your Lulus are still at the dry cleaners? You’re waiting until you’re caught up on episodes of Orange Is The New Black until you return to your practice? Bitch please (by the way, bitch please is a term we only use with friends when trying to express playful incredulity. No egos were harmed in the making of this title. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.)
As teachers and students, we have all heard these excuses when suggesting a friend try yoga, or encouraging a student to return. While some reasons are valid (like recovering from an injury) most are simple excuses. Sometimes they are used to get us off their back. Other times they are used to comfort their own inability to face the truth: they just don’t feel like doing yoga. In both instances, we prefer the truth. But, we also prefer free coffee, world peace, and vegetarian options in restaurants that aren’t pasta…
Here are five excuses we hear most often:
Bitch please! We’ve both founded yoga studios based on accessibility with most classes costing just $5. And yet still, we hear this one a lot—usually from people holding a mocha latte and a fashion magazine in their freshly manicured fingers. When we suggested they attend class and stay after to sweep the floors in exchange for the price of the class they all agreed…and no one ever showed up.
This is the worst excuse yoga teachers hear. Almost every studio offers work exchange for classes. There are many studios that offer community classes that are donation based. There are also a multitude of free instructional videos on YouTube and other websites. Having a limited budget is not a valid reason to skip your practice!
This is what we mean by an excuse. There is no intention to ever go to a yoga class. What theses folks really mean is “Can you come to my house, drag me out of bed, and give me a private lesson where you move my body for me for those interested, its called Thai yoga massage) whenever it is most convenient for me…and all for free?”
I’m not thin/flexible/fit enough:
Bitch please! That’s why you do yoga! What next? You won’t eat because you’re hungry? You won’t use the bathroom because of…oh never mind, you get the point.
Look. We get it. It’s intimidating to walk into a yoga class full of thin, flexible, and, fit folks. But the truth is once class starts, no one is looking at you. When the practice begins, students are focused on their own issues.
Many people comment on our strength and flexibility, how easy we make some poses look. What you don’t see is us crying on the inside when we get into those poses or how some days those poses are impossible. What you don’t see are the years we spent working toward something, often failing and falling over and over again. Or the years we’ve spent face down on a yoga mat, crying or frustrated, because the practice was so brutal and hard, and why was I the one fat and inflexible person in a packed room of contortionist super models? Yeah, we’ve been there too.
And it’s in these instances where your mind fucks with you that you realize what the practice is really about; shutting out the external world, and then the internal dialogue of your ego, and trying to get back to our true Self.
And if a studio or gym makes you uncomfortable for any reason, find another. Yoga isn’t hard to find, and there are studios and classes that want you.
Bitch please! You aren’t Cinderella, and a yoga class isn’t a ball. You want fashion week? Go to Paris. While some choose to spend a fortune on yoga clothes and accessories, it is entirely unnecessary. Oh, and wearing $300 worth of yoga gear to class does not improve your practice…no seriously, some Hungarian scientists studied this and the results were pretty clear.
Ladies, you can get an entire yoga outfit (including underwear, sports bra, leggings and tank top) for about $10. (This is what Maya does and no, she is not cheap—just a full-time yoga teacher.) There are also a lot of affordable options for men.
Yes, men are at a disadvantage at finding yoga appropriate clothing but its not usually guys who offer this excuse (their excuse is next). Dudes can always just wear the shorts and tank tops they’d wear to go running or play basketball in anyway. So get you ass to class fellas!
Just make sure that whatever you it wear does not constrict movement (or blood flow!), and make sure your pink bits aren’t on display. Yes, wardrobe malfunctions do happen, but loose shorts and no undies means your teacher will get a good look at your giblets, and we just don’t get paid enough for that! However, your proctologist/gynecologist/waxing professional does.
Bitch please! And yeah guys, we’re talking to you! Often men are under the impression that yoga is a sorority and, in so many studios it is. We’ve walked into studios awash in pinks and purples, where the estrogen was so thick it felt like walking into a giant vagina. And that’s before you get to the sneering “what are you doing here Mr. Intruder?” looks which would do the old East German border guards proud.
While yoga in America is dominated by women (and some women that want to keep it that way), the truth is that modern yoga was developed for men. So if you check out a studio that makes you feel as unwelcome as a tax collector, keep looking. Again, there are classes out there that want you.
Bitch please! Where do you live, Antarctica? Oh wait, they have yoga there too! If you live in a big U.S. or Canadian city, you’ve got to be kidding. This one is a lot like our first excuse. In most cities and suburbs there are a multitude of classes being offered at studios, gyms, YMCA’s, community centers and elsewhere. And class times vary as widely as their locations. If you truly want to find a class, you’ll find a way to do it.
We’ve had students ask for 5 A.M. classes, and when asked if they woke up at 4 A.M. they replied, “No, but I’d love to have a reason to get up that early.” This is the compounded excuse.This also means that they are never going to get up in time for that class, or for any other reason. So, you want us to wake up early and wait for you? Because, you might show up? If your alarm goes off and you don’t sleep through it? Sorry, but, we don’t like getting up early either, especially if you’re not committed enough to show up!
For those that live in small towns with few yoga offerings, there are DVD’s and internet videos available. These are a good place to start. And if the practice becomes more important to you, you’ll be surprised at how willing you will be to changing your schedule and budget to accommodate your practice.
We all have time and money for what is truly important to us. And if yoga is important to you, you’ll find the money, time, wardrobe, confidence and welcoming space to help develop your practice.
C’mon, this isn’t days of yore when you could not be trained in yoga until you had been tested by a guru…waiting outside of his door every day for a months on end fasting, wearing sackcloth and ashes, until you were deemed worthy.
The ancient yogis had no possessions, no mats, nor straps or blocks, and often no clothing. What they had was a sincere desire to learn, grow, and transform. All you really need to practice yoga is that same desire.
About Maya Devi Georg
Maya Georg is a much loved for inviting and challenging students to move into a more advanced practice in all aspects; meditation, asana, pranayama, bhakti, etc. As someone who could not even touch her toes when she started into yoga in 1999, she is living proof in the transformative power of the practice. She has studied with Dharma Mittra, Swami Bua, Yogia Gupta and Swami Chetanananda. Having founded Sani Yoga in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2009, (where she also served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of New Mexico) she taught thousands of students in yoga as well as conducting her own yoga teacher trainings which left a lasting legacy of highly skilled and authentic teachers. She has taught in New York City, sometimes substituting Shri Dharma Mittra’s classes. She’s worked with students as young as 4 years old to 95 years old, performers of Cirque du Soleil and expectant mothers. The settings in which she has taught is just as varied as her student base, teaching in NYC public schools, yoga studios, universities, gyms and the conference rooms in office buildings. Now in Portland, OR, she continues to teach private lessons and workshops all over the United States and Europe. She is a regular contributor to both YOGANONYMOUS and Elephant Journal.