How to Like Yoga

Woman doing yoga on a wooden floorThe idea for today’s post came from a search engine query that lead someone to this site last month.

I will only make one assumption about this query. My best guess is that it was created by someone who has tried yoga in the past, did not enjoy, and wishes they could find a way to change that.

With that assumption in mind, here are some ideas.

 

Try Other Types of Yoga

Did you know there are many different styles of yoga? I’ve read articles that mention as few as eight and as many as twenty-four depending on how strictly one defines a style.

Vinyasa yoga is athletic and aerobic.

Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, happens in a hot, humid room. Students are expected to make their own adjustments instead of relying on the instructor to help them achieve the right pose.

Ashtanga yoga is energetic. It involves memorizing a specific series of moves and then performing them without any coaching from the instructor. This is best for experienced people.

Yin yoga is slow paced, meditative, and involves a lot of seated positions. This is a good choice fo beginners or anyone who may not be up for the more athletic poses of other types of yoga.

Kundalini yoga is both spiritual and physical. It includes chanting, singing, and breathing exercises.

This list is only scratching the surface. Yoga can be a calm, contemplative experience, a gruelling workout, or many other things depending on which style one chooses and what they want to get out of it.

 

Try It Again

three women doing yogaDisliking any form of exercise the first few times doesn’t necessarily mean that someone will never get used to it.

Weightlifting wasn’t something I enjoyed that much when I first started out with it. I’ll save the specific details of this for a post coming up next week, but I needed time to figure out how to tweak the things I disliked about it and lean into the stuff I did until I learned to enjoy it quite a bit.

 

Try It Under Ideal Conditions

For example:

  • wear comfortable clothing
  • avoid poses that causes pain
  • choose simple poses
  • pick an environment as quiet (or noisy) as you prefer

Sometimes one can grow to like a form of exercise if they ease into it. The rules are there to guide people, not to be followed so strictly they suck all of the enjoyment out of exercising.

 

Try a New Instructor

flexible young asian man doing balancing asana during hatha yoga trainingAll of the yoga I’ve done so far has been at home while watching various instructional videos on the topic. Thank goodness for Youtube.

One time I stopped a new routine within a few moments of checking it out because the instructor’s style didn’t mesh well with me at all. (Although I’m sure there are many other people out there who like their style!)

There’s definitely something to be said or trying several different instructors for a type of yoga that may or may not be the right one for a particular person.

 

Try another Format

Covid-19 makes certain parts of this difficult at the moment, of course, but I think there’s something to be said for comparing an in-person yoga class to online videos or books on the subject.

Some people learn best if they have an instructor nearby to correct their movements.

Having the ability to pause a video while figuring out where on Earth to put their feet next might work better for someone else.

Others might prefer to read all about the various types of yoga they’re thinking about doing before they try a new pose no matter how simple or difficult it might seem to be at first.

 

Try A Different Form of Exercise

A black skipping ropeThe possibility also exists that yoga isn’t the right form of exercise for the person who sent in this query.

I love the idea of running. It’s a form of exercise I’ve tried to get into multiple times, but I’ve never been able to stick to it because of how much I dislike the way it feels. Jogging hurts my joints and lungs in ways that I can’t ignore or push through.

On the other hand, I could go on a brisk walk or a swim for an hour and still have the energy to keep going.

In order to be sustainable, I believe that everyone should pick the forms of exercise they can find something enjoyable about. Few people are going to stick to a fitness routine that they dread doing, especially in the longterm.

There are many other types of exercise out there that might be a better fit for a specific person. It’s totally okay to realize that yoga isn’t one’s cup of tea.

4 Responses to How to Like Yoga

  1. I wasn’t looking for new ways to help me like yoga, but I benefited from it anyway! Thanks for the list at the top, especially. I knew about some of them, but I *hadn’t* heard of yin yoga… which I think would be the perfect one for me.

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