9 Lame Excuses that Keep People away from Yoga.

Via Claudia Azula Altucher
on Dec 27, 2010
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Have you ever heard someone tell you that they would like to start a yoga practice but: “fill in the blank”? Excuses seem to abound.

A friend of mine recently asked me about the common excuses I have heard and even though at first I didn’t want to think about it, I confess that eventually I found a certain almost evil pleasure in coming up with the list,  had so much fun I even made a video with extra excuses that are not even in it:

What is your excuse?

1.-I do not know the poses

When my uncle (who is now 60) was about to attend his first day of school he hid under the bed and cried because: “he did not know how to write or read”.  I found that cute, provided that we are six years old, of course.

2.-I do not want to take my shirt off

My husband seems to keep this one in high regard but there is no need to take anything off.  Most of the men in class keep a short and a t-shirt on, some get over heated and take the top off, but there is no code of conduct that determines weather one has to wear one. Husband update: he has started yoga and loves it.

3.-I am not flexible

The guru of Ashtanga, Pattabhi Jois,  said it all when he utter these words: “Body is not stiff, mind is stiff”.  You can hear it with an Indian accent, it sounds more profound.

4.-I do not want to chant

Fair enough, many classes start with one simple Aum at the beginning. Ashtanga yoga has a whole chant, but not all styles adhere to this.  Also noticing our feelings around things that make us uncomfortable is a great meditation. For example: can we remain equanimous? Who would have thought that through this we can get started with our work on the other branches of yoga?  Transcend the poses and reach higher.

5.-I want a real workout

I can understand this.  Some yoga classes are very slow, but not all of them are like that, there is a class for every level of intensity, flexibility and courage (if I dare say so).  Just playing the DVD of Mark Darby for example, the one with the primary series,  is work, a lot of work. Try it if you do not believe me, just the standing sequence is enough to get the blood, muscles and the breath going.

6.-I am not fit enough

Yeah, nothing to worry about, we are all very self conscios and nobody thinks they are fit enough anyway, so coming along is a show of camaraderie.

7.-I do not have the money

Yoga can be practiced at home with a dvd that costs no more than 20 dollars or so. Classes of course are a great way to get corrections and inspiration and, if possible, always recommended. NYC features the 10 dollar class, and there is a “yoga by donation” initiative in many major cities.  Online classes are popping up everywhere with fantastic deals, if you find a good place let me know.

8.-I have no time

There are short classes, especially in gyms.  You can also leave classes earlier, although teachers tend not to like that, but you can make an arrangement.  People in the yoga world understand, they are approachable.  If you do happen to leave a class early always remember to do savasana (corpse/relaxation pose) before re-entering normal paced life, your nervous system will thank you with extra years of life.

9- It will take years for me to do any of those impressive asanas
Maybe, maybe not.  There are a few really cool looking asanas that can be mastered rather quickly, for example: The whole Sun Salutation sequence or even the shoulder-stands. I know it “looks” difficult, but it is not, and pretty much every class includes an attempt, so you will build up fast and impress the yogi out of all your friends.

I do not have excuses myself anymore, I love my yoga practice, but here are 21 things I wish I knew before I started practicing Ashtanga.


About Claudia Azula Altucher

Claudia Azula Altucher has studied yoga for a long time. Her only focus these past eight years has been on Ashtanga through which she studied at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India (three study visits so far), and at Centered Yoga in Thailand (focus on practice, philosophy and pranayama). Currently she studies at Pure Yoga in NYC. She has taught yoga classes in both Spanish and English. She is also the Author of: 21 Things To Know Before Starting an Ashtanga Yoga Practice (you can get a free PDF at her blog). She writes daily at ClaudiaYoga.com And you can follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ClaudiaYoga


27 Responses to “9 Lame Excuses that Keep People away from Yoga.”

  1. Love this, Claudia. I think you just created a new Yoga education genre with this video!

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  2. Thank you Bob, honored to have created such a genre! 🙂

  3. Well put monkeywithglasses… wow, that is quite a name! I like the way you talk to "Ego", yeah, nice one!

  4. I never have the "this isn't hard enough" and although I am still very new to yoga, I find my ass kicked halfway through my session. As per party tricks, I could do them when I was younger…all I ever got out of it was a few free beers.

    John http://www.greatplainsbuddha.com

  5. yogaaddict says:

    I enjoyed this with my kids tonight. We dont usually share yoga so this was special. Thanks!

  6. Me neither! I always come out of yoga class in "yoga coma" 🙂

  7. How sweet!, thanks for telling me 🙂

  8. grimmly says:

    Loved this Claudia, so your saying I WONT be subjected to group hugs? Well I may just go to class after all….. please say I'm ready, please, please, please…..

  9. Hee hee you make me laugh Grmmly… You definitely break all molds with your incredible practice and blog…

  10. arturo says:

    Dear Claudia, where is, "my back hurts"? i was one of those "don't want to take the shirt off" people, specially since all my life I had an innertube around the waist. But your list is classic.

  11. Thank you Arturo! "My back hurts" is a good one

  12. […] about starting a yoga practice but need a little bit of a sense of humor kick to get you started check out these lame excuses that keep people away from yoga. Claudia Azula Altucher has studied yoga for over ten years in the traditions of Iyegar, […]

  13. James says:

    Whats better. Weightlifting 3 times a week or yoga?

  14. James, don't get me started! well, OK, I guess for some people weightlifitng is more fun, I will not try to convince anyone, all I know is how great yoga has been for me, so I will go with yoga, mostly because it does not just transform the body but also the whole of life in a positive way… For example, yoga has the whole cleansing routine going for it, the nutrition part etc etc… it is not an isolated workout it is a way of life 🙂

  15. My opinion–you need both, especially if you're playing sports. (I do Yoga and highly targeted weight training for tennis.)

    If you have to choose one or the other, Yoga hands-down. I don't think there's any way to get the same well-rounded conditioning with weights alone, unless you combine it with a near-yoga comprehensive stretching program, and then you're really doing both anyway.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  16. Bob, true, I have heard lots of practitioners who do yoga and then other sports too, they can compliment, good point. I did not know you did targeted weight training as well, very interesting.

    One teacher once told me, for example for those who run, that yoga will help the running, but running will not help yoga, I find that in many cases the stretching provided in weight lifting or other sports is not necesarily sufficient, just like you say, "yoga hands down" it is much more well rounded 🙂

  17. YesuDas says:

    "You can hear it with an Indian accent, it sounds more profound." Love it! When I'm trying to decide whether some Christian aphorism or slogan is trite or profound, I substitute "Buddha" for "Jesus;" if it still sounds trite or saccharine, I conclude that it is; if it suddenly sounds deep, I regroup.

    This is a great list–thanks

  18. Thanks YesuDas, glad you liked it 🙂

  19. BenRiggs says:

    The video is amazing! I do not know what my deal is. I like yoga… When I have done it. But it is something I have a hard time sticking with. I like the effects on the way I feel. Any suggestions?

  20. Ben, thank you, what a deep question, almost worth another post!!! My feeling is that it has to be the right practice and the right teacher, when a connection is established and the practice shows results right away (which it can) then it just becomes something we want to do! Are you in Boulder? cause if you are, there is a gem there, a teacher whom I consider the most incredible yoga adept in the world is right there, Richard Freeman…

    Also, some of my male friends have really liked the hot yoga thing… me I am more of an Ashtangi but some men seem to like the heat right away…

    OK, I know I am turning into a long comment here, I just feel passionate about this 🙂

  21. BenRiggs says:

    I am not in Boulder… Actually I am in the opposite of Boulder, Shreveport… Yoga is not a big deal down here, and as a result there aren't many teachers to choose from.

  22. Hmmm… forgive my ignorance I do not know where Shreveport is, I looked in google maps and three seems to be on in Texas and one in LA, maybe more, in which state is Shreveport? I am curious about it, but you dont have to answer if you do not feel like it, I totally understand if you dont and I am cool

  23. Yeah, I see what you mean… Well, if you ever happen to take a drive out west into New Orleans, feel free to visit Jessica at Balanced Yoga, you can tell her we met here. I knew about her cause she used to teach in Thailand where I did teacher training, and she commented on my article on the 21 things I wish I knew before I started Ashtanga. If I was to go to New Orleans I would definitelly stop by… maybe something to keep in mind… http://www.balanceyogawellness.com/teachers/teach

    One last thing I started with a DVD of ashtanga the one from Mark Darby, and loved it, it is such a challenge to build up to the primary series…

    No pressure, BUT if you ever decide to go for it please do write to me, I always love to hear stories of people getting on the ashtanga path… but only if you want to


  24. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kelli Harrington. Kelli Harrington said: Stop making excuses and get on the mat! http://lnk.ms/JS1hx […]

  25. […] then uses the example of writing a book to emphasize how people procrastinate with a million excuses. Waiting for something to happen in order to get busy, waiting for something or someone else to […]

  26. Patric says:

    Got this one last week: “I am too stressed to take yoga”.

    And my all-time favorite when a student wanted an extension on her expired class pass: “But you have to understand, I had to go on vacation”.