Years ago, I fell in love with yoga. For the first time in a decade, I’d found a way to exercise that didn’t make me want to binge eat Trader Joe’s mochi. Finally, I had a hobby that wasn't "seeing friends for brunch on Saturday and droning on for hours about my latest drama." Oh, and there were other benefits, too: I slept better, got stronger, and didn’t have to inhale that weird rubber-mat smell at the gym.
I was so excited about yoga that I wanted everyone I loved to try it. Sadly, my zeal had the opposite effect. If I was a representation of what yoga could do to a person, my friends and family wanted nothing to do with it.
Let me help you learn from my mistakes. Here are some surefire ways to scare your friends and family away from yoga:
1. Quote the most bizarre thing your yoga teacher said during class.
I love my yoga teachers. Sometimes they say things I’d never hear in real life, like “let’s all roar to the lions” or “move the flesh away from your sits bones” or “breathe into your left lung.”
And while these statements (usually) make sense in a 90-minute class, they can sound like nonsense when taken out of context. Non-yogis already worry that yoga can be cultish, and you feed this fear when you inform your friends that "daddy issues are stored in the hips."
2. Demonstrate headstand to your senior citizen mother.
You can’t convince someone that “everyone can do yoga” while balancing upside down on your head. Why did I think my mom (who had a knee injury, by the way) would fall in love with yoga when she saw me invert? Did I eat too much gluten and inflame my brain? My mom already has the impression that yoga is Cirque du Soleil for busy people, and it didn’t matter what I told her about “gentle stretching” or “restorative poses” after that stupid headstand.
3. Describe, in vivid detail, an emotional breakthrough you had during savasana.
4. Demand to know why they won’t try yoga.
While “researching” this post, I realized I didn’t know why, exactly, my husband doesn’t do yoga. He claims to be very happy with his soccer team, but what, specifically, is stopping him from yoga? It has clearly done wonders for me!!! I had no choice but to begin a harsh line of questioning on a Sunday afternoon about his lack of asana. Needless to say, he has not touched a yoga mat.
5. Use the word Namaste as often as possible.
If there is one word that has come to epitomize the new-agey weirdness that seems to exist in every yoga parody, it’s Namaste. Everyone who knows nothing about yoga knows Namaste. The moment you innocently utter these three syllables outside the studio, you validate every other stereotype your loved ones have about the practice.
6. Get preachy about lifestyle change.
It’s never cool to be preachy, but it’s especially annoying when your focus is on other people’s shortcomings, like how they’re eating dead animals. And if you can imagine anything more obnoxious, it’s doing so right after a yoga class, when you’re clearly parroting the teacher's opinions.
7. Suggest that yoga could cure their ailment.
While your insomnia/back pain may have improved after practicing yoga, this does not mean that your friends now regard you as a medical expert. (This is so hard to accept, but we must.)
8. Let them find out your juice cost $10.
Friends and family already worry about how much you shelled out for moisture-wicking yoga pants, and when you drop $10 on juice, without warning, you assure them that you’ve lost your mind. I know juicing is worth it (Good Lord is it worth it!), but I can’t expect others to get there right away. I’m not saying hide who you are, or lie, but maybe … don’t flaunt your green juice.
9. Start dressing just like your yoga teacher.
I get it. Yoga teachers look like they're living in a perma state of zen. That's attractive! But when you suddenly swap your jeans and T-shirt for flowy white tunics and mala beads, friends and family don’t think Cool, she’s found her passion! Isn't she enlightened? What they think is, Why is Kerry tying scarves around her forehead? We’ve lost her!
10. Insist they'll love it. To prove your point, say, "We chant for 15 minutes at the start of every class!"
If you want your loved ones to love yoga, you probably already know what to do: be quiet, let your newfound joy do the talking, and offer to bring them to yoga class IF and ONLY IF they say something like, “I’d really like to start exercising. Do you have any ideas?”
Or so I’ve heard.
I’m working on it. After all, it’s a practice. Which is why someday, I'll be able to breathe into my left lung.