There's no shortage of yoga success stories touting the seemingly infinite benefits of yoga. Practitioners everywhere will probably tell you how profoundly impactful and even life-changing yoga has been for them, and why you've got to give it a try because it will change your life, too.
Maybe you've tried yoga once or twice, but you were unable to experience the same mind-blowing takeaways. Did yoga leave you feeling kind of "meh," and you're still not understanding what all the fuss is about?
If so, do you think it's the yoga? Well, there's also a chance that maybe it's just you.
Here are five reasons why yoga just isn't working for you and what to do about it:
1. You're not carving out enough time.
When starting to dabble into the practice, 10-15 minutes daily is more practical (and easier) to maintain, than trying to force yourself into a 90-minute class once a week, which you can never seem to make.
I know this because I've been there. When I worked full-time in a corporate job, I used to swear up and down that NOTHING will keep me from that 90-minute weekend class which I'd anxiously await from Monday to Friday. However, when the weekend finally rolled around, somehow “something” always came up.
This was actually just my lack of interest in taking precious time from my one free day a week to fulfill another obligation, even if it was to better myself. So I advise to try to keep it simple: do a few simple poses at home every day and breathe deeply. There are also thousands of great quality yoga videos you can stream online to help guide you. Stick with a short routine first, then build slowly from there.
2. You don't vibe with the teacher.
But before you give up on yoga altogether, consider the fact that not everybody will vibe with your personality. Also totally OK! Every teacher is unique and can vary greatly from one to the next. Explore other names in the industry and keep trying new teachers until you find the right, natural fit.
It sounds a little bizarre, but we all have a favorite boss/manager, dentist, doctor, bartender, restaurant server, hair stylist, etc., so obviously no matter what the industry, personalities matter! Yoga is no different. You have the power of choice, so don't be afraid to “shop around.”
3. You chose the wrong yoga style.
Similarly to that last point, not all yoga is created equal. Find a style that compliments and balances your personality. If you feel antsy and absolutely need to move your body and sweat, going to a yoga Nidra or restorative class might feel awkward and unfulfilling.
But if the heavens part and angels sing when you finish a vinyasa or Ashtanga class, then keep doing that! Stick with what you enjoy and you'll eventually find yourself branching out as your practice evolves. But first you've got to let go of the pressure to be something that you're not. This of course applies to your life off the mat, too.
4. It's too expensive for you.
If you're stressing about the cost of your monthly membership so much that it makes you cringe every time you walk in to the studio, then it's time to reevaluate. A $100+ a month membership isn't chump change! Don't hesitate to pull the plug, there's no need to spend all of your money on yoga if it's not within your budget. Instead ditch the costly fee and find some free classes online or pick up a few less expensive ones instead.
Many studios in your community also offer donation based or sliding-scale classes, to welcome all students instead of alienating them. You'll keep your good-for-you habit without breaking the bank. It's a win-win.
Don't give up on your visions of yoga grandeur until you've explored (and maybe exhausted) all of your options. Remember that every experience is different, and your practice ultimately needs to fit who you truly are. You don't have to change a thing about yourself in order to participate.
5. You just don't like it.
If you really don't like coming to your mat every day and it doesn't feel great, it's not going to do you any good no matter how much you try to force it.
Why not explore an alternative that actually does make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? There's no need to feel guilty about breaking it off with yoga, maybe it's just not the right time for you to start a relationship with it. Teachers and enthusiasts will swear it's for everyone, but some people either need more time to be convinced, or just need to revisit it at a different time in life to really connect with the practice. And that's totally OK.