10 Reasons Why It's Not Yoga Unless You Sweat
Psych! This is what I really think:
1. A yoga session does not have to be 90 minutes of Bikram to “count.”
2. A yoga session does not have to be one hour to “count”…or in a studio…or with other people. (Who’s counting anyway?) Sometimes the best yoga “session” only lasts 3 to 20 minutes.
3. Yoga is what you want it to be - an entire lifestyle, one hour a month, or something in between.
4. You don’t have to sweat during yoga. In fact, you don’t even have to move to be “doing” yoga. The postures are actually to prepare your body for meditation so you're not squirming around the whole time while you’re sitting on your little pillow thinking, "What the eff is my left ankle doing on top of my right thigh? That feels weird. Oh yeah, focus on my third eye."
5. Ok, “but we like the asanas!” you say. Super, do those yoga poses. And sweating is ok, you just don’t have to sweat. Besides, even if you’re only in it for the physical benefits, me thinks you might stumble across some pretty cool emotional and spiritual stuff, too. I’ve heard more stories about this happening than I can count; bringing me to my next point.
6. Even “meat-heads” can do yoga. Case in point: me. I used to be a Marine. My time in the Corps was when I went from doing yoga purely to gain flexibility for cross-training as a warrior-athlete, to doing it in Iraq in order to survive spiritually and mentally. I didn’t even have to try to make the switch. It just happened one day - on the mat.
7. If you’re breathing hard, you’re probably doing something wrong (unless “breathing hard” means doing ujjayi or lion’s breath…go ahead, stick your tongue out). Other than that, no mouth-breathers allowed.
8. The student (that’s you) may inadvertently end up becoming the teacher. In fact, try taking yourself through a practice sometime and see what happens. It might just be the best yoga of your life. Even as a teacher, I get sucked in the comfort of a video or class too often when I know my biggest breakthroughs happen when I’m outdoors, by myself. (You don’t have to be Yoga Alliance certified to teach yourself, by the way. My boyfriend who has been doing yoga sporadically for about 6 months took himself through his own practice (no DVD, no teacher, no music) a few weeks ago and said it was one of the best experiences of his life.)
9. Did I mention that boys do yoga, too? In fact, way back in the day - that’s a Wednesday - women weren’t allowed to do yoga! Say what?! The dudes are usually the ones sweating the most, though.
10. Nobody owns yoga.
Bonus #11. Just Roll With It! Get on the mat and try. It’ll be ok; I promise. Laugh. Cry. Smile. Fart. Grumble. Fall over. You can always try again.