Confessions of a Yoga Dropout

By , SparkPeople Blogger
There are things that a "healthy" or "fit" person is just expected to do. Go to the gym. Consume copious amounts of water. Run several miles a day. You know what I'm talking about. Sometimes people are shocked to find out that I don't do everything that is expected of me. "What! You don't drink TEA?!" they say. (You must be from another planet if you don't like tea, I've learned.)

"No, I just don't like the taste," I explain, announcing my alien status. I like drinks that are either plain (water) or full-flavored, not some degree of light flavor in between the two. I have tried countless varieties of tea over the years, and they have equally made me want to gag. I love how it smells! I feel like I should be a "tea person" since it fits my persona, but it just isn't for me. Ultimately, I stopped trying to develop a taste for it just so I could add a few more antioxidants to my diet. I think my antioxidant levels are just fine.

"What about yoga. You do yoga, right?"

"No." In fact, yoga is the exercise version of tea for me.

I have tried to like yoga. I have really, really tried. Over the years, I've tested countless DVDs. I've taken classes from various instructors and different gyms. I even took a yoga class in college as part of my physical education credits. Usually, as soon as the music starts and the instructor wants me to think about breathing, I'm mentally somewhere else. It's not that I don't want to enjoy it. I often try really hard to take it seriously and focus the way I'm instructed to, but ultimately, I fail in my pursuit.

It's not that the instructors are bad. It's not that the workouts are too easy or too challenging, although I've experienced both. I think, for me, it's the stillness, the repetition, the atmosphere and the mental concentration. It's all so boring to me!

Like many people, I could probably benefit from the meditation, focus, and stretching you experience in yoga, but after trying it hundreds of times over the last 10 years, should I keep forcing the issue? It's sort of like drinking tea. Why should I force myself to like it just because I "should" or just because I am interested in the benefits it may offer? Stretching, stress relief, balance, mind-body connection—I already incorporate all of those components into my jam-packed workout schedule. While I still try yoga from time to time, open to the idea that I could change my mind about it someday, I have come to terms with the fact that I will probably never love it, even though I think it has done great things for countless people.

A couple weeks ago, I tried Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown DVD, which Stepfanie (our resident yogi) recently reviewed. I enjoyed Jillian's take on yoga more than the traditional yoga workouts I've tried, but it was still a little blah to me. Not even Jillian Michaels can turn yoga into the kind of workout I want to do! (It's not her, it's me.) More recently, I attended a workshop and earned certification in PiYo, a Pilates-yoga fusion class from the makers of Turbo Kick. It isn't just yoga or just Pilates (although my deep love of Pilates is no secret), but it borrows concepts, exercises and poses from both forms of exercise (and others) to create a faster paced, more athletically challenging workout in which you're always on the move, never holding still. I loved my PiYo experience and can't wait to do more of it. To me, it's perfect for the exerciser who wants a physical challenge and likes the idea of yoga, but just doesn't "get" the traditional yoga workouts. Now THIS is one kind of "yoga" I could get into!

My point is that you may never fit perfectly into the mold of what a fit person "should" do. You may never like broccoli. You may never become a runner. You may never return to your high school weight. While you shouldn't give up just because something is hard--everything is hard when you're new to it--you know yourself best. If you tried and tried again and still feel that something just isn't for you, that's OK. Accept it. I will never be a tea drinker and will probably never become a yoga aficionado, but I'm OK with that. Healthy living is about balance and it should be enjoyable! How else are you going to stick with it for the rest of your life? Find the things that DO work for you and you'll do great—with or without super flexible hamstrings!

Are you into yoga or are you a yoga dropout like me? What's one healthy thing you've tried to like but just can't come to terms with? 

See more: fitness confession yoga