I have a confession to make, in fact it seems I have already made it in typing the title which brought you here. I hate yoga. Full Stop AND Period. Hate is not a word I use often, nor do I use it without careful consideration. Therefore I thought best to expand upon exactly why this ‘system of exercises for mental and physical health’ ironically has me lapsing into a blind fury.
- I look a numpty
I don’t think I would ever be classified as ‘graceful’ either in movement or demeanour so in yoga I often feel give off the air of one experiencing a counter-cultural gravitational pull i.e. in the opposite direction to everyone else. Ultimately it gives my machismo a solid bash every time I’m there – especially when I find my self behind some super supple Stretch Armstrong with 4% Body Fat.
Self Image concerns can be the most crippling of all barriers to picking up a new skill.
2.) I couldn’t tell you the first thing about an Ashram
I got into Yoga because I’m ridiculously stiff and inflexible – I’ve never been drawn to meditation, chanting or any of the other connected practices (I basically have enough addictions/intense passions in my life without incorporating those too). It’s clear when you turn up to any yoga class, however, that there are those that live and breathe yoga, thinking nothing of rattling off the nuances between Vinyasa and Ashtanga to anyone who fancies listening over a Green Tea infusion. They get the culture, they get the origins, they can give you an impressively hard lecture if you were to share any doubts about the merits of a particularly tricky lunge.
It’s so easy to look at others who are more skilled, knowledgeable or experienced at something and have that put you off – nobody likes having their ego take a bashing, after all.
3.) I struggle to overcome the physical restrictions of breathing through my ankle
I did work hard at biology at school and, even now, can easily explain the scientific definition of Osmosis verbatim but there are certain depths of knowledge to which I did not plummet and once was exactly how you were able to breathe through/into a hip/ankle/shoulder. In fact once asked to do it in one of my first classes, the mere notion of its physical impossibility triggered my first asthma attack since the late 90s. Turns out you don’t actually need to breathe through that body part, more of a focus point, but nobody told me that.
Whatever new environment you come into, there is often some jargon that makes those on the inside feel peachy and rosy, but to the untrained ear can make you feel all the more ostracised and maybe even a little insecure.
4.) I’m not entirely sure that my Chakras need a good rinse
I take no shame in saying that I am, as the Aussies would helpfully abbreviate, more than a little ‘Spiro’. I’m super interested in human spirituality/expression, especially as an offshoot of Christian theology, but am always a little nervous about chanting blessings over my self when I don’t know what they actually mean. I liken it to the spiritual equivalent of asking for the Chinese symbol for ‘Joy’ to be tattooed on your skin when there is a distinct possibility that it actually means ‘Curry Puff’.
There will always be elements of new practices, skills or challenges that you take on that may jar with you on some level but the fact of the matter is you don’t ever need to swallow everything whole-meal. It comes down to what benefits you want to derive out of things then choosing to focus on just that.
So what am I ultimately saying then?
Hate is an incredibly powerful emotion. However, like most emotions, it is often the symptom of something much deeper. The important, and sometimes messy, part is to try and work out why you feel the way you feel – often I’ve realised that my dislike for things or people has very little to do with them at all and far more to do with me. So much so, that I now know that if someone royally gets on my wick from the get-go, they will likely to be be playing a very significant (if uncomfortable) part in my life in the future.
So my loathing of yoga actually centres around self-image, ego, discomfort in being excluded and a little bit of a reticence to accept spiritual practices I know little about. Roger. So does it mean I’ll be stopping? Heck no. I’m fiercely competitive and refuse to be beaten by anything. Plus it’s good for my Stiff-As-Tin-Man-On-An-Ironing-Board-Body.
My question to you is what do YOU hate?
Try and go on a similar exercise to the above and work out what sits behind that? Maybe even do it with a friend as your filter, so as to avoid a.) being too hard on your self or b.) inspecting that navel little too hard. There is a balance to be struck but actually addressing that ‘one thing ‘could give you the killer advantage you’re after in live, relationships or the workplace.
Once you get clarity on your reasoning work out what you’re going to do about it – whatever you do, don’t just let it fester. It won’t get you anywhere and plus nobody wants to spend time around someone with face that looks like a Bulldog licking pee of a thistle. Just saying.
The emotion is trying to tell you something, drive you somewhere, get you to shift.
What are you going to do about it?
Would love to hear your thoughts.