An open letter to those who don't do Yoga. I don't care that you don't.
Dear person who doesn't do Yoga,
Hello and I hope you're doing well in all your ventures. It's been a while since I've seen you at a coffee shop, in a pub, or after a gig. I really enjoyed our last chat up until I told you I was a Yoga Instructor and then you proceeded to tell me the litany of reasons you don't practice yoga. If you recall I listened and nodded and then tried to quickly change the subject out of politeness. But I regret not being straight forward regarding your constant excuses on why you don't like yoga so thank you for taking the time to read my letter to you now.
It's not that I want to you start practicing yoga. In fact, I don't care that you don't. I don't give a fuck.
You are not a special snow flake even if you have bad joints, are inflexible, or just can't stand still for an hour to an hour and a half. You are just another person with an excuse for why you don't want to do something and that's fine. Embrace it. Because your constant chattering on why you don't practice yoga is making me want to punch you in the face.
I have been practicing yoga for 14 years. Within that practice I have been very fat, very thin, very happy, very depressed, sometimes hungover and I've practiced with a torn hamstring. Bare in mind I didn't start Yoga fat, hungover, depressed and with a torn hamstring and then lost weight, healed and saw the light. It's been an up and down process for me. But I still showed up because at the end of the day I like it. And it seems to be the only thing to ever pull me out of what ever hole I have dug for myself. I've woken up on days and had every excuse not to go whirling around in my bleach-blonde head and still showed up. But sometimes I didn't go and then I tore a hamstring or got depressed because I was hungover so I ate everything in the kitchen and then only then 3 months later went back to Yoga.
I do it out of necessity, compulsion, and love of back bending and all your excuses for not giving it a go are uninspiring and not the least bit original.
You think in almost ten years I haven't seen every walk of life get a mat out and touch their toes?! I have. I've had anorexic people take my class, morbidly obese. I've had students who have been blind others have been deaf. One women sat on the ground and did what she could encumbered be a full leg cast. Another laid his mat in the back of the room and had a friend assist him as he practiced from his wheel chair. And you. You my non-yogi friend want compassion and understanding for bit of tennis elbow? Hmmm? SNAP OUT OF IT!!!
Or at least be honest. Just say, "Yoga, it's not for me." Then we can move the conversation to a subject we both love. Instead of me being forced to listen to you complain and shit all over something I like until I pour a pint over my own head and run out screaming because that is less awkward than talking to you.
You know when I care about whether you practice yoga or not? The moment you step into my class. Then I care. A lot. Then we can talk about your torn meniscus and find a way to work within your body that's effective and safe. Only then do I want to talk about the fact that your self-conscious because you've never been able to touch your toes and you think everyone else can. They can't trust me. I'm watching everyone while you're freaking out on your mat. And once you're on your mat I'll calm your nerves and assure you that we all have to start somewhere and with consistency comes change. Once you come into the room I'm here to answer all your questions before and after class about your injuries and your fears. Because you are there doing something about it. And I, as a teacher, am there to help you.
But, when we're in a social setting and your droning on and on saying things like, "I don't know. I just can't stand still!" I don't have the time to explain to you that actually spend a lot of time moving in a Yoga class. So why don't you just shut up and fuck off back to your fun run or whatever it is you do.
I'm sorry if you I'm coming off a bit harsh, it's not that I don't like you. It's just that I find you annoying and boring.
Yoga, like any other form of health and fitness is a personal thing. I can't bully you into trying it. And if I was the type of person to preach all the benefits of Yoga you'd just tune out my homily just as I've tuned out your whining. It's something you have to come to yourself. Because you want to be there. Yoga is for everyone. But as an individual you have to decide it's right to start prcticing.
So until we meet again. It's been very cathartic getting this off my chest and I look forward to our next encounter when we can both talk about anything else but why you don't do Yoga. And if you ever change your mind. I'm here. But not a moment before.