I often hear from students that they WANT to want to do yoga, but they don’t. In fact, some
have even confessed that they sort of even hate it a little…. And although you might not believe
me, I GET it.
When I was probably 25, I decided to do yoga. Not because I loved it and felt great when I was
“resting” in a “downward dog” pose — ha! You’ve heard that, right? That downward dog is
actually a resting pose… don’t EVEN get me started.
Anyway. I digress.
So, yoga was not something I loved, enjoyed, gravitated toward or felt all blissed out by.
Instead, yoga was something that made me feel uncomfortable, inflexible, dorky, totally NOT
sexy (no matter what I wore), and like a clumsy imp, actually. But I DID IT anyway. I did it when
a doctor pushed migraine meds across a table in my direction and told me that I might need to
also take another med with it, to avoid stomach ulcers…. And I thought to myself…. This is NO
way to start adulthood.
That’s how it started for me. Not because I loved it — but because I was determined to NOT be
dependent upon prescription meds. Not then, and not EVER.
So, I am here to say that yes, sometimes THAT IS how things start. Things that are good for us
don’t always FEEL good in the beginning. In fact, they can even feel crummy. Like if you are
accustomed to that evening glass of wine or two, and you go cold turkey. Not always fun to do
so… because we are bound to find ourselves face-to-face with the stuff we’ve been avoiding.
But it gets better, and it even gets good, and then…. THEN it even sooo good that you don’t
want to live without it.
That’s my experience. But I cannot tell a lie :: it takes effort and energy and will power to get
from the “suck stage” to the “oh, I am SO glad I found this / my life is so much better with this. ”
So all you you yoga haters out there. I’m talking to you.
You gotta start SMALL. You gotta meet yourself where you are, and keep your eye on the
benefits you will receive… not on what you don’t like about it or what ails you makes you look
like a dork. Oh no! You gotta keep seeing yourself as a calm deep-breathing, good-postured,
well-digesting, resilient human with a strong sense of balance, vibrant skin, and a resilient
immune system. THAT is what I am talking about.
Let’s talk about just a FEW of the benefits of yoga.
I’ll start with THE most important. Digestion. To put it simply. When we practice yoga
regularly, we can digest what we consume much better. That doesn’t mean just food, either. It
means… life experiences, tragedies, stressors, job losses, relationship struggles… all of it.
And then… and any of you out there who know me KNOW you aren’t gonna get too far into any
meaningful conversation with me without me dropping this bomb :: You will poop better. I am
Then skin, hair, and nails are more healthy and vibrant. Because movement does this… stress
management does this…. And yoga has a 12,000 year old history of doing this.
Yoga improves posture. Because you are strengthening your back muscles as well as your
“mirror muscles” (the ones you see when you look in the mirror), the strength in your back
muscles, coupled with the stretching of the front of the body muscles (mainly the front of the
shoulder and the chest muscles), you receive the benefits of these synergistic muscles — and
the result is you stand with your heart more wide open (which is NOT just a physical thing, by
the way), and your upper back and neck muscles tend to NOT be nearly as fatigued.
Yoga increases energy. Seriously, y’all. It does. But I can’t convince you of it, you just gotta
TRY it. When we move our bodies, up and down, right and left, back and forth, and forward and
backward… it is THAT multi-dimensional movement that increases our body’s demand for
oxygen, and then our subsequent blood flow. If you give-up one hour of sleep to do yoga, I am
here to tell you — from decades of personal experience, that you will FEEL more energized….
And when you have more energy, you do fewer counter-productive things, like that 3 pm peanut
butter cookie, and that afternoon coffee. And everything, I mean everything…. Little by little….
Starts to make sense.
Yoga makes you make better decisions. Ok, this is a BIG one. But it’s true. Yoga is like the
first domino in a huge spiral of dominos. If you can start with this one… everything else just
starts to happen: posture, digestion, lustrous skin, energy, less coffee, less sugar, going to bed
at a reasonable hour, less binges, less wine, more laughter, deeper sleep, better self-care, less
over-eating, more healthy eating, clearer communication, more balanced emotions, healthier
relationships, greater desire to get outside, stronger intuition, greater trust in yourself, greater
trust in the universe.
All. Of. That.
So, Yoga isn’t just something for barbie and gumbie. It is not just for skinny young women. It is
also equally useful and beneficial for fat peeps and stiff folks. It’s good for the young and the
old, and it’s good for the hopeful and the hopeless. It is an absolute PANACEA and has given
me purpose, passion, energy and impact….
And I am SURE if you just take a little step in the direction of your best self… it will do the same
for you. But as I tell my students….. please do not believe a word I say….. instead, try it for
yourself and let your own experience be your guru. And as for me, I’ll stick to my yoga practice.