As a yoga teacher + weight loss coach, I find a lot of people have 2 immediate reactions. One, they ask me if yoga can help them lose weight, and/or feel a need justify to me why they don’t do yoga. Usually their reasons are they can’t sit still, it’s boring, they can’t reach their toes, or they feel like they need to burn more calories when they “work out.”

I smile + sweetly reply that yoga has many benefits…blah blah blah. But secretly, I think this is the real reason why some people don’t like yoga:

Yoga brings up shit you didn’t even know you had.

And that’s uncomfortable.

Some yoga poses are HARD. Standing on your hands, balancing on one foot with the other foot behind your head, or bending backwards isn’t easy.

And when you do things that push you to your physical edge, stuff comes up.

So think about it.

You’re in a yoga class {or imagine you’re in one}, and the teacher guides you into a pose you can’t imagine ever doing.

What do you do?

{Hopefully, if the teacher is good, they’ll guide you through various levels of the pose + you can stay at a level of the pose that is challenging for you, but you’re also able to maintain a sense of ease {ie, unclench your teeth, maintain your breath, etc}.}

So back to the hard pose, what do you do? Do you go through the levels of the pose, stop at a level that’s challenging for you, but you can still breathe?

Or do you clench your jaw, get angry at yourself because you can’t do a pose, get frustrated with the teacher for “making” you do a hard pose, shut down, give up, sit on your mat, and wait for the next pose?

On the flip side, do you push yourself too hard? Do you go to a level of the pose that’s too much for you? Do you strain, clench, hold your breath, injure yourself, or wear yourself out so you can’t even complete the rest of class?

Whatever you do, I’m willing to bet that you do the same thing when hard things happen in your life off the mat.

A bump in the road in your relationship…do you shut down or work through it? A challenging project at work…do you muscle through it, draining yourself so that the rest of your work {or life} suffers?

This is why I really, truly believe that EVERYONE can benefit from yoga. Everyone has hard things that happen in their life. And not to get too corny here, but that quote about life being like your hand in cards is really true. It’s not what cards you draw, but how you play them.

It’s not WHAT happens to you, it’s HOW you react to it.

So why not work on building this muscle in a place where it doesn’t really matter? Your mat.

Because at the end of the day, yoga poses are only that. They are just various shapes to move your body in. And guess what? They don’t matter! They really don’t. No one is more enlightened because they can touch their toes or put their foot behind their head {I can’t.}.

The practice is about remaining steady, calm, and keeping a sense of ease on the mat.

I tell my students that if all they can muster up one day is child’s pose or savasana, then that is exactly where they should be. Forget trying to touch your toes or stand on your hands.

The practice of yoga isn’t WHAT pose you do + or how well you do it. The practice is HOW you react to it.

So if you can practice how you react to difficult things on something as trivial yoga poses…imagine how that can impact the rest of your life.

Imagine keeping a level head during hard situations, being able to keep your shit together when it hits the fan, and not being so volatile to everything that’s happening around you {the high highs + the low lows}.

You may not have to turn to food the moment you get upset, you can feel better about being in YOUR body, and here’s the big thing yoga did for me: I’m okay with just sitting. I can just sit + watch TV, or the view, or read, and I don’t feel like I also have to be doing something with my hands {ie, eating}.

It’ll always be a journey, but yoga has helped me to just be. To not be so reactionary to things happening around me.

In the comments below, I’d love to know what positive changes yoga has had on your life, OR if you haven’t tried yoga yet, I’d love to know what’s holding you back.



p.s. – If you live in Dallas, I have 2 more private yoga slots open for this summer. Want to give yoga a whirl? Apply here + let’s chat.

p.p.s. – Know someone who’s on the fence about yoga? Or know someone who’s having trouble manage their relationship to their food, weight, or body? Do them a favor + share this article with them.

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