Why you definitely shouldn't practice Yoga
We are coming very close to having more Yoga studios than coffeeshops in our fair town of Amsterdam. The not so recent but steady boom of Yoga is easily explained by the shiny headlines and promises that some of the studios put out there: apparently you will become the hottest, smartest, happiest person in the world, riding a unicorn all day and you will never encounter any kind of problems anymore, apart of being able to pay for your yoga classes and your oh-so necessary Yoga gear, available fortunately right there, in the studios grand “bio/wellness-boutique/gift shop” with flashy words like “green” and “organic” writing on plastic stuff, so you are again 15€ closer to enlightenment or at least being a better person. Happiness definitely has a price.
First good reason not to practice Yoga is simply that you are too stiff, not flexible enough. I fully understand. For the same reason I stopped with my personal hygiene, because I’m simply too dirty to wash myself.
But let’s just say, against your better judgment and your understandable prejudice against people in lycra, you somehow landed up on a mat in a yoga studio.
First order of business is to shave your head and let you renounce all your previous gods, cause you obviously have to be a Hindu or Buddhist or something to practice yoga more honestly - and a mala (that Indian version of a pearl-necklace/rosary) is a good conversation starter at any place, plus it simply goes with every of your outfits.
And if that shouldn’t happen, you can be sure that at least the chanting of three OHM at begin and end of the class is going to give you a weird feeling. Apart of it’s spiritual component I could tell you now that’s its also a very simple technique to deepen and become aware of your breath or show you the research on music and vibration on the brain.
(try to search transcranial ultrasound and such: http://www.brainstimjrnl.com/article/S1935-861X(12)00084-8/abstract).
But alas, no time to get into that, we already started moving the body.
Though it seems even to a laymen logical that yogic exercises have a better effect on the body as a whole than any other singular-stressed, one way repetitive exercise forms, from running to cycling to your beloved booty-bootcamp class, you might forget the fact, that most yoga classes have (at least) one inversion, that means that your heart is higher than your head. Or they go lull bonkers and flip your whole body around, meaning your legs and your bodonkadonk are higher than your heart, and that has really interesting effects on your cardiovascular system (check out: Starling’s law of the heart ; the more blood comes to your heart the more blood is pumped). But hey, who cares about a strong systolic contraction of the heart muscle…
we are still trying to survive this damned down-dog.
What will happen as well during your first class/classes: you will hold your breath! That’s what we do when we stress or concentrate intently. And that friggin teacher just keeps on talking about the opposite: breathe deeply and equally.
Listen, Teach, I’m breathing fine all my life, I do not need a lecture!
Well, you actually might!
Yes, we all breathe, blissfully unaware since we popped out our mummy’s womb, but considering that due to bad posture and sitting all day our lungs barely ever have a chance to fully expand, your respiratory system might never really reach its full potential. And yes, you remember from one long ago biology class that oxygen is quite essential for the health of your cells… but as long you don’t make the connection that younger skin, a tighter butt or even a six-pack (though unnecessary and completely decorative) as everything else in your body are MADE of cells , it will not interest you to breathe deeper, right? That’s why I will not even mention that Yogic breathing can calm down your brain waves in just 30 seconds.
Let’s assume you stayed for the whole class and you actually feel quite nice after, you might even feel a tiny bit friendlier in those stressy situations we normally like to freak out in. But who believes in that preliminary research out of the Boston University School of medicine and Harvard’s McLean Hospital that found that healthy subjects who practiced Yoga for one hour had a 27 percent increase in levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that boosts mood and lessens anxiety compared with a control group that simply sat and read for an hour. And who cares about the fact that we just might help our lower back pain, might generally move with more ease, unwind and relax quicker, have a keener body awareness and have a better ability to focus and concentrate or that meditation, confirmed through fMRI and EEG, can actually change your brain?
Please, Google your heart out, but still, why should you believe any of this? The only one who can judge if it’s working for you is yourself. I guess it’s one of the most annoying facts of Yoga and a very good reason not to start, you can not simply consume Yoga. It’s neither Netflix nor Burger King; you cannot just lean back and let it wash over you. Though most companies and people in this world have you rather not thinking, the practice and philosophy of yoga asks you to judge for yourself. You simply have to. Your body is completely unique therefore you are the only qualified person in the world to judge how the practice or its effects make you feel. It is completely individual; it is your responsibility to keep an eye on that… very annoying and exhausting, right?
Let’s finish than this tale of Horrors with the number one reason
for you not to practice Yoga: You don’t know how! You don’t know where!
Why don’t you let ME help you with that?
No nonsense and BS, only a juicy class to either let you debunk all those things previously mentioned… or simply to fall in love with a powerful practice that allows you to become actively involved in your own well-being.
Take your life seriously, not yourself! See you on the mat!