Breaking Up with Yoga (Sort of)

I’m just 1 person learning what sort of workouts my body is meant for… and what sort it isn’t. I have people in my life who swear by yoga and practice it daily. I’ve done enough of it to understand the benefits of a good flow. It’s like meditating with your body and stretching it so it’s able to do more fore you at the same time. 

The problem is, my body doesn’t seem meant to flow. My limbs are awkward, my balance is unsteady, and my ability to fit into certain positions is limited. The morning following my first ever attempt at yoga, I had severe pains in my belly. After nine months of nonstop pain, I got my gallbladder out and felt much better. I’m not saying that moving into some unusual yoga position awakened it for me… but I’m not saying it didn’t, either. After another attempt, I reinjured my hip, which eventually lead to another surgery. In other attempts, I’ve pulled muscles attempting to get into positions like pigeon. I’ve fallen over and bruised myself multiple times trying to achieve warrior stances. I’ve also gotten so lightheaded trying to do the breath work that I had to stop until the dizziness subsided, and I have such poor circulation that once I stood up only to have my leg give way under me, asleep with piercing needles. 

In addition to bad physical experiences, I also feel really stupid doing it. I don’t know all the poses by heart, so I have a hard time being able to watch an instructor and keep up with proper form. If I knew the poses, I could simply attempt them as they’re called out, the way others do. But I have to stop what position I’m in, look up or get up, and then start over again. It’s not what I’d consider a good flow, and I feel dumb not knowing how to make my body move the correct way (and even dumber when I try and literally topple over).

All of this has led me to the conclusion that yoga just isn’t for me. And that’s all right. Not every workout is right for everyone. Some people are better suited for strength training, others for dance cardio. We all have different goals, different levels of flexibility, and different abilities. I thought for sure I could master yoga with practice, but after badly pulling a hip flexor this last time (requiring me to do seated chair workouts for several days) I decided I should be breaking up with yoga.

Difficult yoga pose

Sort of. A lot of fitness videos I watch use yoga moves for warm-ups and cool-downs as well as sometimes in-between exercises. And while I’ve given myself permission now to substitute stretches if an instructor tells us to get into goddess, happy baby, triangle, or crescent lunge, there are definitely some yoga moves I still find myself doing and benefitting from. My declaration of “I’m NEVER doing yoga again. Except for down dog” quickly became “and child’s pose” then “oh, and cobra.” 

Here’s my current list of ones I know I can do without injuring myself:

  • Downward facing dog pose
  • Cobra and half-cobra poses
  • Cat and cow poses
  • Child’s pose
  • Palm tree pose
  • Mountain pose
  • Bridge pose
  • Corpse pose

Of course, I reserve the right to add/subtract from that list. That’s the beauty of working out: you get to know your body and its limitations. It’s so important to push yourself but not to the point where you actually break. Know your limits and know when it’s time to break up with something that isn’t working for you.

The more you work out, the more you get to see your body change. I’m certainly stronger and more flexible than I used to be. My balance and stability are little better as well, as I continue to work on improving my core strength. Maybe one day I’ll try yoga again. But, for now, “no more yoga” is a personal rule to keep myself safe. 

What’s your relationship with yoga? Are there types of workouts you absolutely will not do? 

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

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