Top 5 Reasons People Tell Me They Can’t Do Yoga

“I Can’t Do Yoga” by Caiti Sheff

This is the most common response I receive when I tell people that I teach yoga. It’s either that
or, “Wow, you must be so zen”, which is hilariously nowhere near the truth. The conversation
that follows is also pretty similarly scripted, which is actually a good thing. It means that a lot of
people share the same hesitations about practicing yoga, and now we can all confront them
together. So, when Aubrey asked me to write this article, I decided to focus on the top 5
reasons why people tell me, “I can’t do yoga”.

“I’m not flexible enough.”

I love this one because, yeah, most of us aren’t. Unless you have a background in gymnastics
or dancing, there’s a really strong chance that you’re not naturally made of rubber. A really
great reason to begin a yoga practice is to actually become flexible in the first place. You do
not have to be able to touch your toes to take a yoga class; there is no prerequisite of that kind
(or of any kind). Allow yourself a little grace and be patient with your progress. With a
consistent practice, you will become more limber – almost like a rubber band that has knots in
it, removing them one knot at a time, extending the rubber band to its fullest potential. All good
things take time.

“I can’t sit still for that long.”

I do not recommend saying this one to a yoga teacher because you will have just revealed
yourself as the perfect candidate to do yoga. First of all, unless you are taking a Yin practice or
a specific meditation class, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be sitting still for more than a few
minutes in the beginning and at the end of class. Second, this is what the practice is for. One of
the goals of a consistent yoga practice is to still (or reduce) the chatter in your mind, allowing
you to sit still without constantly running through your to-do list. The society in which we live
doesn’t prioritize rest, and it often equates a slower pace with a lack of productivity. Yoga
changes that narrative completely. Rest is necessary, and not earned, and moving slow is
equally, if not more, productive than moving quickly. To really enjoy the benefits of this practice,
you actually have to pause, in every sense of the word. I can’t tell you that it will be easy, but I
can tell you that it will be worth it.

“Yoga is too expensive.”

Unfortunately, in a lot of ways, this is not wrong. But, Charlotte is lucky enough to have
incredible spaces where yoga is more financially accessible, so here are a couple suggestions.
I think it’s fairly obvious that SweatNet is extremely helpful in making yoga financially
accessible to those who cannot or choose not to afford a studio membership. For $9.95 per
month, members gain access to every single event that they host, which includes a lot of yoga
classes hosted by a lot of incredible teachers. The Yoga Barn (behind Pure Pizza in Plaza
Midwood) hosts classes all week long that are donation based, $5-$25, with an understanding
that people will pay what they can without judgement. Dancing Lotus Yoga + Arts hosts $15
pop-up classes throughout the city, exposing you to new locations and new teachers. If online
classes are of more interest, YouTube has some incredible free resources to begin your yoga
practice (Yoga with Adrienne is a personal favorite for beginners).

“Yoga isn’t hard enough.”

This is a phrase that often confuses me. It really depends on what kind of “hard” you’re looking
for. If you ask me, holding a Warrior 2 for 3 to 5 rounds of breath is pretty hard. Stretching your
hamstrings to their own unique limit is pretty hard. You won’t do jumping jacks or burpees, no.
But, the asana (the postures) practice will physically strengthen you without a doubt. If you are
looking for “hard” in the sense of a cardiovascular challenge, then run outside or take a spin

class. If you are looking for “hard” in the sense of increasing your physical, energetic and
mental awareness, then take a yoga class.

“I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m going to look stupid.”

I saved this one for last because it’s the one that hits home for me the most. Yoga is an
intimidating practice. The visuals show very thin, white women doing crazy pretzel-like
postures with ease. It is extremely easy to lock yourself into a state of comparison. Even for
myself, who is a fairly thin, white woman, it’s an easy trap to fall into. The hard truth of it,
though, is that no one cares about what you’re doing as much as you do. It sounds harsh, but
it’s true. Everyone else in the room is absolutely focused on themselves, and not in a bad way.
Yoga is a place to truly focus on yourself, to re-energize yourself, to learn something about
yourself. Yoga is a place to try – to try everything. You will not be the first person to fall, fart or
face the wrong way, and you certainly won’t be the last.
Now, I can list out a million more reasons and try to negate all of them, but another truth is that
these reasons are real and valid, and this isn’t the whole list. The point of this article wasn’t to
point out falsified reservations about doing yoga. The point of this article was to let you know
that you’re not alone. To let you know that the person next to you is also probably worried
about looking stupid or not being able to touch their toes. When you give yourself grace, you
give others grace as well. When you fall out of a posture, you give everyone else permission to
not be perfect as well. Yoga is called a practice for a reason.

If any of these resonate with you, reach out to myself or a yoga teacher with which you
connect. If there are things I left off of this list that resonate with you, do the same thing. Reach
out to me or another teacher, and let’s talk about it. Yoga is for everyone. Period.
My name is Caitlyn Sheff, and I am a full-time fitness instructor here in Charlotte. I worked almost a decade in the corporate world before realizing that my passion for fitness was more than a hobby.

My purpose is to make people feel seen, heard and supported, and I’ve found that hosting classes allows me to fulfill that. Through mindful movement and constant encouragement, I’m able to connect with my students, and they are able to better connect with themselves. My goal as a teacher is for my students to learn more about themselves, to pursue growth in whatever shape it takes, and to feel validated from the inside out (rather than the other way around).

As an ambassador, my goals are no different. They just reach further.

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