Why I Still Don’t Practice Yoga

I love the practice of yoga — but I don’t necessarily “need to” do yoga. I just liked the idea that my body is an instrument and that being able to use it flexibly, dynamically, and with grace is a lot more fun than being at the mercy of my body’s contortions, as though I’m being pushed around by a toddler.

I also love the idea of flexibility and dynamic movement. It’s part of the “spiritual” side of yoga that I’m fascinated by, so in that regard I am interested in the practice. But I’ve had no desire to practice yoga for most of last year, and when I finally did start up in January it was for about six weeks before my body gave in and I stopped. I’m going to try this again next year — if I can stay out of the yoga mat.

At this point, I just do my thing. I don’t practice the exact art form you might find at any given place, but I like that sense of “flow” that it takes to meditate in a slow-breath cycle, for instance. But it is hard to practice yoga if I stop halfway through.

If I stop halfway in, I feel like I’ve failed. I do my own thing and not listen to anyone else’s advice (and let anyone else, if they feel they’re qualified, tell me that my “style” is wrong), and as we all know, it’s not always easy to change your personality or personality “style.” That is, I’m not “just” a tall woman who’s not flexible and can’t do push-ups without the help of a foam roller or a special kind of yoga pad . Even in yoga classes, yoga as I’m taught it is just a technique and not at all a lifestyle or an attitude. Sometimes I would want to quit a yoga class because I have too much anxiety to sit still and I would be so depressed that I’d almost forget what I had to do to get there. 

I also had a few friends that said that doing yoga would “improve” my body, which I had already accepted as fact — I’ve been told by other women that in working out they’ve gained an inch or two in height while I’ve been losing a foot. And I don’t have any idea what’s happening to them. But here’s my take: I don’t work out — not physically, at least. I don’t exercise at all. I’ve also told people that I’ve become “skinny” (I’ve always been a bit curvy, as you can tell from my “real body” pictures here ) and that’s how I lost weight — “getting thinner” — but I still feel the same height. I still run to my work to get in and out of my car, I still have no problems driving a car. And I still have no problem finding someone to take out the trash, clean my dog’s litter box, or put some of the extra food left out to waste in the dog’s bed. I also don’t have any issues with my body in other ways. As I am typing this post right now, I’m sitting in my chair without any discomfort, feeling so comfortable as I type that people tell me it feels like I could walk all day and not get sick.

It’s been four weeks since I stopped practicing yoga. I feel good, I feel pretty normal. I don’t even see how “skinny” I am any more. I’ve been told my appearance has improved and that it’s all my body — but this wasn’t a change in my appearance, I didn’t lose weight. And I don’t want my body to look different than it’s ever looked before. And I doubt other people’s “skinny” is based on their personal experience, since other skinny people can be pretty fit and I’m just not one of them. And since this is so long ago, I think that’s what’s happening to me.