woman enjoying yoga on the beach

Why I didn’t like yoga….

In the late 90’s – early 2000’s Yoga took over the Western world like a storm. Everywhere yoga studios were popping up. A lot of my friends (and friends of friends) started to attend yoga classes.

All that I read about yoga was positive and interesting. So, naturally, I decided to follow the trend.

My first encounter was not as enlightening and uplifting as I was expecting it to be. Quite the contrary – my body was aching, I found myself unable to twist my body even into the easiest asanas, my heart was racing, and I couldn’t keep up with the breathing. The meditation part of the session would start with singing mantras and I just couldn’t push myself into this – it was weird. I left sore, stressed and disappointed.

But everyone seemed to like it. Maybe I went to the wrong place or to the wrong group. I kept trying. I tried different yoga studios and different yoga styles.

I finally came up to the conclusion that yoga is not for me. I am too inflexible and am dealing with too many injuries accumulated through my younger years. I don’t enjoy meditation sessions and don’t understand them.  I don’t belong there…

Years have passed… I became fascinated by the Alexander Technique and decided to undertake a 3-year full-time study course to become a qualified practitioner.

With this decision, I contacted the only college in Melbourne that provides such studies – the School for FM Alexander Studies. The director of the college David Moore – a long time yoga devotee and the author of the internationally acknowledged book “Smart Yoga” very proudly informed me that yoga was included in the school curriculum and (with additional studies) I could at completion qualify as a Yoga teacher as well.

This is the only college in Melbourne, and I decided to become an Alexander Technique practitioner, but yoga! …. Can I NOT study yoga? Is it compulsory? Sadly yes, apparently, it was compulsory…

For the first two months after I started my studies, I was dreading “yoga” days.  Like a kid, who doesn’t want to go to school I was feeling sick on these days. I could not pull myself out of bed. I was looking for every possible excuse to skip yoga. I kept reminding myself that I don’t like yoga, in fact, I hate yoga, it is not for me…

Now – a big thank you to David, who was tolerant and understanding, but persistent in his aim to change my relationship with yoga. It didn’t come overnight, but I started to realise that yoga is not about twisting myself beyond my own capabilities, nor it is blind copying of the asanas from glossy publications or shown by yoga instructors. David was teaching a DIFFERENT yoga. A Yoga where it was accepted that we are all different, where each asana was adjusted to a person’s ability and needs. It was irrelevant how flexible or inflexible I was compared to others. Yoga became for me the tool to explore my own body, to understand it, to communicate with it.

I was no longer skipping yoga classes but was waiting for them. I then asked David if it was not too late for me to study yoga in order to become a yoga teacher. And that is when my journey of transformation started.

It is now over a year since I started to teach yoga.

The way I teach is based on the way I have been taught:

  • We are all different.
  • Asanas need to be adapted to the individual, not the individual to asana.
  • Each asana has its own purpose and to aim for the purpose is much more important than to aim for “correct” asana.
  • We all have our own limitations and it is dangerous to ignore them.
  • If it is hurts – it is wrong.
  • Tensing and stretching are opposite actions. We can’t stretch while tensing.

Yoga does not have age, body type or ability/disability limitations if it is used mindfully.

Last year I completed a special Yoga in Chairs training to accommodate people, who for one or another reason can’t go down to the floor to use a yoga mat.

This year the School of FM Alexander Technique Studies announced an additional course for the Diploma of yoga.

It is easy to guess what my answer was – YES!!! I am in!

If you would like to find out more about yoga and how to practice it safely while receiving all benefits that yoga can offer, you can contact me to find out how I can help you or someone you care about by requesting a 20 minute no obligation FREE consultation.

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2 thoughts on “Why I didn’t like yoga….”

  1. Hello Alex,
    Thank you for your post which I liked. It reminded me of studying the teachings of Sri T. Krishnamacharya and directly with his son T.K.V. Desikachar in my trips to Chennai and here in the United States when he would visit. The six bullet points you made are clear and to the point, I might suggest a seventh which I’m sure you know… ‘Breath Leads the Movement’. From an Alexander Technique viewpoint, this is a form of conscious inhibition which is so often lacking in “gym yoga” here in the States and elsewhere. My best wishes, Michael Frederick – Ojai, CA

    1. Thank you Michael, your opinion means a lot to me. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.

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