Confessions of a Yoga Dropout

By , SparkPeople Blogger
There are things that a "healthy" or "fit" person is just expected to do. Go to the gym. Consume copious amounts of water. Run several miles a day. You know what I'm talking about. Sometimes people are shocked to find out that I don't do everything that is expected of me. "What! You don't drink TEA?!" they say. (You must be from another planet if you don't like tea, I've learned.)

"No, I just don't like the taste," I explain, announcing my alien status. I like drinks that are either plain (water) or full-flavored, not some degree of light flavor in between the two. I have tried countless varieties of tea over the years, and they have equally made me want to gag. I love how it smells! I feel like I should be a "tea person" since it fits my persona, but it just isn't for me. Ultimately, I stopped trying to develop a taste for it just so I could add a few more antioxidants to my diet. I think my antioxidant levels are just fine.

"What about yoga. You do yoga, right?"

"No." In fact, yoga is the exercise version of tea for me.

I have tried to like yoga. I have really, really tried. Over the years, I've tested countless DVDs. I've taken classes from various instructors and different gyms. I even took a yoga class in college as part of my physical education credits. Usually, as soon as the music starts and the instructor wants me to think about breathing, I'm mentally somewhere else. It's not that I don't want to enjoy it. I often try really hard to take it seriously and focus the way I'm instructed to, but ultimately, I fail in my pursuit.

It's not that the instructors are bad. It's not that the workouts are too easy or too challenging, although I've experienced both. I think, for me, it's the stillness, the repetition, the atmosphere and the mental concentration. It's all so boring to me!

Like many people, I could probably benefit from the meditation, focus, and stretching you experience in yoga, but after trying it hundreds of times over the last 10 years, should I keep forcing the issue? It's sort of like drinking tea. Why should I force myself to like it just because I "should" or just because I am interested in the benefits it may offer? Stretching, stress relief, balance, mind-body connection—I already incorporate all of those components into my jam-packed workout schedule. While I still try yoga from time to time, open to the idea that I could change my mind about it someday, I have come to terms with the fact that I will probably never love it, even though I think it has done great things for countless people.

A couple weeks ago, I tried Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown DVD, which Stepfanie (our resident yogi) recently reviewed. I enjoyed Jillian's take on yoga more than the traditional yoga workouts I've tried, but it was still a little blah to me. Not even Jillian Michaels can turn yoga into the kind of workout I want to do! (It's not her, it's me.) More recently, I attended a workshop and earned certification in PiYo, a Pilates-yoga fusion class from the makers of Turbo Kick. It isn't just yoga or just Pilates (although my deep love of Pilates is no secret), but it borrows concepts, exercises and poses from both forms of exercise (and others) to create a faster paced, more athletically challenging workout in which you're always on the move, never holding still. I loved my PiYo experience and can't wait to do more of it. To me, it's perfect for the exerciser who wants a physical challenge and likes the idea of yoga, but just doesn't "get" the traditional yoga workouts. Now THIS is one kind of "yoga" I could get into!

My point is that you may never fit perfectly into the mold of what a fit person "should" do. You may never like broccoli. You may never become a runner. You may never return to your high school weight. While you shouldn't give up just because something is hard--everything is hard when you're new to it--you know yourself best. If you tried and tried again and still feel that something just isn't for you, that's OK. Accept it. I will never be a tea drinker and will probably never become a yoga aficionado, but I'm OK with that. Healthy living is about balance and it should be enjoyable! How else are you going to stick with it for the rest of your life? Find the things that DO work for you and you'll do great—with or without super flexible hamstrings!

Are you into yoga or are you a yoga dropout like me? What's one healthy thing you've tried to like but just can't come to terms with? 

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I'm with Grendlesgirl, I injured a knee last year an lunges are killing me. Report
Beans. I just can't do beans, unless it's baked beans in the summer at a picnic. But then, those aren't the healthiest kind of beans to eat! I could probably go vegan except then I'd be stuck with little to no protein in my diet because of those darn beans. Blah tasteless and I don't need the musical side effect either! Report
For me, the healthy thing that I *should* like and don't is fish - any kind of fish, really. I've tried, I really have. I just can't do it. Mild white fish, oily strong fish ... just can't. I get that fishy taste in my mouth and I heave. Every once in a blue moon I have a craving for tuna fish salad or fish sticks, but that's it. I take fish oil every morning with my other meds and supplements and call it good. This is just one of those things I'm never going to like. Report
I've recently thought I should try out yoga and after searching around a bit found a class that sounded appealing (and it didn't hurt it was at a great time of day/week for me). It's Pilates-Yoga Fusion and starts in 2 weeks. Now, reading this I can't wait! Report
I love yoga....I struggle with strength training. Report
Great blog! I've tried yoga many times, but I hate it! I always feel guilty about not liking it, because there are so many benefits, but I've given up on forcing myself to try and like it. Glad to know I'm not alone! Report
I just tried yoga for the first time on Friday and didn't like it. It was hard for me to sit with my legs crossed and after 10 mins on my hands and knees they ached! I have carpal tunnel and wasn't able to push myself off from the floor with my hands. Yoga standing up was a good workout but then my knees started hurting again doing the squat poses. Report
Thanks for posting this. I HATE HATE HATE yoga! And you know what? Life is too short - there are plenty of other things that I can do with my free time. Thanks for making me feel less guilty for not liking yoga! Report
I do like yoga for the reason it helps me deal with the pain I experience from arthritis. It also helps me in so many other ways.

I will say, I have not come to like tofu. I've tried it even in a chocolate dessert. No Thanks!

I am a water drinker and enjoy a chilled drink made of water, lemon, mint and ginger. Report
I agree that if you try it and it just doesn't catch fire with you, quit wasting time and move on to try something else that may work for you. The only exercise that you will keep doing is exercise that you like, that you can find some reward in, and it's all about consistency and persistence, right? Me, I have tried running numerous times and I just don't like it. To me it's boring, but throw me in the water and I'll to anything, even jog! Report
LOVE Pilates - dislike YOGA Report
Great Article. Why do something you won't stick to? I'm glad I'm not the only one! I fill my workout schedule with things I'm going to do. I fill my refrigerator with HEALTHY items that I'm willing to eat. So many times we get kicked for not doing the "in" thing. Report
I fall into the reluctant yoga person as well. I like the concept of Yoga. I feel that I should be more focused, more flexible, and more "centered". It is just really hard to get there. I keep attempting Tree Pose and before the instructor sets the pose, I have already falled off 2 or 3 times. I will keep at it, just because my competive nature wants me to conquer anything I try. Report
I hate yoga!!! And I'm not afraid to say it.

OTG Report
I love yoga! It's like a 1-hour vacation for me. I have to concentrate on the instructor's voice and trying to get into and hold the poses. Because so much brain power goes to the physical effort, I don't have to think about what happened at work that day, what I'll fix for dinner, what is on my agenda for the rest of the week, etc.

And I wish I liked tea, too! Report
I love yoga, but I have to be careful when I choose a class. I am not well-versed in the different types and I need something very low level and easy. I have chronic back, neck and shoulder injuries and slow stretching really helps. The calming effect helps me also to settle down and breathe. I took a more high intensity class last fall and was sore to the point of not being able to move the morning after. I decided that was not for me and I guess I will just stay a "yoga beginner". That is what works for me. Report
I am a yoga dropout too! I gave it a fair shot (tried it about 5 times, so I'd say it's a fair shot) but did not enjoy it. Not even a little bit. I could not relax because I was too focused on about getting the poses right and holding them. And I didn't feel like I got a workout afterward. At all. That said, I do have Jillian Michael's new yoga DVD here from Netflix. I plan to give yoga one more chance with it. But from Stepfanie's review, it doesn't sound like it will be a relaxing type of yoga, which is fine. Hoping that I will at least feel like I got a semi-decent workout in. Report
RUNNING! I hate. I have tried it I STILL Don't like! Everyone seems to think that since I walk many miles (currently training for a 1/2 marathon) that the next step is to run. NO! I will walk from here to the end of the earth but I only run if a bear is chasing me! Report
I have tried yoga so many times and have yet to find a routine I like. Other exercises are great but I just can't seem to like yoga. More power to those who do but it's just not for me! Report
I am a yoga drop out.
i am just not that flexible for
and my body is out of alignment.
I just stick with cardio aerobics classes,
taekwondo & weightlifting.
this is where i am most happy at.
i might try bodyflow again someday. Report
I've never really cared for yoga. I took a pilates/yoga combo class last summer that I liked. I wasn't sure if it was the workout or the instructor that made the class. Report
Thank You! I love that you are giving us permission to be ourselves and not fit a specific mode.
I was beginning to feel like I was a misfit with the emphasis that SparkPeople "staff", bloggers, and the like have been putting on becoming a Runner - I have never liked running, and have no interest in entering a 5k or any kind of race. I don't expect to ever want to go that route when I am fit either. Walking that is a different story - I do like to walk, but don't make me feel like I have to try to run to be fit. It just won't happen. - Besides the problems with my knees won't allow it either.
Now do't get me wrong - I am very supportive of other people running if that is what they want to do, and I have enjoyed your blogs and Stephanie's (I believe it was Stephanie's) about your running experiences. It just seemed like everytime I turned on SP for awhile there , there was an article about running.
I do like Tea - hot or cold but unfortunately have to put in a teaspoon of sugar or sugar alternative to drink it. My mother tried to get me to drink tea without sugar (she wouldn't allow sugar to be added) when growing up, but it didn't work as I would opt for water instead. I believe I like yoga but haven't really done it enough to make that determination.
Thanks again for this blog and the acknowledgement that we are all different, and can get fit in different ways. The important thing is to stick with healthy nutrition and exercise - the way that works for you, with the support received from others especially SP. Report
I love yoga but can't stand pilates! To each his own I say and pursue the things you enjoy...there are enough fitness activities out there for you to help meet you tea eh? hmmm....LOL! Report
I love yoga, but I simply cannot do it on my own. I have to be in a class to do any kind of exercise! I guess my self-motivation could use a little work : ) Report
Well I have to admit I am a reluctant Yoga person. The doctor said I really need to try it for my stress& anxiety. He told me when I learned to balance I''ll be a more balanced person( whatever that means!!) I too find the yoga, pilates mix a better fit for me. I have a few of those Dvds & really enjoy them.I am not giving up though. There is something about the peace I see on the faces of people who are doing Yoga that have me intrigued sooo.... of I go to sit in my childs' pose & practice my downward dogs. Report
I'll never be a gym person and I don't like to run. I do like yoga. Report
Not sure if I like yoga or not, too early to tell, only tried it a couple of times. I think it's a form of discipline that is really hard to master, but worth it if you can.
Don't like hot tea, LOVE cold tea, any kind you want to make for me!!!! Report
I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't like yoga, but I thought I should. Every time I tried it I'd get bored and start daydreaming. But I do like tea, actually, I love tea!
I love yoga. I'm so much more flexible and balanced now that I've added it to my routine. I plan my running before yoga so that I get a good stretch afterwards.

Not everything is for everyone, so always do what you enjoy. Report
I don't care for it either! When I'm sitting there breathing "in" and "out" for 5 minutes, I'm thinking about other things I would much rather be doing. Report
I took a yoga class years ago and to me it was my own personal time to meditate and relax and I found it very uplifting and invigorating. I think it means different things to differnent people. Report
I never was much into yoga, but since my husband got me the Wii balance board and I went and got the newer version of Wii fit (plus) I am finding myself enjoying it. I usually never can tell if my balance is good but with the Wii board it helps me. I am finding time early in the mornings to do at least 20 minutes in "my routine" where I mix up the yoga poses with some strength exercises. It helps wake me up and get myself centered before all bedlam breaks loose here when I get my son ready for school. Report
This has got to be the absolutely best blog I have read!

Honest and humorous and real. Thank you, thank you.

Just one point to bring up - never say never.

When I was significantly younger, I told myself there would NEVER, ever be a time when I'd do Tai Chi. Well, I'm significantly past two times that, working on three times. I could probably do some Martial moves now, but my body would hate me for at least three days.Guess what? You got it. I'm now doing Tai Chi for the stability, focus and flexibility.

Yoda might say, "Plan, or plan not. It will not be, or be". Report
I do like yoga, but my mind drifts quite often and I have never been able to meditate. My mind is too active for that. My way to meditate is to write in my journal. I'm doing good just doing stretching for 10 minutes everyday before I get ready for my day. Report
I like yoga...however, I will never, never, never be a runner. I keep seeing all these "turn yourself into a runner" programs. I do NOT even want to be a runner! I am happy walking, thank you. :)

And I like coffee, not tea. :) Report
I just cannot make myself like Spinning. It just isn't! Report
Gyms, I hate gyms, I have tried them many times and I just dont feel right in them. I remember one incident where I ended up hanging by the arms onto a machine in midair (I am only 5'1") and this great hulking guy had to come and rescue me. My son was mortified. He never came with me again, that was me finished with gyms! No I would rather do my workouts in the comfort of my own home when I am alone and no one to distract me. Report
Yoga changed my life, all for the better, but I can understand a truely athletic person not particularly enjoying it. The world would be dull indeed if we all liked the same things. I love burnt husband has to leave the room when he smells it :) Report
While yoga can often make me feel good, I rarely think to do it. I tend to choose high intensity cardio instead to blast calories. Although I really should concentrate on lowering my stress levels.

But I'm with you on tea. I have tried numerous kinds and the stuff is just gross! Report
I admit, I don't like yoga Report
I love yoga. People who don't do it think it's easy, but it's not. Yoga makes me more aware of my body; I can more easily feel the areas that need to be stretched or strengthened or balanced. A practice of yoga by itself bores me, but it's an excellent compliment to running, biking and strength training. I feel that my exercise regimen is balanced with the inclusion of yoga. Report
I love yoga and pilates is flexibility for my body.. And also run, spinning and zumba:) Te mmm...all depedent what testing my favorites is lemon with honey is so good sweet... Report
gyms - I cannot learn to love gyms....

I like my wii yoga!! I like the being still and clam Report
I used to feel like you do, but now at age 52 I have fallen in love with yoga. I used to try and think I should do it, but I always seemed to have a lot of resistance to it, and I never really felt as if I had "exercised". I need to get that endorphin rush. I started going regularly to a class because I felt that I "should" since I wasn't getting much in my exercise routine in the way of flexibility and stretching and after several months I noticed that I was a lot more flexible and stronger in the poses. After that it became more enjoyable. I also forced myself to go to a gym for strength training which I always hated and I learned to love that as well.
If you are doing pilates then I think you have it all covered! Report
I know that I should do squats and lunges, but I'm horrible at them. But I can't imagine that anybody actually likes doing those. Report
I NEVER EVER thought I would do yoga. EVER. I go to CorePower. They are in like 6 states I think. They do have more traditional yoga but that's not what I go for. I mostly take what is called yoga sculpt. It builds on some of the yoga poses but you add hand weights. I started in November. I have also done 2, 2 week boot camps and am starting a new one today (also at Core Power). I have lost 7 inches in my waist since November (down to a 32) I have lost probably 4 or more in my hips. I have also lost weight but the inches are more inspiring. I also take the more traditional classes and I can't believe how much more I am able to stretch and bend. I get impatient as it is slow going for me but then I have an aha moment and realize I am getting there. I also get a GREAT sweat in from yoga which is always good!!! Sign me up as a very unlikely convert. Report
Couldn't have said it better myself! I don't like tea or yoga either! Report
I dont like yoga. its not my thang. I have tried hot yoga, and regular yoga and ya, its too slow for me in some areas and too fast in others (the more physically challenging areas of course). I am still gonna try it once in awhile to give me a variety, but thats about it. Report
I don't have enough flexibility to do yoga - not by a long stretch :) Report
The way you feel about yoga, Nicole, is the way I feel about pilates/barre/ballet-type workouts. I so admire the graceful, svelte instructors who lead these workouts. But my mind and body just don't "get" the nuances of the exercise. I feel like I'm wasting my time. (I do enjoy yoga very much and always have. It was something I clicked with immediately.) Report