One reserved for granola-eating hippies, yoga has totally become part of the mainstream. When you think of yoga, you think of perfect blonde women who are super flexible and walk around in a state of complete calm 24/7. People love this kind of workout because it does as much for your mind as it does for your body.
It can even help your bones and help keep that epic cold that’s going around far away from you. If you haven’t been bitten by the yoga bug, chances are that you know someone who has. Maybe your mom swears by it and your best friend claims that her Vinyasa classes cured her insomnia. But there’s a lot more to this workout than purchasing a brightly colored mat and joining a studio in your neighborhood. There are some aspects of yoga that are actually pretty scary. Here are 13 reasons why yoga is terrifying.
13. No one is That Flexible
Everyone talks about flexibility as one health benefit of attending regular yoga classes. But when you think about it, exactly how flexible are we supposed to be? If you can’t touch your toes, you’re not alone – many of us have to bend our knees to be able to attempt this simple action. It’s important to be flexible: research has shown that when we stretch, we make sure we can work out better and are able to use our bodies the way we were meant to. So why not stretch before and after a workout instead of stretching for an entire hour in a yoga class?
12. You can get Seriously Hurt
Yoga may be all chanting and breathing, but it’s actually not as Zen as you think. Lots of people have gotten extremely injured from pushing themselves too hard in yoga. For one thing, yoga forces us to use our hips and pushes us to be super flexible, and that can be a bad thing for our bodies. Other common yoga injuries are throwing out your back. A 2012 New York Times article brought the dark side of the world of yoga to light, and discussed all the ways that people stretch their bodies to the limit and are sorry.
11. You Have to Stand on Your Head
Okay, you don’t have to, but it’s definitely encouraged in more advanced yoga classes. Poses like headstands and handstands are pretty common and that’s a difficult fact to swallow for most of us. Maybe we attempted a handstand in the playground when we were kids, but other than that, you don’t usually expect to perform that kind of feat unless you’re an Olympic gymnast. Sorry, yoga: no sane person should be doing a headstand on a regular basis. That’s how you die, basically. If you want to live, it’s totally cool to forgo yoga for a much safer, less crazy form of exercise.
10. When you’re new, Teachers Know
Adjustments are a touchy subject when it comes to yoga (pun totally intended). Some people love getting hands-on adjustments throughout a class because they figure that’s what the teachers are there for and they want to get better. Others hate being touched by strangers. If you’re a yoga newbie, it’s like you have a spotlight on you and the teacher automatically can tell. They’re never going to leave you alone throughout the entire hour-long session and will try to get your body into the correct positions. This is scary because, again, a stranger is all over you and who knows if your body even wants to get that flexible or that deep into a pose?
9. It can be Boring
If you’re addicted to cardio and your idea of exercise is jumping around for an hour – you love barre classes or Zumba or even dance – then you probably find yoga way too slow for your tastes. Two popular forms of yoga – restorative (which involves a lot of sitting and lying down) and hatha (which is pretty basic) – don’t feature any cardio. You’ll spend a lot of time breathing… and breathing… and breathing some more. If you’re used to other high-energy group fitness classes featuring the latest pop music, yoga might not be your thing. Working out is hard enough – you don’t want to make things even more boring for yourself.
8. It’s a Constant Competition
Who’s more zen? Who’s more calm and at peace? Yoga often becomes a competition not only to perform the craziest, most advanced of postures, but also to see who can relax the most in a class. If you can’t perform a “vinyasa” – another word for a flow or a sequence of postures – as quickly or as well as the people around you, you’re going to feel like a loser pretty quickly. Yoga is supposed to be about loving yourself and moving your body, but it sometimes ends up feeling like trying for perfection that doesn’t exist.
7. It’s Basically Meditation
Meditation is pretty scary. It’s one of those things that is supposed to be totally easy – you’re just sitting there, thinking – and yet, is actually so much more difficult. We all know by now that meditation is super popular and good for us: it can stop us from freaking out over every little thing and even help us remember stuff. A yoga class is basically an hour of meditation. You sit and meditate at the beginning and end of class. You meditate while going through the poses and postures. It’s never-ending. Who wants to be stuck with their own thoughts for that long? That’s truly terrifying.
6. You’ll Feel Guilty About Everything
So many yoga students and teachers are vegans or vegetarians who avoid junk food and alcohol. The foundation of the practice is all about compassion and so traditionally, the idea was that if you did yoga, you didn’t eat animals. So if you do yoga and want to keep ordering that meat lover’s pizza on a regular basis, and if you enjoy grabbing some beers with your best friends after work on Friday night, you’re going to feel super guilty. Life is hard enough. You have a right to have fun, don’t you?
5. You’ll Drink the Kool-Aid
If you get really into yoga – like really into it – you’re soon going to be speaking in another language (the yoga language) and talking about “balancing your chakras.” Your friends and coworkers and family won’t even recognize you. You’ll close your eyes and breathe deeply on a regular basis, and will basically have drunk the kool-aid and become a follower. You’ll start annoying the people around you and won’t be able to stop bragging about how yoga completely changed your life and you’re a new person now. If you want to keep your personality and your dignity, don’t become a yoga devote. Just don’t do it.
4. You’ll go Broke
Yoga is not a cheap hobby to take up. Monthly memberships at trendy studios can be at least $100-$150 and then you have to go to Lululemon to get stocked up on leggings, tank tops, and workout bras. Of course you have to get that stuff from Lululemon – that’s where all the cool kids are shopping. You’ll also have to shell out for a fancy mat and who knows what else. You might even get so into the whole yoga thing that you spend $5,000 on a teacher training program so you can quit your corporate job and spread the joy of yoga to others. All of a sudden you’re staring at your empty bank account in total and utter confusion, wondering where your money went. Oh yeah, your yoga obsession.
3. It’s not Actually Relaxing
If yoga is supposed to be one thing, it would be relaxing. Instead, you’re stressing out about not doing the poses properly, and about how different you look from the yogi goddess right in front of you. The woman next to you is trying to take over your personal space, and you can’t believe there are 45 minutes left in this class. You automatically start worrying about your to-do list because when you’re doing such a slow workout, you’re not distracted enough from your regular life and your boring problems.
2. You fall Asleep
The final pose of a yoga class is called savasana, and basically gives you permission to fall asleep for 10-15 minutes. You’re not actually supposed to sleep – you’re just supposed to lie on your back with your arms by your sides and your eyes closed. However, a lot of people end up taking an accidental nap. Wait, aren’t you at a gym? Shouldn’t you be sweating it out instead of sleeping? The idea of falling asleep when you’re supposed to be working out is pretty scary, because it makes you feel like you could just fall asleep anywhere, anytime. You’re not like that. You’re a confident, energetic woman who is full of life.
1. You’re Exhausted After
Exercise is supposed to give you endorphins, right? Remember Reese Witherspoon’s famous speech in Legally Blonde about how happy people don’t kill their husbands? Yoga is technically exercise and yet after a class, you’re ready to sleep for the rest of the day and evening, and you don’t feel the same jolt of energy that you get after a cardio or strength-training class. It’s scary to think that you could work out and have even less energy than you did before you started the class. Next time, you’re swapping the yoga and heading to a dance class where you can seriously sweat and leave in a better mood.