Confession: I Hate Yoga (But I’m Forcing Myself To Do It Anyway)


I have a small confession: I do not enjoy exercise (almost) ever. I know I write for a health and wellness site, and I most certainly do value having an active lifestyle, eating well and staying healthy, but I’m just not one of those people truly has a good time raising her heart rate.

Unfortunately, this sentiment pertains to most activities that are primarily done for exercise purposes. For example, I only have fun going to the gym if I’m with a close friend and we can chat about our lives and catch up while working out. I only like spin classes if, again, I’m with a buddy and the music is distracting enough to ignore how badly my hips hurt. And I only think going for a run is enticing about once a month nowadays.

Part of this disdain is because I have this innate fear of embarrassing myself while exercising. I am always afraid I’ll fall, or be way more out of breath than the person I’m with, or that I’ll simply not be good at the activity (yes, I know this is silly because the only way to get better is practice). The other reason is simply because I usually don’t feel well while exercising; my hips often wind up aching and I have asthma, so I get out of breath kind of quickly. That said, I still do make sure I exercise vigorously multiple times per week and, since I currently don’t have a car anyway, I walk everywhere. In my opinion, I live a lifestyle that is overall pretty healthy.

However, one particular realm of fitness I have always been opposed to doing is yoga. I think it’s wonderful when other people are interested in it; they always seem so flexible, their limbs look leaner and longer, and — at least the day of taking a class — their minds are clearer, calmer and more collected. I want that, but goodness gracious, I absolutely hate doing yoga itself.

I took a class at the gym I used to belong to. I had prepared to attempt that serenity I’d see everyone else attain, but quickly realized that it simply wasn’t coming to me. I was unflexible, uncomfortable and just plain confused most of the time. I felt my face turn red constantly because I was so much less able to bend and pose like everybody else, thus inducing a whole lot of embarrassment. Of course, I’m sure instructors are used to people being beginners, but I get bashful and flustered very easily when I’m terrible at something.

Still, I wanted to learn, so I tried to do some yoga in my living room by watching a television show wherein a class was led. I thought I might be able to learn the basics so that way, when I finally felt brave enough to attend a class again, I wouldn’t look so silly. Instead, at some point, I slipped on my floor and hit my head pretty hard, Three Stooges style. I imagine it would’ve been comical to watch from afar; the only thing missing was a banana peel under my foot. That was two years ago.

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    • Katie

      I can totally relate to this, and wanted to chime in and give you a “rock on” before your first class this week! I’ve been on-and-off with yoga for several years, much of that “off” time being due to embarrassment or intimidation (new yoga studio, don’t want to go alone, what if the class is too hard, etc).

      What finally helped me is a sort of quasi-mantra…”Focus on your own mat.” I simply do not let myself look at anyone else, nor do I dwell (or even contemplate) whether anyone is gazing my way. (Really, I doubt that they are…). My boyfriend, who had never done yoga until a few months ago, now attends weekly classes with me — he’s a runner, really limited flexibility, but finds that this “mantra” helps him focus on what matters: Self-improvement, relaxation, clearing of the mind.

      Of course, finding the right teacher helps too a huge extent, as well…someone who encourages everyone in the room to focus on themselves and their own bodies and limits. I hope that this is your experience.

      Good luck! Can’t wait to read your updates.


    • Robinvk

      You hit on exactly the way I feel! Not a fan of exercise, but know I have to do it. I’m often mortified trying to exercise in front of anyone, including my athletic husband. Lets just commit to doing this together. I’ll be in yoga class Thursday night, with the young pretzels….keeping my best intentions.

    • Sarah Bregel

      this is a great post. as a trainer and yoga instructor (in training) i wish you the best! sometimes the things we hate the most (forms of exercise, etc) are the things that may turn out to be most beneficial for us or that we need the most. for example when clients say they hate push ups its usually bc they have little upper body strength and push ups are super difficult for them! keep up with it and i bet you will find the benefits outweight your dislike for it. good luck!

    • Santee Chiropractor

      This is a great article. And I just love the image above. I love it. Where is that taken?