Explaining yoga to your non-yogi friends can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Even more so when you try and convince your runner athletic type friends that yoga really is a workout and to your other friends that yoga really is for anyone.
What is Yoga?
When I start off explaining yoga to my non-yogi friends I often start at the beginning. Normally, a very good place to start. Recordings deep in the history books and in many artifacts tell us that yoga was practiced dating back to 3000 B.C! In other words yoga is not a new fad created by Lululemon or a type of Zumba.
- Yoga increases flexibility, lowers stress, and increases your energy level.
- “Asana” is what the yoga postures are called.
- Several asanas done in succession without a break or pause is called a “vinyasa.” Sun Salutation is an example of a vinyasa.
- Yoga coordinates the breath with movement
What is Yoga Like?
Without loosing my friends in an endless history lesson talking about the different schools of yoga or Patanjali’s writing and reciting translations of Sanskrit, I dive right into the experience. Yoga is a mind and body workout. A challenge to balance your body, harmonize your breath and keep your mind focused and quiet. Oh, all that while sweat drips down your face, your core shakes and feet slip down the mat. It is a challenge!
Yoga is a Workout!
By this time, I normally get a raised eyebrow or maybe even two. The most common response that comes up from my non-yogi friends is “That doesn’t sound like enough of workout for me.” Sigh.
“After my first power class, I realized that my previous definition of “yoga” had been far too narrow. I associated yoga with prayer hands and Oms and dorky spa music. I certainly didn’t think of sweat, Lady Gaga, and disco balls. But luckily, I was naive!” - Tristen of Yoga Belly Studio
Yoga IS for Everyone
Then I go on and ask my friends “What do you want in a workout?”. Most recently I found myself around a campfire of retired ladies.
Most of which had admittedly decided they had given up touching their toes or being able to bend like they used to. They chalked it up to old age, arthristis and being overweight telling me a list of excuses on why yoga won’t work for them. All of these ladies may not be spring chickens yet they ride horses, garden and hike.
“Because the truth is that yoga is an excellent means of creating a more flexible and healthy body that will be less prone to injuries. And the most important part of staying fit after 50 is avoiding workout injuries that can disrupt your exercise program for weeks or even months.” – Fit After 50. The Kareem Adbul-Jabber blog.
More About Yoga
After I share a few stories, of my own and others experience and add a splash of the different kinds of yoga my friends can explore then the conversation gets really fun. I often direct them to blogs like YogaDork, YogaMint and Curvy Yoga. For the tech savvy, I direct them to iTunes to check out Tara Stiles audio yoga podcasts. For those with little time and a house full of kiddos the Wii Fit has been a fun addition to my house practicing yoga together and when we have time.
Have any great stories of getting your non-yogi friends on the mat? I would love to hear them. Tell me in the comments below.