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382265_10151351579362939_1190212915_n-300x290The dog ate your mat?

Your yoga pants are at the dry cleaners? You’re waiting until you’re caught up on episodes of Orange Is The New Black until you return to your practice?

Bitch Please! (Bitch Please is a term we only use with friends when trying to express playful incredulity. No egos were harmed in the making of this title. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.)

As teachers and students, we have all heard these excuses when suggesting a friend try yoga, or encouraging a student to return. While some reasons are valid (like recovering from an injury) most are simple excuses. Sometimes they are used to get us off their back. Other times they are used to comfort their own inability to face the truth: they just don’t feel like doing yoga. In both instances, we prefer the truth. But, we also prefer free coffee, world peace, and vegetarian options in restaurants that aren’t pasta…

Here are five excuses we hear most often:

It’s too expensive:
Bitch please! We’ve both founded yoga studios based on accessibility with most classes costing just $5. And yet still, we hear this one a lot—usually from people holding a mocha latte and a fashion magazine in their freshly manicured fingers. When we suggested to some that they could attend a class in exchange for a little work, i.e., stay after class to sweep floors, they all agreed…and no one ever showed up.

This is the worst excuse yoga teachers hear. Almost every studio offers work exchange for classes. There are many studios that offer community classes that are donation based. There are also a multitude of free instructional videos on YouTube and other websites. Having a limited budget is not a valid reason to skip your practice!

This is what we mean by an excuse. There is no intention to ever go to a yoga class. What theses folks really mean is “Can you come to my house for a private lesson, drag me out of bed,  move my body for me  (for those interested it’s called Thai yoga massage) whenever it is most convenient for me…and all for free?”

I’m not thin/flexible/fit enough:
Bitch please! That’s why you do yoga! What next? You won’t eat because you’re hungry?  You won’t take a bath because you are too dirty? You won’t use the bathroom because… oh never mind, you get the point.

Look. We get it. It’s intimidating to walk into a yoga class full of thin, flexible, and, fit folks. But the truth is no one is looking at you. When the practice begins, students are focused on their own issues.

A lot of people are strong and flexible, making the poses look effortless – what you don’t see is how some days those poses are impossible, and those poses still make them cry on the inside. What you don’t see are the years spent working toward something, often failing and falling over and over again, or the years spent face down on a yoga mat, crying or frustrated, because the practice was so brutal and hard, and why was I the one fat and inflexible person in a packed room of contortionist super models?  Ahem. Yeah, we’ve been there too.

And it’s in these instances where your mind fucks with you that you realize what the practice is really about; shutting out the external world, and then the internal dialogue of your ego and mind, and trying to get back to our true Self.

And if a studio or gym makes you uncomfortable for any reason, find another. Yoga isn’t hard to find, and there are studios and classes that want you.

I don’t have the right clothes:
Bitch please! You aren’t Cinderella, and a yoga class isn’t a ball. You want fashion week?  Go to Paris. While some choose to spend a fortune on yoga clothes and accessories, it is entirely unnecessary. Oh, and wearing $300 worth of yoga gear to class does not improve your practice…no seriously, some Hungarian scientists studied this and the results were pretty clear.

Ladies, you can get an entire yoga outfit (including underwear, sports bra, leggings and tank top) starting at about $20. Living on a tight budget does make things challenging, but not impossible.

The affordable options for women are the same for men. Anyone can always just wear shorts and a tank top. So get your ass to class fellas!

Just make sure that whatever you it wear does not constrict movement (or blood flow!) and make sure your pink bits aren’t on display. Wardrobe malfunctions do happen, but loose shorts and no undies means your teacher will get a good look at your giblets, and we just don’t get paid enough for that!

Yoga is for women:
Bitch please! And yeah guys, we’re talking to you! Often men are under the impression that yoga is a sorority and, in so many studios it is.

We’ve  walked into studios awash in pinks and purples, where the estrogen was so thick it felt like walking into a giant vagina.  And that’s before you get to the sneering “what are you doing here Mr. Intruder?” looks which would do the old East German border guards proud.

While yoga in America is dominated by women (and some women want to keep it that way), the truth is that modern yoga was developed for men. So if you check out a studio that makes you feel as welcome as a tax collector, keep looking. There are classes out there that want you.

There aren’t any classes that fit my schedule:
Bitch please! Where do you live, Antarctica? Oh wait, they have yoga there too!

If you live in a big U.S. or Canadian city, you’ve got to be kidding. This one is a lot like our first excuse. In most cities and suburbs there are a multitude of classes being offered at studios, gyms, YMCA’s, community centers and elsewhere. And class times vary as widely as their locations. If you truly want to find a class, you’ll find a way to do it.

We’ve had students ask for exotic class times, 4 A.M. or 10 P.M. When asked if they woke up at 4 A.M. or where available at 10 P.M. they replied, “No, but I’d love to have a reason to get up that early.” or “I’d love to practice before bed!”

This is the compounded excuse: asking for a class time that does not exist and they will never attend.

For those that live in small towns with few yoga offerings, there are DVD’s and internet videos available. While videos are not perfect (they can’t correct or adjust you, and you will never know of you are doing a pose correctly) these are a good place to start.

If the practice becomes more important to you, you’ll be surprised at how willing you will be to change your schedule and budget to accommodate your practice.

We all have time and money for what is truly important to us. And if yoga is important to you, you’ll find the money, time, wardrobe, confidence and welcoming space to help develop your practice.

C’mon, this isn’t days of yore when you could not be trained in yoga until you had been tested by a guru…waiting outside of his door every day for a months on end fasting, wearing sackcloth and ashes, until you were deemed worthy.

The ancient yogis had no possessions, no mats, nor straps or blocks, and often no clothing.  What they had was a sincere desire to learn, grow, and transform.  All you really need to practice yoga is that same desire.

There has never been an easier time in history where yoga has been more accessible—so what are waiting for?