Whether you're a teacher, practitioner or simply someone vaguely interested in taking a yoga class, as soon as you mention it out loud you'll immediately be met with an opinion. There are certain things that people can let slide in a conversation without comment & others that cannot pass without voicing a thought or opinion. Alas - yoga falls into the latter of these two categories, much like when you mention the weather, Brexit or driving on the M25.
Some opinions will be complimentary, others less so. Some will be intrigued & simply want to know when/why/how but in the vast majority of cases the response will centre around a personal experience or opinion.
A certain theme always stands out though & although it may be dressed up in a number of different adjectives & reasons, the single point rings loud & clear...
'Ooh no...I don't like yoga.'
Can I just be clear here, yoga is not a piece of food. It is not an breed of animal to be feared & you cannot be allergic to it. In fact, I would challenge any of you to coherently compose any description of what yoga IS in less than a short novel. It's not about the ability to touch your toes or sit silently for hours on end. Yoga is a way of being.
Just because that class you tried last month was a bit too fast paced for you to keep up, that doesn't mean you don't like yoga.
Not a fan of the teacher/venue/price/props/person on the mat next to you? Try another class.
Couldn't sit still or switch your mind off enough to enjoy a restorative session? Sorry pal, you're still not allowed to tell me you don't like it.
Too many people are in a hurry to form opinions & stick a label on everything we do nowadays. From food, to exercise, to holidays, to genres of music & even other people. Take countries for example....have you ever visited a part of the world, not had a great time & made the sweeping judgement that you don't like that country? Tried a curry that was a bit hot & decided you don't like Indian food? Or even visited London on a hot & crowded day & decided that you don't like cities?
Again & again I come back to the idea that challenges people when it comes to their practice - the class & the style of yoga that you like least is probably the one that you need the most. If you can't wait to come out of a quiet 5 minute meditation at the start of the class & just want to 'get on with it', perhaps this is a reflection of the need to take time to slow down in other aspects of your life. If you couldn't stand being the only one who couldn't hold downward dog for quite as long as everyone else, perhaps a lesson in humility & patience?
Having moved around a lot in the past few years I've been lucky enough to attend numerous classes with every style of teacher you could imagine & don't get me wrong, I certainly took to some more than others. Some classes I couldn't wait to get back to & others you couldn't pay me to return, but I now know better than to tarnish all styles of yoga with the same brush. I fought Hatha classes for a long long time & was always a Vinyasa girl. In fact it wasn't until my teacher training that I really embraced the art of slowing down & checking in with what was actually going on with my body. The fast pace of Vinyasa allowed me to overlook any shortcomings in my postures as we'd easily flow from one posture to the next; in a slower paced Hatha class there's no faking it when my body has locked up from a few days behind a desk. At other times, I end up living TOO leisurely & the thought of a dynamic hour of postures fills me with dread. It is at these times that I know I need it to boost my energy.
So be open minded - try something new, something different & even something you perhaps might have actively avoided in the past. You don't have to love it, hell you don't even have to like that one class, but until you've given a number of classes, styles & variations a shot, PLEASE don't tell me you don't like yoga.