Questions to Yoga Teachers from Non-Yoga People…and My Response

1. Can you teach me yoga…for free?

Yes, we can actually do that. Reaching out and sharing the gift of yoga to as many people as possible gives tremendous joy in our hearts. We would love to teach for free. It is our social responsibility to promote yoga and help others in whatever way we can. Which is why we have KARMA YOGA (usually for free) sessions. You know what we can’t do? Teach you IN PRIVATE for free AT YOUR OWN TERMS just because you feel like learning yoga isn’t worth paying for.

While we do love conducting free classes for groups who really need it, or for promoting wellness, teaching is also our means of earning a living. So we try to structure our free classes on timeslots that are available to a wider audience and for a demographic who would most likely respond positively.

Please keep in mind that if we have to give a free session, we would have to sacrifice time that we could have otherwise used to place food on our table (so ask us nicely). You wouldn’t want your teacher to go hungry, would you? Unless it’s for Karva Chauth 🙂 (Maybe if you ask a little more nicely…)

Also, as teachers, we need to constantly update our knowledge and improve our skills. This requires rigorous training programs that are usually not available in our own city. These programs do not come cheap. They most certainly don’t come for free. We have to pay for workshops, teacher training, books, and all other living expenses incidental to joining these programs just so we could provide quality service and keep our students safe.

New Doc 3_1

It ain’t easy ~

Please consider all these things the next time you ask us to teach you for free. And again, ask us nicely. 🙂

2. I don’t need yoga because I’m already flexible / I am not flexible enough for yoga

Improved flexibility is one of the many benefits of yoga. But what a lot of non-yoga people don’t realize is that there is so much more to yoga than just being flexible. Asanas (postures) alone can improve your balance, stability and coordination. Asanas will challenge your strength and activate muscles you never knew you had. Apart from asanas, you will also learn how to control your breath, which will subsequently lead you to control your thoughts and your responses to those thoughts. Yoga is more than just improving the physical body. Yoga is a union of the body with breath, of mind with soul.

3. Yoga is for girls / Yoga is gay

HAHAHA! I can’t help but laugh every time I hear that because it usually comes from a blatantly chauvinistic ignorant person who probably couldn’t even hold a chaturanga for 5 full breaths if his life depended on it. I wouldn’t even try to convince that person to try yoga because 1. he doesn’t have the heart and strength for it and 2. he’s a blatantly chauvinistic ignorant person and frankly, at the risk of sounding egotistical, who wants to associate with that? Hahahaha.

Do you even lift, bro?

Do you even lift, bro?

4. I can’t do what you do in your photos!

Don’t worry, neither could I before I started my practice. Everyone has to start somewhere. What you see in my photos isn’t the starting point. Not even close.

5. Yoga is against my religious beliefs

WHAT?! What religion is against non-violence, truthfulness, non-covetousness, purity, and non-greed?!?! Those are the 5 universal principles every yogi tries to follow.

6. Do you actually sweat in yoga?

I live in the Philippines. I sweat even when I don’t move. If you live in tropical regions where the climate is generally hot and humid, I would say “Yes, you actually sweat all your fluids out in yoga”. But if you lived somewhere cold, I guess you would need an intense Power Vinyasa sesh or a hot room for gentler classes, to break a sweat. So, this one depends on where you are and what season it is.

7. Yoga is just stretching…

I have read a fair amount of literature about yoga. I try to study yoga from its roots. And I can tell you with almost a full certainty that yoga is not JUST stretching. But yeah, stretching is a good place to start.

8. Does yoga make you lose weight?

No. Diet, exercise and discipline make you lose weight. Yoga just happens to be a discipline that somewhat requires moderate eating and light exercise. Also, I just happened to lose 20 pounds since I started practicing yoga. It could have been just a happy coincidence.

Why Yoga? Why not?!

yoga - lotus

I can name FOUR THINGS that usually stop adults from trying out something new: FEAR, INDOLENCE, POVERTY and AILMENT. Fortunately, none of them can really be used as an excuse from trying out Yoga. As I have learned in my relatively short practice [barely 4 months], the only thing that can stop you from practicing is YOURSELF.

Are you scared that you might not be strong or flexible enough to try Yoga? Now, that is just plain silly! You gain strength and flexibility by practicing. It is not a prerequisite that you should be strong and flexible prior to actual practice. You need only come with good intentions for your health and wellness, and the rest will follow.

Are you mostly lethargic and overall unmotivated to try something new? I know you think it’s okay not to do anything with your life. That sedentary lifestyle probably works for you. But, uhmm, if you could just stand up from your couch and walk to the nearby Yoga studio, that would be great for your physical and mental health. Maybe it’ll distract you from the huge bore that you consider your life.

Think you can’t afford to attend a Yoga class or to purchase Yoga gear? Good news! The Yoga studio I go to only charges Php 50 (that’s FIFTY Philippine Pesos) for every session you attend. They can even lend you a Yoga mat for free! Marichi Yoga House is located at Aparente Street, Purok Malakas, General Santos City. Currently, they have 8:00 AM and 6:30 PM sessions everyday except Sundays.

Got a medical condition? Ask for your physician’s opinion if you can engage in light physical activities such as Yoga. And do inform your instructor prior to class of your ailment. It is generally safe to practice Yoga. In fact, some practitioners even swear their medical condition improved with continued practice. But you must be responsible for your own well-being. Listen to your body. Don’t worry, your body will almost always tell you to go on with the practice. 😉

If I may be honest, the only thing that got me to try doing Yoga was the close proximity of the Yoga studio to my house. It’s quite literally a stone’s throw away. I felt that I needed a new activity to distract me from the mundane cycle that is my existence. And when I did try Yoga for the first time, during the entire session, all I could think of was, “What have I gotten myself into? When is this session coming to an end?” I admit, it was tough. I was pretty much sedentary for a long time. But when I was all stretched and drenched in sweat, I knew I was coming back. And I did. Not everyday though. But as often as I could. And I dedicated myself to the practice.

Four months ago, I couldn’t even reach my toes standing up, bending down. Now, not only can I let my hands touch flat on the floor, I can even step on palms with my toes touching my wrists. The beautiful thing about Yoga is that Yogis don’t compete with each other, yogis compete with themselves. And as long as I know I’m better and stronger today than I was yesterday, then I know I’m on the right track.

If there is any disadvantage of practicing Yoga, I have yet to discover it. If you would ask me why anybody should ever try yoga, I would only answer with another question, “Well, why the hell not?”

CHAKRASANA or WHEEL POSE Photo taken on my third week of Yoga practice What needs adjustment: the feet should be pointed directly in front and not sideways.

Photo taken on my third week of Yoga practice
What needs adjustment: the feet should be pointed directly in front and not sideways.