I have a bunch pretty fit friends who bike, run, hike, swim, run marathons, compete in triathalons, rock climb, kick box, ski at a competitive level, lift heavy weights, you name it. When I told them I've switched from mix martial arts to yoga, to them I sound like I've gone from an abled-bodied person to a wheel chair- bound granny. I notice they way they see look at me, they manner they talk to me have subtly transformed. Some of them would gingerly ask me, "Is yoga enough of a work out for you?" When I replied "yes", that seemed to only confirm their suspicions that I've dropped 10 fold in my fitness level. It seems like they longer have common topics to chat with me. I've "gone to the dark side". To make me feel better, when I meet up with some of these friends, they would tell me, "Hey, I did some yoga this morning. It felt great!" Or, "I try to do some yoga after my gym workouts now; I can see it's good for me."
What the heck am I supposed to answer? Yes people - stretching is good for you - especially in the morning and after exercising. But just because you did a few stretches that somewhat resembled some sort of yoga poses (and I bet you probably held them for less than 5 breaths.. did you even breath while you stretched?) does not mean you were "doing yoga". Even if that's about as much "yoga" as you're ever planning to do, fine. But please don't assume that simple stretching is all I do in my yoga practice.
There was a guy who told me he would like to try a yoga class with me but he's afraid he would get bored. Hmm.. I've never heard of anyone who died of boredom from ONE yoga class. When I asked him why he would feel bored (if he thinks the poses would be too easy - if he has zero attention span and canNOT manage to focus on his breath), there was no clarification. Fine, I won't force anyone to endure the hardship of boredom if one feels so strongly about it.
Then there are those who tell me yoga is boring stretching that does not even count as a warm up, but, hey, they've heard of HOT yoga - now THAT's something challenging! Yes yes, hot yoga is great for type A sporty people who are scared of stretchy peace-talking chanting meditation yoga. Why don't you actually try one class out? I'll even suck it up and go to a Bikrams class with you! And no, hot yoga is not the best type of yoga for improving flexibility, because your flexibility only temporarily improves in the heat -- try Yin and Ashtanga! And you need to stick with it! ONE class will not open up your hips permanently!
Can you tell I'm frustrated today? :P Guess I'll keep on working on my utplutih, where I noticed observable improvements in my arm strengths over the past year, versus the crap push ups I've been doing with my friends for years which got me so far but didn't help me do proper chaturangas when I first started yoga.
Inhale... breath in fresh air and happy thoughts. Exhale.... let go of anger and judgement. I feel better now, thanks for asking :)