World Yoga Day: I hate yoga - but don't hate me for it

I have a confession to make. I hate yoga.

It's very un-PC of me, I know. Hating yoga is like hating motherhood.

I don't doubt it's good for you. Traditional yoga offers a path to enlightenment that not only trains your body but educates your heart, your soul, your mind.

I'm all for being enlightened and hope I am making progress in that direction from other efforts. But, from childhood, I was always rebellious when anyone insisted I must do a certain thing. And yoga is practically essential, if you believe the lifestyle magazines.

Those who practice yoga long term are so admirably limber, they are almost another species. They look at you with pity when you admit to not taking classes. And I do understand why. I would love to love it. But I can't. And I've tried.

In my travels, I have participated in a few yoga classes. They're hard to avoid. The yoga pavilion is a feature of most resorts these days. Some of them are set on lakes, or overlooking the ocean, or in the deep rainforest. I want to join the class just to hang out in these beautiful spaces, standing on one leg and being at one with the universe.

These resorts are proud of their yoga studios and many see it as integral to their health and wellness programs. I've never been made to do yoga, but I've sometimes been made to feel recalcitrant, like a rather thick schoolgirl, when I've declined. Especially when I'm travelling with lithe yogamanes.

It's just that I never feel anything other than dizzy and frustrated when attempting most of those yoga poses. And annoyed with myself, especially whenever the perfect specimen of a teacher, undulating like bread dough, clearly gets irritated by me too. I used to play hooky from school on sports days because I couldn't stand the gym teacher looking at me like that.

Yoga aficionados will either be disapproving when I admit this or nod in wise empathy and tell me I've obviously never joined the right class or had the right teacher. Or I've chosen the wrong yoga for me. And perhaps this is true.


There are at least a dozen variants, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Kundalini, Hatha and Bikram being the most popular. I know Bikram is hot, Hatha is gentle and Kundalini involves chanting mantras. I believe there are versions such as Laughter Yoga and Chocolate Yoga using ceremonial cacao (that might work for me.) I know yoga can be vigorous like Pilates, which I quite like because you can lie down on a Reformer for most of it and it's rarely boring. That's the thing – I find yoga (and meditation for what it's worth) boring. Even when I took a meditation class in Sri Lanka with a real monk, I couldn't sit still.

But I had a kind of epiphany recently. I still don't like yoga. But I met a teacher who made me think I could actually enjoy it.

Her name is Lara Baumann who, with husband Rob Drummond, established Tri Lanka, a new eco resort on tranquil Lake Koggala in Sri Lanka. The focus of the resort is wellness, albeit a very luxurious kind, and Lara often conducts yoga classes in a shala that overlooks a bamboo grove.

I went along with the group to once more try a yoga session, somewhat dreading it, as Lara devised and teaches her own method of yoga, Quantum Yoga, and the cover of her book and DVD features her in bendy poses I thought only Gumby could pull off.

Quantum Yoga is based on ayurvedic principles. A questionnaire helped us establish our dominant dosha, or humour. I was mostly a pitta body type. I suspect that meant "lazy". But, actually Lara was pitta too, so maybe not.

I couldn't do one tenth of the poses, even though the class was for novices. But, strangely, it didn't matter. Lara was inclusive, kind and funny. My stay was too short, or I would have semi-eagerly joined another session.

Please don't write to me and tell me how great yoga is. I know it is. I know not all yoga teachers are boring, that there's a way to do it that is intellectually stimulating as well as physically. I know I would be much better off with it. Like I'd be better off eating yoghurt. I don't like that either.

Lee Tulloch was a guest of Tri Lanka.

See also: Ben Groundwater - Yoga? Looks like hell to me

See also: Meet the flexible stars of Instagram

See also: Paradise lost - what happened to Byron Bay?