You adore yoga and think the world would be a better place if everyone adopted the practice. However, your bestie doesn’t share your enthusiasm. How can you get them to join in the fun?
Heavy-handed tactics rarely work, and you risk putting them off the benefits of yoga by guilting them into going. However, you can gently urge them in that direction by employing the following techniques. Here’s what to do.
Show Enthusiasm Yourself
Let’s say you’re running from the office to the studio and change in the workplace bathroom. When your cubicle mate enters, do you groan about not wanting to go — or do you rave about how relaxed you’ll feel when you’re done?
Yoga, like any physical exercise, requires discipline. Yes, you feel amazing and reap the rewards in terms of better health, but first, you need to get on the mat. Your friend will hardly want to accompany you anywhere that makes you gripe.
Here’s where you can harness a little reverse psychology. Research shows working out with a friend helps you stay motivated even on days when it feels like a chore. You could say, for example, “I could use someone to help keep me on track with my goals. Would you be willing to come with me to class now and then on days I’m simply not feeling it?” This gives her the impression she’s doing you a solid, not vice versa. Most people will agree to help with tasks that don’t put them out much.
Focus on the Health Benefits
Yoga offers so many mental and physical health benefits, practitioners could — and have — written entire books on the topic. If your friend suffers from a chronic health condition, mention that yoga may alleviate it.
Do exercise empathy when making this suggestion — many chronic pain warriors have heard no end of folk remedies and grow defensive if they interpret your advice as meaning they’re not doing all they can to manage their condition. If you have something similar, you could say, “Yoga helps me manage my fibromyalgia. Maybe it would help you with your rheumatoid arthritis, too?”
If your friend is feeling blue, you could mention the mental health boost you get from your practice. Keep it positive, sensitive and honest here, too. For example, if you have conquered addiction, you could mention how the mindfulness practice inherent in yoga helped you regain control of your life. You could simply say yoga never fails to bring you out of a slump.
Do Try This at Home
Some people stay away from yoga because they feel embarrassed if they can’t bend their bodies into a pretzel — or even bend very well at all. Remember, yoga means “union,” not only of breath and body but also of mind and spirit. Honor their reluctance by offering to give them a private lesson — or three — in the comfort of their home.
If you’re not a licensed instructor, you can find yoga videos for free on YouTube. You can perform many in as few as five minutes — most everyone can afford to spend this amount of time. Once your pal gets hooked, you can take your practice public if you like.
Try a Little Retail Therapy
When you buy cute new clothes, you can’t wait to show them off — and this works for yoga, too. Spend an afternoon shopping for cute new leggings online or at your local yoga outfitter. Once she has the gear, your bestie will race to the mat to flaunt her fabulous style.
Share Information with Them
If your friend loves learning new things, share articles about the health benefits of yoga with them. Post interesting facts on your social media feed to encourage them to enjoy the practice the way you do. If you subscribe to yoga journals or magazines, leave them laying out on your coffee table or work desk where your buddy can page through.
Offer to Do Swapsies
What are friends for if not for supporting you in your passions? Offer to trade an afternoon of doing something they enjoy in exchange for accompanying you to class. This works especially well with a significant other. For example, if you can’t tolerate football but they’re a die-hard Steelers fan, offer to accompany them to the pub on game day if they go with you to Bikram.
Try More Than One Style
So many styles of yoga exist, it’s difficult to count them all. Different styles fit certain bodies and lifestyles better than others. For example, if your friend is an athletic sort, a slower-paced Kripalu yoga class could leave her frustrated. She might love an energizing Astanga yoga class, though.
Ask your buddy what they hope to get out of giving yoga a go. Once you know what they like in a workout, you can recommend one to suit their needs.
You Can Get Your Bestie to Try Yoga
By showing enthusiasm and gently reminding them of the benefits, hopefully you can get nearly anyone to give yoga a try. Once they do, the good feelings they generate on the mat will almost certainly keep them coming back for more!