As I’ve moved along on my yoga journey, my studies became “curiouser and curiouser.” We say things among our yogi friends that seem absurd to those outside of Yoga Wonderland. One day, I realized that I could morph these unusual concepts into excuses for avoiding things I’d rather not do. Sit with a tall spine, engage your bandhas, and observe ten yogic excuses for getting out of almost anything.
Best ways to say “no” to something
- That lowers my vibrational frequency.
Are you sick of the grunts and gunfire pouring into your living room via your TV? Curb that by talking about vibrational frequency. If your family doesn’t get it, then just tell them that they are not awake yet.
Example: “I don’t want to watch that über-violent show. It lowers my vibrational frequency.”
- I can’t do it because of my Dosha.
I have a general grasp of the Doshas, which is all you need to pull off this excuse. You can figure out what your Dosha is online for the purposes of this excuse. In most cases, your Ayurvedic “prescription” will be the opposite of your constitution.
Example: “Never mind my personal feelings about Bikram Choudhury. That hot yoga class is way too heating for me. You know I’m a Pitta, right?”
- I can’t do that because my ___ chakra is out of whack.
There is a connection between major nerve plexuses and the subtle body, but it is easy for the explanation to go awry. One minute you are really bound up in science behind the chakra system, and the next minute, you are doing one of those online quizzes from the early 2000s. (“Which member of NSYNC should I marry?” “What color is my soul?”) I urge you to investigate the subtle body in more detail. In the meantime, you can use a superficial understanding of the chakra system to get out of all sorts of engagements.
Example: “I simply refuse to do that public speaking gig in front of three-million people. I have an energy blockage in my throat chakra. My third chakra is also affected by your proposition. I can tell because I have had some serious non-kale-related gas since you offered me the job.”
Pro-tip: If you want to add a little gravitas to your excuse, then use the Sanskrit name for the imbalanced chakra.
- I’m mindfully opting for self-care right now.
As the old saying goes, Mens sana in corpore sano. (“Sound mind in a sound body.”) Mindfully opting for self-care is a valid excuse not to do something. Anyone who doesn’t believe that probably needs to opt for some self-care.
Example: “I can’t take on this life-force draining project right now. I am mindfully opting for self-care.”
Pro-Tip: This excuse is not effective in instances in which you dropped ball. You can’t say, “I decided that I wouldn’t pay the rent this month. I bought weekly massages instead. I am mindfully opting for self-care.”
- That isn’t grounding for me.
Example: “I would prefer not to lobby for corporate farming. That isn’t grounding for me. I’m going to my co-op after I meditate.”
If you are faced with a task that you find morally reprehensible, then don’t do it. Tell people that it isn’t grounding for you. Go to that co-op. Go there, and soak in a kiddie pool full of spirulina as you munch on fistfuls of gluten-free Swiss chard.
- I am not really digging his/her/their energy.
Example:” I don’t want to go the demolition derby with Bud and Mike. I am not really digging their energy.”
You may have heard, “Your vibe attracts your tribe,” but sometimes you will be asked to hang out with people with whom you don’t really gel. Diverse opinions are great, but sometimes you’ve already decided that you were mindfully opting for self-care. It’s not Bud and Mike, it’s their energy.
- I can’t study with you right now. I am studying myself.
Example: “I know you failed to show up for 87% of your classes, and you were hungover or asleep for the remaining 13% of them, but I really can’t give you all the answers – I mean – study with you right now. I am studying myself.”
As an overachiever, group work was always the worst. Many of my peers cavorted through their youth while I rubbed my nose raw against the ol’ grindstone. It was tiring, but I’ll save you the trouble. You can’t rescue people from their frivolity all the time. Be yogic. Study yourself. It’s nothing personal, man. It’s svadhyaya.
Excuses for various dietary restrictions
Your diet is part of your practice. If you are exploring a new diet, you will notice that everyone has something to say about what you are eating. Instead of dissolving into a fit of rage the next time someone asks you where you get your protein, try one of these little gems.
- I am practicing naan-violence.
Example: “I can’t go to the burger joint with you today. I am practicing naan-violence.”
The best way to illustrate this is by dunking a chunk of naan into a big vat of hummus. You get bonus points if the hummus vat is a Mason jar or biodegradable container.
- I’m decalcifying my pineal gland right now.
Example: “I will not be eating any animal products or processed food. I am decalcifying my pineal gland. I’m trying to open my Third Eye.”
The pineal gland is Western medicine’s name for the Third Eye. Informing your friends that you are decalcifying your pineal gland is a great excuse to avoid eating something that you know gives you heartburn. This excuse sounds yogic and scientific, which makes it doubly potent.
Elevate your sass-factor
- Haven’t you heard of ahimsa?
Example: I can’t engage in a battle of wits with you. Haven’t you heard of ahimsa?
Can we get a little arnica to slather on that burn? You may never be Iron Man, but maybe you can be his understated relative, Tony Snark, Boss of Burns. Since this is a burn, it violates ahimsa, one of the five yamas. If you have to bite your tongue when you encounter outrageous people and concepts, this excuse might be a great one to say in your head. Say it in your head, and then exhale all of that negativity.
I recommend trying out a new yogic excuse every week until you have added them to your panoply of polite apathetic responses. If you are going to decline an invitation, put thousands of years of history behind your decision. You’ll feel better, and you might enlighten a few people while you do it.
Angelina Phebus is a freelance writer, a purveyor of stories, and a voracious reader. She is looking forward to using what she has learned in The House of Yogi Teacher Training to help people realize their gifts through consistent yoga practice, whether that is in a class setting or through writing. Connect with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/angelina.phebus), or check out her blog (https://angelinaphebus.wordpress.com/).