When you think of yoga, a few words probably come to mind - flexibility, stretching, and breath. For those who perceive themselves as not flexible and unable to touch your toes, this can be very discouraging. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard: “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible”. This seems so silly to me. That’s like saying that your teeth are too dirty to brush. Flexibility is a product of yoga, not a prerequisite. I think people's perception of what they think yoga is and what yoga actually is may be skewed, so I hope to change that.
Here’s what you need to know before you go.
What WILL NOT happen:
You will not be required to touch your toes, stand on your head, bend into a pretzel, or do other advanced poses.
Your teacher will not yell at you or make you feel bad if you don’t know a pose/posture
The other students in class will not laugh at you if you can’t do something.
What WILL happen:
You will be able to use props and other modifications during the class to help you get into certain poses
You will get to see and hear about a pose before you try to do them
You will be encouraged to breathe and reach your potential
You will get better at the poses over time
You will grow to love yoga
Your practice doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be you. Yoga meets you where you are and takes you beyond where you thought you could go.
I believe yoga is for every BODY.
When I found yoga (actually, when yoga found me), I had poor shoulder mobility as well as tight hips and hamstrings. I never let that hold me back from finding my own unique practice and with time, yoga helped me to become more open and able. Yoga provides people of all ages, backgrounds, shapes, and sizes, with their own practice. The time on your mat is an opportunity for you to explore your own unique body. To find length, to ground down, to breathe, to open up, and experience the healing power yoga has to offer. Your practice is a time to be on your mat where you can spoil yourself with the strength in your body, the calming of your mind, and stillness all around.
Many people, different goals, lots of yoga.
Growth in yoga takes on many forms. For some, yes, it’s going from not touching your toes to being able to. For others, it’s finding your ability to calm the mind, to breathe, to be more present, to open up, to face your fears, and overall create a better you.
Most days I can't get into funky arm balances or twists, and I’m still fighting that fear of handstands, but yoga has made me a better person. It’s not because I finally nailed a certain pose, but because with perseverance, positivity, and strength, I have pushed and expanded my limits and can do more than I ever thought possible, both on and off the mat.
Find yoga, find yourself.
When you step onto your mat, it’s a time to calm and clear your mind. Stop worrying about to-do lists, and stop any judgment you have of yourself or others. It is time to not worry about what anyone else's practice looks like, or compare yourself with them. Getting on your mat means focusing on improving yourself and being the best version of you!
Give yoga a try. Be on your own mat. Focus on your practice and know yoga is more than being flexible and looking cool, it’s about finding yourself.