When I started this blog, it was to talk about the ways in which the influence of yoga had changed the rest of my life. I wanted anybody to be able to read it, whether a hard-core practitioner or not, and relate to the topics. Because all of us share and go through questioning, doubt, fear, frustration, anger, despair, and even joy. All of us transform.
And I do believe that there are other activities in this world that can still the body and mind, focus the breath, and bring us closer to our true selves. I have heard a lot of people say this about running, fishing, knitting. If you have that something in your life, I am happy for you. It’s so wonderful to have that connection accessible in your daily life.
But as far as the practice of yoga goes- let me tell you how I really feel.
I think anyone can benefit from a yoga practice. Yoga has the power to heal us from the inside out. Whether you are 7, 17 or 70, there is a practice for you.
I think moving your body in a mindful way has untold benefits on the rest of your life. We have no idea of how far our bodies and minds are beyond our control- until we start to notice. That’s what yoga does. And gently, it allows you to become the leader of your self, to reclaim you for your own.
If you are weak: Do yoga. It will make you strong. You will feel the muscles wrapping around your bones and learn to literally support yourself.
If you are muscle-bound or tight: Do yoga. It will make you looser and more flexible. You don’t need to get your legs behind your head to be a yogi. You don’t even need to have straight knees in downward facing dog. But if you move and breathe, you will open up.
If you have a short attention span: Do yoga. You will learn to become so interested in the inner workings of your body, and in the rise and fall of your breath, that a 90 minute class or a 2 hour meditation will fly by. And since breath and body are always with you- you will never need to be bored again.
If you are impatient: Do yoga. Much of what we learn in life takes time to soak in. You will learn to accept where you are at today and breathe there. The first time you notice that your leg is finally locked out, you will be hooked.
If you are a perfectionist: Do yoga. The postures will never stop being a challenge. Instead of finding the end point and checking the pose off your To-Do list, you will understand what it feels like to do the best you can- on that particularly day- so that it’s enough.
If yoga makes you uncomfortable: Do yoga. If you listen carefully and set up the alignment of the postures correctly, they show you what’s already happening inside your body. The asanas reveal discomfort rather than create it. And once you find and notice what’s hiding inside your chest/shoulders/hips, you can start to work through it.
If you are lazy: Do yoga. Laziness is in our minds rather than in our bodies. Eventually your muscles will be craving stimulation and you will long for sweat dripping down your face.
If you are driven: Do yoga. You will find compassion for yourself. Sometimes child’s pose is a better choice than a fifth chair pose.
If you love yoga: Do yoga. Be vigilant that it continues to be a practice and not a habit or an addiction. Challenge yourself and explore new territory. Remember what brought you to the mat in the first place.