There are some common misconceptions expressed by those who haven’t yet tried yoga. As someone who was once skeptical, but now whole-heartedly believes in the power and natural accessibility of this wonderful practice, I’d like to dispel these myths.
The bottom line: Yoga is for EVERYONE. It is a practice in which every human being can benefit.
Misconception 1: “I’m not flexible enough.”
Response: You are as flexible as you need to be to begin yoga.
A yoga practice isn’t about an end result, in fact, in yoga there is never any “end”. It is 100% about the journey. Every time you practice you will see and/or feel growth in some form.
I was a Division 1 lacrosse player in college in the mid to late nineties, before the age of the internet, and before there were infinite resources on fitness and wellness. My own fitness was limited to exactly what my coach was telling me to do at practice; mainly hard sprints and interval runs. As a result, I had very tight hamstrings. Back then, if I bent over, I could barely reach a spot somewhere between my knees and ankles. But, as soon as I started practicing yoga more regularly, I began to notice slight changes. When I bent over in a forward fold, my fingers were inching closer to the floor. Now, years later, I am able to place my palms flat on the ground.
It is possible for you to grow too.
Misconception 2: “I don’t have the right body for yoga.”
Response: You have the perfect body for yoga.
Yoga is about YOU and YOU alone.
I was 27 when I began a serious yoga practice. By that point I had taken a few classes in college and elsewhere, so I knew Downward Dog, I knew what Tree Pose should look like, and a few of the basics. Having come from a competitive athletics background, my mind was programmed to compare myself to others. In those beginning days I would constantly look around the studio thinking to myself “How on Earth can she do that!?” I was convinced I just wasn’t built to get into the same poses that others could. But as my commitment to the practice really ramped up, I began focusing more on what I, myself, was doing. I began to really feel my body in a way that was unknown to me before. And then I realized that this practice was actually ALL. ABOUT. ME.
It was a powerful shift, a deprogramming of my previous mindset of comparing myself to others, and one that I believe is truly accessible to everyone.
There are many reasons that prevent people from exploring the practice of yoga. The truth is that the benefits can be felt by anyone regardless of what your body looks like, or how old you are. It helps us to not only feel better and connect with our bodies, it also helps us to make more mindful choices.
Even a little bit of yoga brought into your life each week can make significant positive changes. It’s an empowering practice at its core.
Yoga. Just BEGIN.