Anytime I announce that I practice yoga or teach yoga, I get responses and comments like this:
- “I would go to yoga, but I’m not flexible.” Or another version of this, “I’m not flexible enough for yoga.”
- “I don’t have a yoga body.”
- “I’m too old for yoga.”
- “I couldn’t do a pose like that even if I tried.”
- etc, etc, etc…
And I also get comments like this:
- “I wish I looked like you when I did yoga.”
- “You’re so skinny.”
- “You’re such a bendy person.”
- “How do you do that?!”
- etc, etc, etc…
I’ll be honest, comments like these are some of my BIGGEST pet peeves about yoga.
Yes, Yoga like most athletic endeavors, and all of life, is a journey. It takes time, effort, dedication, and LOTS of practice. Most individuals won’t wake up one morning and master a handstand on the first try. Most won’t master it on the second try or the third try either. (I’ve been practicing yoga for just over two years now, and I can’t do a hand stand yet.)
TIME– like hours and hours over weeks and weeks and many years. The average amount of time any yogi spends on his/her mat is 15 minutes up to 2 hours. Sometimes more! And sometimes multiple times a day.
A really good start for beginners is 30 minutes. This averages out to 20 – 25 minutes of asana practice (practicing poses) and 5 – 10 minutes of Savasana aka Corpse Pose.
EFFORT & DEDICATION – This means putting your whole heart and soul into it. Read books about yoga, watch YouTube Videos, go to classes, get involved with other yogi’s on social media, ask questions, etc.
Purchase the equipment you need to have a good yoga practice: a mat and props – yoga block, yoga strap, yoga wheel, etc. I recommend having a good tote for storage and traveling with your yoga mat.
Finally, PRACTICE – A LOT!!! You’ll never get good until you practice. Many athletes spend 3-6 hours practicing and perfecting their skills. A college student majoring in Piano Performance will spend a minimum of 3 hours practicing scales, learning and memorizing music, and sight reading.
The more time you spend on your mat practicing the poses, the more you’ll develop familiarity with the poses, flexibility, and strength.
Thank you for commenting on my strength, flexibility, or body size/shape, but please know that the chuckle and smile I give as part of my thanks is actually embarrassment for being noticed and disbelief at your words. #justbeinghonest
Due to social media’s huge influence on the yoga world, there tends to be a certain “body type” everyone must have to be considered a yogi, and I can promise you that this is 100% farther from the truth than ever before.
Traditionally, yoga was a male only practice done in India. So yes, Men are and should be yogis. It is not just a soft girly stretch session. There is so much strength and power found within the practice of yoga. And yes, it can be one heck of a workout if that’s what you make it.
YOGA IS FOR EVERYBODY and EVERY BODY!!!
Yoga is not just for the skinny, young, and flexible. There are so many modifications that can be made to make a pose more accessible. Did you know you can do a lot of the poses with the assistance of a chair? Ever heard of Matthew Sanford? He’s a yoga instructor who’s paralyzed from the chest down.
So, the next time you think, speak, or hear the words, “I can’t do yoga. I’m not flexible enough. Or I don’t have a yoga body.” I want you to know that that’s a lie! You can do yoga. In fact, you can do anything! You don’t have to look a certain way to be strong, flexible, and mindful. You just need to have a willing heart and a willing mind. You need to want it. And you need to want it bad enough that you’re willing to go after it.
What are you waiting for?!?