So many people are aware of the benefits of a yoga practice, at least at some level. So what is keeping them from getting started?
One of my goals is to discover and break down the many obstacles that prevent people from experiencing the joys of yoga. Remember as I list these 5 most common misconceptions, excuses, and simple misunderstandings, that each has a very simple solution and just a dash of awareness will really do wonders here. Beneath each of the misconceptions and my insight into them is an affirmation you can use. Buckle your seat belts, here we go...
1."I am not flexible. At All. There's no way I can touch my toes or stand on my head."
This one I hear the most. You don't need to be flexible to come to a yoga class, the teacher doesn't stand at the door and let only flexible people pass through. One of the reasons we keep coming back to yoga is because it makes us feel good, our body's love it, our muscles need it, and over time the body becomes strong and supple on its own. Part of being a yoga teacher is making modifications for the students and meeting them wherever they are at in the practice.
"I AM FLEXIBLE IN BODY AND MIND."
2. "Yoga goes against my religion or politics"
I don't even know where or why this one started... If someone's view is a little narrow, but they are wholly commmited to it, okay, Acceptance and Love are more important than the issue at hand here. I am not trying to convert anyone, just share peace and awareness, good health and happiness.
Yoga is a non-denominational, non-judgmental approach to life. It is way of living a balanced healthy life, and reducing the suffering we cause to ourselves and others. The goal of Yoga happens to be the goal of most religions that I am aware of, to connect with the Divine Nature, to serve, to help others, be kind, to be an example of Happiness and Love personified. Many times people become afraid of that which they don't know. A little awareness goes a long way here. Before your judgments and fears get the best of you, go to the root of it and nip it in the bud. Get to know what you're afraid of, study how it affects the mind, if it's a valid fear and it disturbs your peace to be involved with it, so be it. Move on knowing you tried, but keep your peace at all costs.
"I AM LOVE. I AM PEACE. ALL IS WELL."
3. "I just don't have time."
Believe me, your health is worth the time.
People are stressed about the amount of time they have, almost all the time. I understand, I've worked the 6-6's before and have at times had two jobs and was taking classes at the community college. Believe me, that's when I needed yoga the most.
I came across an exercise that helps with time management. Write down, in half hour- hour increments all that do from 7:00 am (or whenever you wake up) until 10 pm (or whenever you go to sleep). You will quickly unveil a spare ten minutes here, a half hour here and so on. If you do feel overwhelmed or that there is a lot on your plate, welcome to the club and it's why many of us got into yoga in the first place! If you can find just ten minutes in your day to practice some breathing techniques, or to take a constructive rest pose and do this daily, you will definitely notice the difference. "I AM CALM AND COLLECTED."
4. "Yoga isn't for men."
Says Who? Professional Athletes, men and women have been cross training with yoga for years with the knowledge that it increases performance and helps prevents injuries. Yoga is not gender specific, it is an incredibly well rounded system that promotes great health, longevity, increased vitality and is deeply enriching to one's sense of well being. A lot of time men are intimidated to go to a yoga class and be the only male in the room, or don't feel comfortable with a female instructor. My advice is if you're interested in yoga, contact one of your buddies and go with a friend, set an intention and just do it, be courageous! The only thing keeping you from experiencing the benefits of Yoga is the misconceptions of the mind. "I AM POWERFUL, SAFE, AND SECURE, ALL IS WELL."
5."I don't know the poses, how do i know if I'm doing it right?"
You wouldn't ask a baby to run before it can crawl. We learn, we grow, that's what yoga is all about, supporting your growth. Just listen and breathe, that's all you have to do when you come to your first class. You can let your teacher know that you've never been to a class before or that you are brand new. I always feel so deeply honored to have a first time student join in one of our classes, it's a very special role to play for both of us.
Most importantly, listen to your body. Honor your body. If something feels great, remember it! If something feels forced, strained or is painful, stop and back off. A good teacher will always make you feel comfortable, encourage you to listen to your body, and should offer a couple of resting poses like child's pose or corpse pose.
"ALL IS WELL."
Yes, indeed, All is Well.
Find the right teacher, find a style that best compliments you and your temperament, and just do a little. Doing a little every day is definitely better than doing a whole lot here and there. Ready to get started, or do you still have questions? Feel free to reach out.
As Always I Am Here To Support YOU!
OM OM OM
Blessings of Love and Peace,
Bryan Josiah, RYT 200