There are many, many myths about Yoga and I can honestly tell you that at one point, I was one of those people who believed those myths whole heartedly. After my very first Yoga class, I gave so many excuses as to why Yoga ‘wasn’t for me’, from I’m not flexible enough for this, to Yoga isn’t enough of a challenge for me. All of this was said after my FIRST class ever, yes you read that right, I thought that after one try, I could make an informed decision as to why I would never practice Yoga again. Ever hear of the three time rule? Well, a year after my first class I decided to give it a real shot, and thankfully I did because now I can put my doubtful thoughts aside and let myself enjoy something that makes me feel so powerful.
Here are a few things that you definitely DO NOT need to have to try/fall in love with Yoga.
Here’s the big one, flexibility! This is a very popular excuse as to why someone can not try Yoga. Ok, I understand that not everyone wants to try out Yoga and that’s fine, but saying you are not able to do Yoga because you are not flexible enough, is a bunch of bologna. The good thing about Yoga is that with regular practice, you can begin to gain more flexibility even through some of the more simple asanas. Flexibility is not a requirement for practicing Yoga, but it is part of the journey that will help you discover some amazing things you never thought possible with your own body.
Yes, you do need some sort of endurance to be able to do Yoga. Can you stand for about 3 minutes at a time? Yes? Good, you now have the endurance to do Yoga. There is a lot more that comes with it, however as I’m sure that every Yoga teacher will agree, if you are so weak that you think you may pass out, PLEASE take a break, have some water and get your Savasana on, it’s still Yoga. With any type of physical activity, once you do it, you will build strength and be able to hold asanas longer each time.
BRAND NAME CLOTHES
You don’t need the top brand clothes, accessories or whatever else there is out there on the market today, you can get through a successful class with whatever you feel comfortable in. The most important part is not that you have a super sticky mat, colorful leggings or tanks, it is that you decided to show up. You made the commitment to take that time to hang out with yourself in a class full of strangers the way you feel the most comfortable which is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
No, you don’t have to give up your favorite foods just to be considered a Yogi. Mindful eating is just as important as eating all healthy, all the time. This means that you can have that third, or fourth piece of pizza if you want, mindful eating is enjoying what you are eating and enjoy the company and memories you are making around that food. Most social gatherings do come with a copious amount of food, so pay attention how you feel before, during and after and decide whether it is making you feel good or bad and eat accordingly.
Practicing regularly is not a necessity when it comes to Yoga. You can practice as often as you want or need but once you do start practicing, you may want to do it more. Luckily there are loads of great online teachers that have shorter classes available for any time of the day. It is helpful to talk to a teacher who can set you up with alignment and form to ensure that you are practicing safely and properly but once you get the foundation down, you can really figure out what works for your body. I can admit, classes can be pretty expensive, they can be at weird hours during the day and not to mention trying to schedule around everything else you have going on during the day can be very frustrating, but if you can find even 10 minutes to listen to a YouTube video, it can make all the difference.
SLIM, FIT BODY
This one was the biggest issue I had when I first started a regular Yoga practice. I have never been a small girl, EVER! To be honest, I’ve never had any confidence in anything that had to do with my body. I thought I was too big, too weak, too whatever, and hated being physical in a room full of seasoned Yogis. Sometimes I still get intimidated by others in a class and having a full length mirror doesn’t always help, but honestly once you muster up the courage, you will discover that Yoga is not just for the fit, Yoga really is for EVERY BODY!
I can’t speak for everyone, but this practice has really changed my life. I am the most confident I have been in my entire life, I believe in myself, I am healthier and I finally love my body. There are days that I get frustrated for not being further along than I think I should be at some points and definitely slip up when I am stressed, but every time I take expectations out of my practice and just let myself be where I am at in that moment, I immediately feel at peace again. It is hard to do sometimes, but your body deserves to be appreciated in the way it is at this exact moment, it holds and protects your heart, your thoughts, your intelligence, your determination, your personality and everything else that makes you, you.
Now that I have hopefully addressed some of the issues and myths about starting a Yoga practice of your own, I hope that you will take the time and try out something new and if you already do practice Yoga, I hope you can help encourage those who want to try it out as a beginner. Yoga really is for everyone and there are different styles for whatever you are looking for.