Is Yoga For Me?
Is yoga for you? Well, why not? Yoga practitioners come in all shapes and sizes, all walks of life and all states of physicality. There’s no contest here to look like the cover of a yoga magazine and see who can be the best “pretzel” they can possibly be. There’s no trophy at the end of each class. There’s just you and your mat or chair and whatever baggage you bring through the door with you. Over time, you will find that yoga has less to do with your hip replacement and more to do with your “story” that tells you if you can or can’t do something.
We talk a lot about our “stories” in yoga and how they relate to our state of mind, the healing capacity of our bodies and our evolution as humans in community with other humans. Never have we sat in community and assumed that anyone in the room isn’t injured in some way, physically or mentally. Just because the person next to you can execute the most amazing yoga posture you’ve ever seen, doesn’t mean that that person doesn’t have a “story” that would cause others to weep. That perfect yogi has found reasons to move through the “story” and found new reasons for living. They are the embodiment of hope, just as you are. It’s the hope and the community that keeps us coming back. The hope and the knowledge that no matter the “injury” or the story, that we are all made of the same perfect molecules, energies and spirit. We are all perfect.
Yoga is vast, like an ocean and any teacher worth their salt, will help you adapt. In truth, you may need to start slowly, possibly in private lessons or in a chair yoga class to strengthen your body before you bite off group mat yoga classes, but never let the state of your body be the reason that your mind avoids yoga. Yoga is a process and your 100th day of practice is dependent upon your first day of practice. Every mind, body and spirit is different and day one or one hundred will look and feel differently for all of us.
So, bring your limp. Bring your heart. Bring your spirit in search of better. Bring your baggage and let’s sift through it. Bring the “you” that is most authentically you and let’s modify the postures for you in search of more ways to ignite your spirit.
Yoga is a process.
That’s why we call it a practice.
We might practice one style for 10 years, 10 styles for 1 year or make it to a class once a year with vows to do it more often. We might sing the praises of this posture or that pose and then one day the body changes or something suddenly clicks and the yoga changes around us. Then, we find ourselves seeking yoga in another way. We try different postures because we’ve grown or we have a new need in our lives to meet. So! We’ll need more “practice.”
Yoga speaks many languages and a different language to every person. It just depends on how or if we are listening. Maybe we are hearing but we aren’t understanding. Or maybe, we suddenly decide to become bi-lingual or today’s the day we’re going to try to speak sign language. As life changes, different facets of our lives also speak through yoga. Harmony has one language, injury another, turmoil yet another and love even another. Every time we experience yoga, it changes; the language, the intonation, the feel, the pitch. It’s a practice that adjusts as we grow and morph into different or better beings. It’s a vast experience and not only that, it’s FUN!
My favorite part of being a yoga teacher is listening to the languages that my yogis speak…. hip replacement, runner, seeker, hope, loss, sadness, contentment, playful, sarcasm, athlete, confusion, tight, frustration and my personal favorite…..JOY! And to all who I have the privilege of instructing, I hope I can leave with them, a language of “better.” As in, “I feel better” or “I am better” or “I want to be better.” Why? Because with “better” comes JOY. And when a life has JOY, a life spreads JOY. Slowly, we can’t paint everything around us with joyous words and colors. We will smile at people and people will smile back. And it will make all life “better.”
Life has its ways and I’ve been through many of those ways. There were many days I had no JOY. I had no smile to smile back with. Now I do. Now I know, life can be better. Life has JOY…….It just takes practice.