Let me get on my soapbox for just a moment please. It drives me pazzo when I hear people make statements like...”I can’t do yoga. I don’t bend like that” or “I don’t want to turn into some whoohoo soy matcha green tea latte drinking hippie” or my personal fave…”I tried it. Wasn’t for me.” Are you kidding me?! The ones that say the latter are the ones that need the practice of yoga the most! But let me tackle these most common stereotypes one a time.
The “I don’t bend like that” group
This is the one actually makes me sad. Yoga is not about how flexible or strong you are. It’s not about your physical attributes or accomplishments. If you achieve epic handstands and a Gumby body, great! If that’s your goal. But yoga is not about that! It’s about the union of your mind, body, and spirit. It’s a spiritual practice that incorporates the body. Strength and flexibility are just a beautiful harmonizing by-product of your yoga practice. To these people, I always say….”If you can breathe…you can practice yoga!”
Next, to the “I don’t want to turn into some whoohoo soy matcha green tea latte drinking hippie” group
Umm...first of all, don’t knock a soy matcha green tea latte until you try one (they’re delish) 😊! Next, yoga doesn’t turn you into something or make you somebody. Yoga is your guide back to your authentic nature. Your true self. Your soul! And who doesn’t want that?! Now, I will say this, when you practice yoga regularly it does awaken you in many ways and in doing so you begin value and respect your body temple. You realize that all we have is our health and our breath. This awakening is a catalyst for many to release old habits that are harming their emotional and physical bodies. Things like eating poorly, smoking, addicted to drama, etc. You grow such a deep appreciation for your body, health, and energy that you are inspired to take excellent care of your body temple. So, you may replace a 24oz five days’ worth of sugar coffee drink for a soy matcha green tea latte. And if you do…I say welcome home!
Finally, the” I tried it. Wasn’t for me” group
So, this group hits a little close to my heart because I was one of them. Yep! Now, that was a very long time ago but it’s true, I was. I was too addicted to the burn, the sweat, and pushing my body that the idea of slowing down, witnessing my breath, and feeling was almost painful. But this is exactly why I say this group needs the practice of yoga the most. I know from experience. This is usually the personality type that is addicted to always ‘doing’, has no time for yoga let alone to notice they are breathing, and most of the time…are those who have some undigested emotions or life experiences they’re holding on to. Too deep and painful of feelings to process that the idea of allowing themselves to slow down and feel is almost too much to bear. It’s scary for them! This is the type of soul that, as a yoga instructor, I approach with gentleness and compassion. Otherwise, their go-getter perfectionist type-A personality type may overtake them and they’ll find a reason to give up on their yoga journey.
Of course, there are other reasons people have besides the three listed above to turn away from a yoga practice. But what’s important to take away is that these are all judgments of the mind and the ego. They are not reality. We need to match judgement with love. Match fear with freedom. We need to inspire each other with actions and by sharing our own personal journeys. Yoga truly is a guide and a journey back home to your soul. It doesn’t matter how messy the journey is. The only thing that matters is that you embark on your yoga journey and never give up.