If you answered YES…..you are fully qualified to practice yoga! The word YOGA is a Sanskrit word meaning “union”. Yoga is often referred to as the union of breathe and movement. A silly concept considering we must breathe to move….yet, this is the beauty of yoga. We learn to deepen our breath, control our breathing, and link it to movements in a rather harmonious manner.
If you can breath, and given you’re reading this, I’ll assume you can….. than you are capable of doing and excelling at yoga. If you can lift one leg off the ground you can do “tree pose”, if you can lower your bottom as if using the restroom than you can do “chair pose”, if you can stand still with your hands at your side and be present in the moment you can do “mountain pose”…. point taken?
I often hear people say, “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible”. As I have demonstrated above – if you can breathe you CAN do yoga. Have I convinced you yet to try a class? Yoga has an endless list of health benefits including; increasing bone density, flexibility, balance, coordination, muscle strength, and has even been shown to reduce the risk of falling as we age, not to mention improvement in mood and mental flexibility. The poses as mention above can be done alone or as part of a series either way, it’s still yoga.
That’s part of the flexibility of the practice, there is no perfect, there is no “right way” (not everyone would agree with me), if you are breathing and practicing the poses you are doing yoga and with each time you engage in a pose you are excelling and learning a new way of being in that pose. I often learn new ways of grabbing the floor as I fall out of a balancing pose,,, good for humility!
Many folks practice the physical aspect of yoga yet there is a richness that can easily be missed if you consider yoga simply just another form of exercise. Questions to ask yourself the next time you’re on the “mat” (or if it’s your first time on the mat…. Yay for you!)
How can I bring balance into my life?
Am I present for each movement on and off the mat?
Am I judging myself and expecting to do it (or life) perfectly?
Can I fall or mess up without engaging in mental criticism?
AND as you step off the mat and begin to roll it up…..
Ask yourself, How can I bring what I learned on the mat into my life?