Yoga can be intimidating, especially for someone who is used to a gym setting (or for someone who has never even stepped foot inside a gym or yoga studio). When new yogis leave their first class with me, with the post-yoga blissful smile swept across their faces, I ask them why they haven't tried it before, and I usually get one of these 5 responses to why they haven't done yoga:
- I'm not good enough to go to a yoga class
- I'm not flexible enough
- I'm not a 'real yogi'
- I'll never be able to do that (insert fancy headstand here)
- I'm not in good enough shape
If you have ever thought along these lines, I am here to encourage you to let go of your ego, let go of all expectations, and let go of your fear of yoga. Everyone is on a separate yoga journey, and I promise you – no one is looking at yours. Everyone is too focused on their own practice, and not worrying about how funny you look in your downward dog. It's okay to be inflexible, that is why you SHOULD go to yoga. Like anything else in life, yoga takes practice, patience, and a whole lot of heart.
Hopefully these 5 reasons will nudge you out the door and into the wonders waiting on your yoga mat!
Release the crazy. You have a million thoughts running around inside your brain, a million expectations, a million things on your to-do list. You can drive yourself crazy with the non-stop drive and push to always be moving towards a goal or pushing your limits to move past it. Yoga allows you to breathe life into the present moment, and this enables one to breathe out the 'crazy.' The crazy thoughts that come across your mind, the crazy feelings of not being enough, the crazy feeling that you should be doing better, doing more, doing something else. These feelings slowly begin to fade away when you are forced to simply breathe in, and breathe out.
To work on your 'insides'. Yoga throws you into your body and breath. It allows you to work on the insides – the guts, the secret & hidden places of tightness that you hold onto. I am always on the go, and am usually being pulled a multitude of directions in life, work, and family affairs. For me, Yoga allows personal time to be selfish, time to work on any inner shiftings and uses a combination of breath, sweat, and movement to sift out the dirt in order to dig into what hurts. When you allow yourself space to work on what's happening on the inside, it begins to make the outside a whole lot happier.
To whittle away your waist line. A complete yoga practice fuses breathing techniques, meditation, and asanas (poses). Yoga is a great way to burn calories, and can be an absolute calorie scorcher dependent on the intensity of the class. Not only is yoga a great exercise, but it also leads to decreased levels of stress which decrease your cortisol levels leading to weight loss.
Brings more awareness into your life. The ripple effects of yoga extend far from the four corners of your mat. Getting into a regular yoga practice will open up your world by allowing you to tune in. By tuning in, you begin to cultivate awareness for your own breath, for what you put into your body, and a deeper awareness of how you are truly feeling at any given point of time.
It will make you (and your hips) happy. In our digital world, we often spend hours hunched over a computer screen working away. Even if you're lucky enough to have a standing desk, or a job that doesn't have you typing over a computer for most of the day, odds are you have tight hips and a little bit of inner-tension built up throughout the day.
Getting your daily dose of yoga, even if it's only a ten minute, mid-work break can help stimulate blood flow to the limbs, clear your mind, and let you get back (or start) your work day refreshed and ready to work. There are plenty of online resources, but this quick guide from Kino MacGregor is one of my favorites if you need a little yoga boost in the middle of the day.Shine awareness, light, and a little bit of happiness into your daily routine by adding yoga into the mix. Just try one week of continuous yoga and see where it takes you. Get up and go – your mind, body, and soul will thank you later.