Whenever I tell people that I am a yoga instructor I almost always get the same response — a very confused look and a very surprised WHAT!? There is a disconnect between the many reasons that people actually to do yoga and a lot of reasons why people THINK other people do yoga. Some people have a preconceived notion that you either have to a) be a hippy whose ultimate goal is enlightenment or b) have to be super flexible and at least be able to touch your toes. Those things might be true for some people, and being flexible is certainly helpful, but not necessary in order to benefit from a yoga practice.
I’m not here to convince you that once you roll out your yoga mat in your next yoga class that you will have this ultimate connection with the universe that will let you know how to touch your toes. Here are some questions I want you to think about if you haven’t tried yoga.
- Have you ever drove home from work and mysteriously forgot the last five minutes of your drive?
- Have you ever had a workout session that you couldn’t concentrate on because your mind was jumping around to everything else but your workout?
- Have you ever bumped into someone, something or just total missed what was right in front of you?
- Have you ever at work or at home was just in the zone and got a lot of things done on your to do list, then the next day it just seems impossible to concentrate on that to do list?
If you answered yes to any of those questions then yoga can definitely help you out. If you answered no to all the questions, well you are better off than most but yoga can still help!!
A yoga class can be a scary thing especially to a beginner or even an experienced beginner. You walk into a class and it either seems intense or you find yourself watching Cirque du Soleil. Everyone in the yoga studio was a beginner at one time and was just as scared as you are, even the teacher had to start somewhere!
The most simplistic answer I think I can give for why you should do yoga, is to pay attention. That is what all those questions above have in common and I find that most mistakes in life happen when we do not pay attention. Meditation is simply practicing concentration or paying attention. The physical exercise is an added bonus.
I know life can be tough and cause a lot physical strains on your body. A yoga class is a moving mediation, the postures you go through in any tradition or level of class are designed for you to pay attention to your body (and not the yogi on the mat next to you)!
The next class you make it to listen to the teacher for the posture cues then just concentrate on your breath. Don’t think about how much your hamstrings are yelling at you. Just pay attention to your breath and acknowledge whatever pops into your brain, then breathe it a way!
Easy enough, give it a shot a let me know how it goes!