I have had many patients say to me: “ I want to try yoga, but I’ve never done it and I don’t want to make an ass of myself. I’d like to take this moment to set the record straight. Yoga classes are always a place of acceptance. In the media, these classes are portrayed with slim beautiful women bending in near impossible ways. However, the reality is much different.
I imagine there are classes made up of incredibly flexible women, but those are the minority. Most classes are a mixture of men and women of all ages. Each one with multiple restrictions from life’s experiences. There are always people with shoulder pain, back pain, and neck pain to name a few. Doing all the poses is no small feat, but the challenge is why you go to yoga class. Each of us is on a journey, trying to learn about ourselves and how our bodies work as they age. There is beauty in that, not shame. You have to start somewhere. Yoga is as good a place as any.
Even with restrictions, most of our patients are surprised by how much they CAN do in a yoga class. All the poses have modifications and if there is a pose you really can’t do, then you do a pose you can in that moment. There is not a yoga teacher on this earth that would frown upon a student doing what feels right for them. That is what it’s all about. Being honest with yourself and doing what you can. 80% of exercising is showing up. The other 20% is doing what you can at that moment, listening to your body, and moving from that point forward.
This is the tricky part for most folks. They may come to yoga class a couple of times, then say,”it’s not for me”. The reality is their body is starting to open up and change. It means they have to face other aspects of their life that may not be working for them and they don’t want to. I make this point not just for yoga, but for any exercise. I tell all my patients they will have at least two years of exercising regularly before they REALLY feel the positive effects of it. So, keep moving forward.
There’s a great Einstein quote, “Life is like riding a bike. The only way to stay balanced is to keep moving forward”. Sustaining good health is a big picture project, but it takes all the small things adding up to move you forward on the bike.