There's no way in hell I can do yoga!
When most people hear the word Yoga, they visualize a thin, young woman with her body contorted in some crazy position. No wonder why yoga is so intimidating and most people think...
"There's no way in hell I can do yoga!"
Yoga is so much more then an asana ( pose). The definition of yoga is to yolk or to create union. It's a practice that supports each of us on our individual path of discovering & loving ourselves.
It's the art of living, which means it's for every-BODY.
Each month we'll be focusing on an aspect of the 8 limbs of yoga. Last month we practiced the 1st YAMA: Ahimsa - non-violence & compassion.
For September, we'll immerse ourselves into SATYA - to think, speak & act with integrity. Let's begin with how we can apply this to our yoga & fitness practice.
When we’re in a class filled with other yogis, it’s challenging to not compare ourselves to others, especially if we’re new. We want to be able to keep up and not look like an idiot. Often times we’ll come into a pose that just doesn’t feel right in our body and just stay so we're not bad at yoga. We convince ourselves to just suck it up!
Then there's the situation when the person next to you or in front of you is more advanced in their practice and blessed with joint mobility, and you try to keep up with them. You can’t breathe, you feel pain and your sweat is blinding you.
The mat is an interesting place. It can bring out our biggest ego or it can be what calms, heals and balances our deepest selves.
Truth is, we get it and that’s why it’s so important for all of us to bring yoga philosophy onto our mats to keep us safe & healthy. Practicing Satya on our mats is being honest & kind to ourselves. It’s being our loudest cheerleader. It’s about keeping ourselves out of harm's way. We all want to be really great at whatever we do and often times that can get in the way of us taking care of ourselves.
Here are some sensations that we can all practice moving away from while on our mats:
- Not being able to fully breath
- Muscle spasms
And here are some sensations to welcome:
- Broad ache
- Gentle shaking ( not in YIN classes )
- Moderate stretching sensation
- Fluid breath
On a scale of 1-10 (1 = no sensation; 10 = Pain) play between 5-7.
It’s called the yogic edge.
We NEVER want to hear anyone leaving class saying “that hurt.” Let's all throw out the belief “more pain, more gain.” We want moderate, healthy & sustainable sensations. If you’re a sensation junkie, keep in mind that going beyond a healthy range = destroying cartilage, bone on bone compression, misalignment & pinched nerves, among many other injuries.
When we’re on the mat we really need to stay present and have a truthful conversation (practice SATYA) with ourselves. Does this feel good? Am I being kind to myself? Am I pushing it too far? Am I not trying at all? Our practice will constantly change so you can expect different answers every time you show up.
The best advice from one of my yoga teachers, Kat Mansfield shared with me during my teens was "don't come to yoga to tone your arms, to lift your butt or to flatten your abs. There's so much more to this practice. So come to yoga to experience being with yourself. See what that is and just by showing up for yourself, you'll reap ALL of the benefits of yoga, including that cute toned bum."
As a practice in genuinely honoring your truth, maybe you'll need to ask a teacher for modified pose vs. suffering through a pose. Maybe if you’re bored in class you ask for more advanced poses. Maybe you take a few private sessions and get a better understanding of what’s happening inside of your body. Whatever it is, be really honest about your needs.