Can I Practice Yoga?
Have you ever considered starting a yoga practice? I'd like to tell you how perfect you are for yoga and how you can begin right now.
"I've always liked the idea of yoga, but I'm not flexible enough for it." "I think I'm a bit old for it now." "I couldn't do all those postures you see where they stand on their heads and tie themselves in knots!" "I just don't think my body proportions are right for it." These are just a handful of quotes I have heard repeated over and over again in conversations surrounding yoga today. These days, with so many different avenues of the practice to follow, to declare "I don't like yoga", would be like declaring "I don't like films" without first considering the various styles, genres and directors.
Not every style of yoga, not every teacher and not every practice space will work for you. Sometimes this important information isn't shared with us when we start our journey and as a result we can end up feeling marginalised, undeserving and simply not good enough.
Yoga doesn't expect that you arrive being able to fold in half to touch your toes, it simply asks that you arrive - that you show up.
It is important to remember that the very fact of our existence in this physical body, exactly as it is now, grants us the permission to show up to OUR practice. Yoga doesn't expect that you arrive being able to fold in half to touch your toes, it simply asks that you arrive - that you show up. Yes, flexibility comes as a by-product of a physical asana practice but it doesn't need to be the focus.
“The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind & the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” B.K.S Iyengar
Wherever you are right now, you can connect to a sense of aliveness in your body. Perhaps it's the beating of the heart, the sound of the breath, or the rise and fall of the chest. Maybe it's a tingling in the fingers or the toes as you send your awareness there. Your thoughts. You are a conscious and creative being, the brain is active and busy. B.K.S Iyengar (who is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world, and deemed responsible for the widespread of yoga across the West) said "Yoga is like music: The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind & the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life."
B.K.S Iyengar captures perfectly the weaving of body, mind and soul that we aim to inspire in yoga and the non-linear dance of life. This is always present, if only we take the time to notice, and it is here that your practice begins.
Take a moment right now to notice your breath. Take a deep inhale, and an exhale.
By tapping into your symphony, or in other words, simply taking a moment out of your day to connect with your body, your breath or your thoughts, you begin to build an awareness and consequently a practice. You may think it doesn't look like much from the outside, and you might not be on a yoga mat, or twisted into some upside-down shape, but it is a practice of yoga nonetheless. And it is yours.
If you still wish to touch your toes, with a sustained physical practice your hamstrings will lengthen and you may get there. If you don't, you and your practice are no less valid. If you remember to pause regularly and connect to the sensations of being alive, your yoga practice is already flourishing.