Whenever I mention yoga to anyone I get one of two responses, this one: ‘You do Yoga? Oh yeah I think I tried it once years ago’ or this one: ‘Oh you do yoga! Yoga’s for bendy people isn’t it?’
Well let me tell you this, I’m a yoga teacher and I’m not very bendy and I tried yoga once years ago and it wasn’t for me either. However, I have a couple of theories; your body will allow you to bend only as far as you are able to and yoga can help to promote that a little bit and, I don’t think you find yoga, I think yoga finds you and so if you’re still reading this then maybe yoga has just found you. Read on a little further and see….
Yoga has been around for thousands of years and has its roots firmly planted in India. The philosophy of yoga has been passed down through generations and the yoga that we know today is a blend of yogic philosophy and postures to encapsulate body and mind; after all the literal meaning of Yoga is ‘to unite. ‘
All yoga classes are different, as there are exercise classes that extend from Aerobics to Step, from Zumba to Pilates, so too there are Yoga classes that range from Vinyasa (flow) to Sivananada (wellness) and from Astanga (eight limbs) to Iyengar (body alignment) to name just a few.
Many yoga classes blend a number of types of yoga together to form Hatha Yoga which is a series of postures combined with energy control. This not only provides a workout for your body but also works to promote relaxation and mindfulness.
If you are new to yoga the postures are not as difficult as you might imagine; if you don’t have the kind of body that will allow you to get your ankle up round your ear somewhere (and to be honest there’s not many of us that can do that…myself included!) then you will be interested in the more gentle, yet stimulating postures.
Yoga is for all of us, no matter how old or how young. It stretches the muscles to increase flexibility and strength and moves the joints to promote mobility. It also allows us to improve our balance and, if we allow it, yoga will stimulate our mind and body to a greater self-awareness.
Yoga is like any other exercise, it is completely for the individual because we are all different and respond to everything we do in different ways. It is non-competitive; you go completely at your own pace and only work within your own capabilities. It can be as energetic as you wish to make it and equally it can be as restorative as you need.
So to bust the myth a little bit; yoga is flexible to meet the needs of the individual; you don’t have to be flexible to meet the needs of yoga. Although you might find, as I have, that yoga can provide that ultimate stretch in ways that you might never have imagined.