By Jennifer Dixon MBA ERYT 500- Is yoga for me? This is a question I get in some shape or form almost on a weekly basis. Trust me, I get it. Before I started yoga, I thought yoga was “for sissies.” No kidding, I was basically laid up with terrible back pain, and my boyfriend at the time (he’s now my husband and a saint) suggested I tried yoga to help with the pain and that was my response… It took me waaaay too many steroid epidural shots to give it a go, but I finally agreed to and bam, I was an immediate yoga convert.
As a yoga teacher, studio owner, and avid practitioner for almost ten years now, sometimes I forget how intimidating it can be to start something new…especially if that something is shrouded with a bit of mystery, a whole bunch of misinformation, and (at least in some places) negative belief concepts.
People that are introduced to yoga are usually drawn to a couple of very specific things;
- Physical benefits of the practice
- Mental benefits of the practice
- Historical and Philosophical benefits of the practice
I was originally drawn to the practice for the physical benefits, but have continued on because of the mental benefits. So, it is armed with this information, when asked, Is Yoga For Me? I have to figure out exactly what YOU want.. I will be 100% honest here, sometimes yoga, at least the type of practice I can provide, may not be what everyone is looking for.
It is my belief that yoga is for Every Body. Something you’ll likely not hear from me or Thrive Studios is, what I call “segregated” yoga. Meaning, I’m not a huge fan of classes meant for just one type of person or one particular group of people (special circumstances like Chair, Senior, maybe even Pre & Post natal yoga being the exception.)
Yoga means UNION. Union means coming together, not bringing separate because one group of people may not want to be in the same room as another group of people. That very sentence seems the complete opposite of what yoga truly is.
At Thrive Yoga, the goal is to provide the absolute best experience for every body that walks into the studio. This means, if you’re 13 or 81, you will have the best experience possible, in a group setting, which will include a mix of every age, body, and ability. You can not believe the beauty and the amazing energy, when you experience a practice with so many different abilities present.
Yoga is for you if:
- You have a body
- You want to be healthy
- You want to be present
Your body WANTS to move. It craves wellness. The best self healing circuit on the planet, your body wants to stay in motion and well. However, sometimes meeting up the body and mind connection….well, that is a little difficult.
Yoga is for you if you want to work.
Yoga is NOT easy.
Of course, the mind is the battleground. The mind is what tells us “I’m too tired” “I hurt too much.” “I’m too busy.” “I could NEVER do XYZ.”
This is where the yoga practice starts for every single body….the place of union between the body and the mind.
When someone asks me, “Is yoga for me?” I have to find out where their mind is —as well as their body right here and now, to be able to tell them truly if Yoga is for them.
Yoga is for you if the desire to practice is present.
Yoga does not require you to be flexible. (Flexibility comes with practice.)
Yoga does not require you to be strong. (Strength comes with practice.)
Yoga does not require you to eat a certain way. (Although with time, you may find your tastes do change.)
Yoga does not require you to give up any pre-existing beliefs…. (except the belief that you can’t do the practice.
Yoga is for you if you desire to practice.
Pattahbi Jois said, “Practice and all is coming.” The key word there is PRACTICE.
Here’s the thing though. Your practice may look significantly different than my practice or the person beside you. This is AWESOME!! We were each created differently. Things that are easy for me, may not be easy for you—on the flip side, things that are easy for you may take me years to accomplish. This means, when you come to the class, if you look around and try to figure out a pose, you absolutely can’t let that terrible inner voice say, “You’ll never be able to do that.”
That’s the mind trying to take you away from the practice.
Sometimes, you may be in a practice and your mind says, “You can do that.” When in reality, your body says “OH HECK NO!” This is the yoga. Getting your mind and body to connect, to understand that your body and mind may be in two different places at one point in time, is a part of the yoga practice. Bringing them together helps you be aware, present and grow you in your practice.
Sometimes though, circumstances exist that require you to need special services. This doesn’t mean yoga isn’t for you, it just means you may have to practice one on one with a qualified instructor for some time until you are able to join group classes. Private sessions are an excellent way to get the instruction and specific guidance you need to either start or grow your practice.
Your body wants to move, let the practice help you do just that.
Yoga is for you if you want to be healthy, keep moving, and relieve stress.
Remember the basic law of physics, An object in motion tends to stay in motion? That applies in yoga and your body as well. The more you keep your body moving, the better your body will be. The intentional breathwork that comes with a regular yoga practice also enhances the health building effects of yoga. A regular yoga practice, no matter the age, can help you to build strength (muscle mass), bone density (because the poses are weight bearing), lung capacity (because you are practicing different mindful breathing techniques,) and stress management tactics, (because you are learning to stay calm even when your body and mind may be saying some not so calm things..). All of these benefits combined will help lead you to better health.
I invite you to come and practice with us here at Thrive Yoga and Wellness located just outside of Chattanooga in the beautiful suburb of E. Brainerd. If you’re not local to our area, check out our free resources in this blog and on our Youtube Channel. If you’re looking for a great, low impact, high result yoga program that can help you get healthy from the comfort of your home, check out our online video course, The Mommy Bounce Back Program. Finally, if you’d like to schedule some private sessions with me or any of our super qualified, caring instructors, don’t hesitate to reach out anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am excited to practice with you soon.