Often times I am asked: “What’s so great about yoga?”. I have had friends and relatives who were curious and approving of my Yogic lifestyle, yet these same people convincingly state that “Yoga looks too difficult” and they “CAN’T do Yoga”, because they aren’t very “flexible”. My reaction is always marked by one, simple statement:
“If you can breathe…THEN YOU CAN DO YOGA!”
This usually throws them off even more and is many times followed by: “OK then , convince me as to WHY I SHOULD DO YOGA?” Well, I hate to break it to you guys but…I can’t convince you to DO anything, nor can I tell you what each individual’s experience will be during a Yoga session….sorry :/
What I can tell you is what Yoga did for me. At a time in my life, where everything was high stress, anxiety, and negativity, I stumbled upon a Yoga class and decided to stick with it. Maybe it was for the workout, or maybe for the mental calm it created, but either way I am convinced that Yoga changed my life!
From my very first Viparita Karani (“Leg’s up the Wall”, a gentle and restorative pose), I was taught to listen to my breathe, and feel it move throughout my body. I learned to completely relax and release every muscle I knew existed, and activate and lengthen muscles that I DIDN’T know existed.
Yoga became my therapy at the age of 21 and I have carried it with me everyday. Whether it’s a few minutes of rolling around on the floor doing some gentle twists and stretches, a full blown 2 hour sweat session in my home studio, or being 110 % present in this moment as I write to you, I move with my breathe and I find peace.
My Yoga practice, has strengthened me physically and mentally and taught me to find stillness and tranquility in a world sometimes full of chaos. My Yoga teachers have given me permission to love myself and every part of my body. In that process I have formed a better relationship with myself, a relationship that is more nurturing and gentle, one that honors and accepts my limitations and all that is… Me. Using those same principles, I have formed a better relationship with friends, family, significant others… and I teach them that they can do the same….if they so choose.
So not everyone can do headstands for hours at a time, or wrap their legs behind their head…but one thing everyone can do is LISTEN to their breathe, and follow it. Find the calm deep inside you, beneath the waves of “chaos”. Listen to it, hold on to it, move with it, and let it go. Be at peace with yourself and those around you. Smile. Laugh. Love. That my friend’s, is what’s so great about…Yoga