There are certain questions and phrases that we hear a lot in our lives.
When I was younger I heard a lot of “you’re weird” and “can I see your ID”.
These days I still hear a lot of “you’re weird”.
I hear much less “can I see your ID” which I suspect is due to a combination of time passing as well as my recent decision to stop carrying a tiny Spider Man backpack.
(Let’s be honest, I still have the backpack. I just need more room than Spider Man can offer me.)
What we hear changes over time as we do.
When I worked as a waitress, it was “what’s the special today?”
When I started fire dancing, it was “have you ever burnt yourself?”
When I briefly attempted learning to play the harmonica, it was “please don’t”.
Since I have started to teach yoga, I have heard a lot of this:
“I can’t do yoga, I’m the least flexible person in the world!”
I get it. They’re trying to be cheeky.
But to be honest it has become a little old.
I have now met countless people who claim to be the “least flexible person in the world”!
In response I usually just tell them to “get in line”.
But what I really want to say is this:
“The problem isn't that you’re not flexible.
The problem is that you’re making excuses.”
To say that you CAN’T practice yoga because you aren't bendy enough is like saying that you can’t go to a car wash because your car isn’t clean enough… It’s batshit crazy!
Don’t avoid yoga because you think you’re not good enough.
If you’re intimidated then begin with small steps. Take some online classes or a beginner class in-person. Learn modifications that work for your needs and take breaks as you need them. Then begin to ask questions. Find the answers, make mistakes, learn, and grow. Then keep on doing it.
People of all different backgrounds and abilities can practice yoga.
In person and online, I have taught all sorts of people! There is a yoga for everyone and, if you’re actually interested in practicing, you’ll find it. It doesn't have to be Rage Yoga, it just has to be a good fit for you.
Western yoga glorifies flexibility, strength and coordination.
If you look yoga up on social media (I’m looking at you, Instagram) then almost all you see are gorgeous thin looking women who are doing crazy things in beautiful places. This can make yoga seem very intimidating because real life doesn’t look like that! So forget about the perfect pictures in your head.
Flexibility, strength and coordination are side effects of a practice. Not prerequisites.
People often come to yoga specifically to get these things and that’s great! Anyone can get them with a regular practice but yoga can offer a lot more as well. It’s not all about the end pose. It’s not about being able to sit on your head or press up into a handstand. It’s about the journey and whatever the hell you learn along the way.
Yoga helps people find what they need… and it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer!
Some people find inner-peace or a sense of self worth. Some find a way to just relax and let go of the bullshit in their lives. Some find a spiritual connection, or even just learn to be still! Others find community and inner-strength.
You don’t need to be flexible in order to better yourself. You just need to start.