Often I tell people they should try yoga. And often I watch their faces contort with such abhorrence that I can barely make out the person I'm speaking to.
Why the fear? Why so much hate and disdain? Why so many excuses? I'm not flexible...I don't have any balance...I'm too fidgety. PEOPLE! (yes I'm shouting) This is why you start doing yoga! Allow yourself to be a beginner. When you learned how to ride a bike did you just hop on and ride like the wind? No, you had a few stumbles but you kept trying because you wanted that freedom. That is exactly what you will experience with your yoga practice. But in the end...freedom. Freedom to connect from within yourself, freedom to feel and move and freedom of your worries and cares even if just for a moment.
With all that being said, let me take you back to the start of my yoga practice...
5 years ago I could not touch my toes. Seriously. I couldn't do the splits, I couldn't bind from side angle and I couldn't balance in dancer. I was the yoga teacher that couldn't. BUT, I never allowed myself to believe that these thing were completely unattainable. I'll admit that my frustration grew as I taught classes and led people into the beautiful poses that I could barely demonstrate on my own body. What was I missing? I'm the freaking instructor here! I'm embarrassed to type the following word...practice. I'm also embarrassed to admit that it took me almost a year to discover this. Having the knowledge and putting it into practice are two completely different things. I was teaching but not practicing. Why weren't you practicing you ask? Well...because I wasn't flexible, I didn't have good balance and I was too fidgety.
I started a morning and evening practice lasting 10 minutes each. Building from basic poses such as mountain, upward facing dog, downward facing dog and crescent lunge I grew more focused and balanced. Every couple of weeks I would add on perfecting each pose as my body would allow. I was sore. I fell down sometimes. One time I even farted. My body was changing, my mind was connected and finding my own practice helped me to become a better instructor. I also discovered that the “rules” of yoga were made for breaking. As I became my own student I realized that yoga doesn't have to be taught in sanskrit, listening to ocean sounds drinking cucumber water. You may love that but I didn't. I want to move and rock out and laugh and connect with the amazing people that decided to spend an hour with me with their butts in the air. In letting all of that yoga stigma go I started to really love yoga, I mean like every day. And then guess what?! I could touch my own toes. Without effort, without pain or strain and without a bend in my knees.
I promise that yoga is for everybody but not every yoga class is. When you connect into your own practice you will start to build something amazing from within yourself and it will shine through until one day you can ride your bike all the way down the street without falling off.