Human bodies are meant to move. Yet, in our modern society, we may find ourselves meeting the idea of movement with a lot of resistance, fear, and a general feeling of alienation. The way fitness is shown in the media can offer a very one-sided view of what the experience can be like for us, and if we aren’t able to recognize ourselves in these spaces- then we may develop the belief that movement is inherently not for us. Another issue we have is that fitness is usually promoted as a way for us to ‘become better’. Whether brands are pushing weight loss, body sculpting, or some other unrealistic and inherently damaging idea about fitness- It's no wonder that many of us feel shut out of this hyper-fit culture around movement and working out. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that many of these ideas have made their way into how we perceive and interact with Yoga in the western world. Many people may see yoga as an exclusive practice- one reserved for skinny and flexible people clad in name brand spandex with toned bodies. This could not be further from the TRUTH of yoga. Yoga is for everyone. Yoga is a path not only to movement (asana), but also a doorway to spirituality, improved emotional and mental health, and self discovery.
So, if you have ever asked yourself: “Is yoga for me?” I want to share with you that YES- yes, it is. Yoga is for everyone- this is its very essence.
Yoga is never about changing our bodies. So often, our western ideas of fitness are based around the idea that we are ot enough, and therefore, need to change our bodies, looks, etc in order to become ‘better’ versions of ourselves. Again, this is absolutely not the truth- this is capitalism and ingrained colonialism hard at work in our society.
When we approach Yoga, it tells us that who we are and how we have arrived is and always will be enough. We are invited to transform if that is what we are seeking, and we are equally invited to rest and to embrace the simplicity of our beingness in the present moment- without needing to change or alter anything about ourselves or our experience. Yoga takes us closer to the truth of ourselves, our bodies, and our Souls.
Building a safe and positive relationship with Yoga begins with understanding your own needs. Ask yourself these questions:
“What needs are arising for me, asking to be cared for lately?”
“What would feel good for my body?”
“What does my ideal relationship with movement look like?”
“What do I want to get out of my yoga practice?”
These questions are important and help you get to the core of your intentions for your Yoga practice.
Once you’ve taken the time to explore these answers, you can begin to cultivate an authentic relationship with yoga.
Remember, there are many different styles of yoga, and various ways to practice each. For those who are seeking greater invigoration, more daily energy, and to feel stronger in their bodies- a vinyasa practice may be the best fit. For those whose ideal movement looks like slow, nourishing feel-good stretches and exercises- a restorative or yin yoga practice may be the right fit. I encourage you to explore the various styles and expressions of what yoga can be, and courageously try them on until you discover the style(s) that serve your highest good.
Yoga is for everyone. Yoga is a safe space, where we can show up authentically, messily, truly, and bravely.
Yoga is for you.