You’ve heard them. And you have probably gotten extremely irritated by them. Those ever so well meaning people who tell you that, if you would just exercise more (maybe take up yoga) you would be all better and you wouldn’t have to rely on those silly meds any more.
You know the first thing that goes through your mind.
If I could do yoga, don’t you think I would love to do yoga, but I know how badly my body hurts just getting through my day and trying to stick my left big toe in my right ear while standing on my head is just not happening.
Why exactly do you think that people who weigh over 120 pounds, or who hurt or aren’t limber or who aren’t “perfect” don’t take up yoga? Any guesses? Anyone?
Look at the people coming in and out of a Yoga studio. Look at the pages of Yoga magazines. You will get a pretty quick idea of why.
I get the Nook version of Yoga Journal and I read it (albeit with a bent to what I can learn not usually because I want to be able to stick my right toe in my left ear while standing on my head. There are some amazingly well written and insightful articles.
But lately (as I hear more and more people talk about how maybe I could be fixed if I would just <insert quick fix here>) I have been looking as much at the pictures in the magazine to see if I can’t figure out why people I talk to don’t think they can take up Yoga.
OH BOY. Yeah, I know why no one feels they can.
On this month’s cover…
Blonde with not a hair out of place despite doing poses on a cliff side overlooking the ocean. Bare midriff. Tight spandex pants. She might weigh 125 pounds. The only thing missing is a bellybutton ring.
Vintage VW Bug with another 115 pound girl on the roof… in the middle of a field of flowers…
Two women sitting on a wooden deck, laughing together… neither has an ounce of extra flesh…
There are the women at the south pole (I guess they are at the south pole. they are standing on mats outside in the snow next to a pole and it says the south pole) and the quote in THAT bit says “it lets us take our big boots off, feel our feet, and just stretch”. The picture is outside in the snow… Funny… Not one of them has their boots off, but they don’t look like they are freezing, either… despite not one of them weighing over 120 pounds and despite the fact that one is doing tree, one is standing on her head, and one is squatting with her butt inches from the snow. The poses are perfect.
There is the well muscled woman on the side of a granite rock.
OH HEY, a guy. Also buff and fit.
None are sweaty. Not one are doing any kind of adaptation of the perfect poses. NONE look like they hurt or are in any way sweaty or un-perfect.
WOW… I found her!!! The ONLY woman in the last couple issues of the magazine (I haven’t gone any further back but I have a hunch…) on page NINETY TWO of the magazine, back buried in the “continued on” section near the rest of the adverts… The token woman who weighs at least 150 pounds. She is doing a way better job at the pose than I could, but at least it isn’t perfect. She isn’t the stereotypical yogi. SHE IS ON PAGE NINETY TWO. And she is in advertisement for a yoga retreat (not ACTUALLY in an article)… but she is there. Hidden in the back… where you would not likely look if you were flipping through the magazine.
I love the magazine. I read the articles. I hate the fact that no one in any of the articles looks ANYTHING like me.
You can do yoga. Honest. I started yoga right after my diagnosis to try to stay ahead of the pain and the stiffness. You can adapt poses and use props to do them. Some of my favorite parts of yoga are the Pranayamas (like here http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/pranayama/)… breathing… thinking about where stuff hurts, and taking as deep a breath as I can and sending my thoughts and the breath to where the pain and stiffness is. Some days, this is the only yoga I can do (the poses are just so far beyond where I am that I just can’t).
You CAN do yoga.
You don’t have to be perfect at it. You don’t have to look like the stereotypical yogis. You don’t have to wear the “right ” clothes or even do half the poses. The point is more taking time to meet yourself where you are and change the way you are thinking during that short amount of time.
It isn’t going to “fix” you, but it can help make you more comfortable in your own mind. It can help with the way you feel about you, if not the way you feel.
Yoga doesn’t have to have anything to do with being perfect, only meeting yourself where you are and meeting your own needs.