Yoga Is For Every Body
One of the reasons why I started my YogaConscious community was to help introduce yoga into the lives of people who are unfamiliar or who have heard the rumors that you need to be super bendy in order to do yoga.
Nowadays, social media is full of perfect poses matched with the perfect life quote; so why wouldn't someone assume that yoga isn't already for the ultra-flexible?
While it's true that lack of flexibility could be one of the most obvious challenges when starting out with practicing yoga, it's certainly not the only challenge. Yoga could be challenging with a lack of strength, joint instability, physical injuries or even emotional injuries. The key is to pay attention to your body during your practice and identify where you could use a little more love.
For me, my biggest issue has been joint strength & stability. I'd describe my limbs - especially my legs - to be similar to a baby deer. Forever wobbly and unstable like a young Bambi, yoga has challenged me most with its many balancing poses.
That's one of the best things about yoga; it creates a conversation between your mind and body. Yoga is about bringing your attention towards your inner body and your breath. The physical benefits that come from yoga are important, but there's also a confidence that comes from trusting yourself and slowly improving through a consistent practice that you can't get anywhere else.
Also, don't forget, the practice should be challenging when starting out! That's why it's worth doing, and is also why it's called 'practice' not 'perfect'. In allowing yourself to focus inward on your own improvements verses comparing yourself to others, yoga can be an extremely transforming experience.
Discover your favorite way to practice.
If you're new to yoga, there are other ways to give yoga a try verses practicing in a studio setting. You could practice one-on-one with a teacher or friend. You could also try giving online videos a try. (I'll have some in the works very soon!) There's also experimenting with a gentle flow or restorative practice first before jumping into a full blown vinyasa class.
In my eyes, yoga doesn't always need to involve a ton of movement. Simply breathing is doing yoga. Meditation is yoga. There's the yoga lifestyle of listening to your body daily and using how you feel, not your brain, to find well-being in nearly every aspect possible. Anything that might create that dialogue between mind, spirit and body is yoga. You don't even necessarily need to break a sweat!
Learn to love your body.
In our society today - especially for women - it is seen as a cultural norm to self-criticize. It's commonplace to complain to friends about certain aspects of our body that we don't like, but for some reason it's not socially acceptable to self-praise. When was the last time you told your friends 'I'm feeling really beautiful and strong today!'. Somehow it doesn't seem as natural or accepted.
This is true in general, but also applies to yoga. If we don't allow ourselves to love our bodies, it'll be even harder to listen inward and create that self dialogue.
Do yourself a favor and take a look at yourself in a full length mirror. Ignore the parts of your brain that typically shout out what you don't like about yourself (acne, weight, that random freckle, etc.) Scan your body and take note of everything you genuinely love about yourself. Write those things down and allow that to be what your brain focuses on each time you look in the mirror. It'll be really hard at first - self-criticism comes so naturally, often without realizing it.
Try this every week - or even each day! Your 'What I Love About Me' list will grow longer as you do the exercise more often. You'll feel naturally more confident about your body and the self-criticizing mindset will eventually move to the wayside. This will help immensely both with being able to trust yourself with your yoga practice, but also with finding more joy and confidence from within every single day.