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I'm Not Very Good At Yoga....

By Natalie Shoemaker

SUN AUG 02, 2020

I'm Not Very Good At Yoga....

The article (in bold below) from "Making Yoga Work for You: Modifications for Every Body"by Lori Wright

https://www.fitwoman.com/blog/yoga-modifications/ really, really speaks to me.

(In fact I have been carrying the link around in the notes section on my phone for 18 months now - it's THAT inspiring!)

In the beginning, I personally had so many reasons why I shouldn't do yoga - I was NOT small enough, NOT young enough, NOT flexible enough, NOT fit enough - I was light years away from the women portrayed on the glossy pages of the yoga magazines or the bendy babes promoting yoga clothing brands. I'm not sure in the end why I felt 2006 was the right time for me to delve into this unknown, it just was - but I still had all of those reservations to battle. Whatever the reason, I began my journey with a DVD (gosh maybe it was still VHS!) called "Ali Macgraw Yoga Mind and Body" with teacher Erich Schiffman leading the practise. I couldn't do the whole 50 minute class for many weeks, slowly having to build myself up. And then one day, still with great hesitation I went to my first in-studio yoga class in my neighborhood where the teacher welcomed me with open arms. I can not lie.....I was shocked at how hard yoga was, how hard it was to hold my own arms over my head for a short period of time, how I didn't even know really where my body was in space, how I was so disconnected, so divorced from my own body - the teacher would mention a body part, like sacrum, and I wondered where the heck it was and if I even had one! She'd say "tip your pelvis", and I was like "Tip my whaaaaat?" I remember going home and having to look it up!

Enjoy the beautiful article from fitwoman.com, and may it serve as a gentle reminder to show ourselves more love, more compassion, more kindness on and off the mat - because truly if you have a body and breath, you CAN yoga!

"The other day during lunch a beautiful woman with large blue eyes trepidatiously approached me.  “I’m not very good at yoga,” she said, wringing her hands. “Can I still take the class?”

My response: “Of course. It’s not about the pose; it’s where your mind goes during class.”  Many people think that if they can’t touch their toes or go into headstand, they aren’t “doing” yoga.

As Long As You Feel A Stretch – It’s Yoga

The truth be told, as long as you feel a stretch, you are doing yoga.  And it only takes about three weeks before you will be able to notice a difference in flexibility.  For me, every three months I notice some benefit I have received from my regular yoga practice, whether it is more flexibility or strength, less stress, or the ability to look at a stressful situation in my life with more clarity.

You are not practicing yoga if you are thinking about what to make for dinner or that you need to  contact that old friend from high school that you’ve lost touch with over the years.  Being present in the moment, knowing that nothing else matters except being on your mat, is vital to yoga practice.

Oh, and I’m not perfect, as I bend into forward fold, peering at my toes, and judging myself that I need a pedicure.  However, when I catch myself thinking that, I take a big exhale, let go of the thought, and then let go of the judgment I might hold against myself for having the thought to begin with.

Essential for your yoga practice is making sure you are honoring and respecting your body, listening to all the messages your body is sending you, and knowing that you are invited to come into a rest pose or modify your pose if there is a pose that does not feel like a good choice for the body you have today.

Last Thoughts On Being ‘Good’ At Yoga

I am happy to say that sweet lady did try the class, and left with a peaceful smile on her proud face.  Internally, I cheered a silent applause.

So what does being ‘good’ at yoga really look like?  Honoring your body, being present in the moment, and having the courage to trust yourself to step onto that yoga mat."