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Start Where You Are

When a person arrives at a yoga studio for the first time or views pictures on Instagram, of outrageously flexible people it is easy to become intimidated.

You might conclude, working in an office 8 hours a day, five days a week, where the most exercise you get consists of pushing out your chair to go to the washroom or the water cooler, disqualifies you from engaging in yoga. How on earth could you ever bend into a forward fold and touch your toes? No way! This is completely out of the question!

Misconception

Unfortunately, It’s a common misconception that to practice yoga one needs to be limber, flexible, and strong. Of course, these are important components of the physical aspect of Yoga. But there is much more to Yoga than the physical. Frankly, it is only one component to a very diversified lifestyle that anyone new to the practice of yoga can master.

Like any new discipline it will take time, patience and persistence as you work your way to more intense levels of physical dexterity. Sure, some people are naturally more flexible than others or posses an athletic prowess that most of us can only envy. This allows them more access into physical poses.

Yet, there is much more to Yoga than this. Flexibility is not everything. Those whom we envy may well struggle with other areas of Yoga, which come naturally to us. I have learned not to compare myself to others. Each person’s journey is unique and it’s important to enjoy the journey.

Lifestyle

Having lived everywhere in Canada, Vancouver, Victoria, Kamloops, Banff, Jasper, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, London, Halifax, St Johns I can say it doesn’t matter where you live, yoga is a lifestyle.

It involves: learning to calm and quiet the mind and body, correct breathing which allows you to fill your body with sufficient oxygen, healthy eating that nourishes the mind and body. All these things are equally important in living life in alignment with Yoga.

Furthermore, when you take the time to show another human being kindness and compassion in their time of need: This is Yoga. When your breathing becomes shallow with anger and you condition yourself to take 10 deep breaths to calm down before you explode: This is Yoga. When you consciously choose healthier and more environmentally friendly options at the grocery store: This is Yoga.

Yoga Is Natural

The good news is that the disciplines of Yoga are innate and natural to human beings; without really realizing it we find ourselves doing Yoga instinctively and effortlessly.

As mentioned there are many ways to practice Yoga; but when it comes time to bring ourselves to the mat its important to Start Where You Are.

No need to have the perfect outfit or to pop naturally into the splits. If your practice includes simple movement and connecting with breath, guess what? You’re there. If you lay in savasana or child’s pose to release built up stress and reflect on your day, guess what? You’re there.

Hollywood

Don’t allow the Hollywood  version of yoga to stop you from a discipline, which can transform your everyday life for the better and forever.

Even the decision to take it a step further and do Yoga Teachers Training(YTT) can be a scary decision because (like most) one has to overcome the instinctive fear of not being  flexible or good enough. This fear rings true to all new ventures in life, not just Yoga.

It’s important for Yoga teachers alike to put themselves into others shoes and make a conscious effort to make people feel comfortable and welcome. Taking into consideration the diversity of each person and their different levels of physical fitness, spiritual disciplines and more. Setting the bar too high can lead to discouragement. After all, our goal is to have people come back and feel fulfilled as they progress from the level and space they are in.

Let me encourage you to start the Yoga journey today. Don’t be intimidated! The practice of Yoga will actually help one deal with these feelings of inadequacy; in a very short time the practice of Yoga will give balance and peace to your life as it gives you the confidence to push you out of your comfort zones.