Only skinny people do yoga (and other misconceptions)
I can’t do yoga.
I’m too big.
I’m not flexible.
I’m not fit.
I’m too old.
I have an injury.
I don’t have the right clothes.
Just some of the misconceptions I have heard from women in regards to yoga.
I have been doing yoga for about 16 years. I can tell you right now that you don’t have to be any of those things to do yoga.
I think social media has a lot to answer for in creating these misconceptions. We see wellness people on Instagram or Facebook showing their amazing skinny bodies, clad in bikinis, performing superhuman feats of balance and flexibility on some beautiful exotic beach or mountaintop.
Good luck to them – that’s their practice. I can tell you now that there are just as many regular sized mums with wobbly bits, in holey tracky-daks doing their yoga on a sticky floor in suburbia.
Yoga quite literally means to join, unite or attach.
Yoga is so much more than a physical practice. In fact the asanas (or poses) are just one aspect of yoga. Wait until you find out about all the awesome breathing practices and relaxation techniques like yoga nidra!
You don’t need special clothes (just something comfy and stretchy) or equipment (although a yoga mat is nice to have). You don’t even need to go to a class. Get hold of a book or a dvd and go for it. Your local library is a good place to start.
If you want to go to a class, choose a yoga teacher that is more spiritual based rather than exercise based. They should be encouraging you to go at your own pace, stop if something is hurting or doesn’t feel right and allowing you to find your own way. Some teachers also offer one on one teaching.
In fact, many of the yoga teachers I have had do not have perfect bodies or perfect flexibility. How refreshing! You will find people of all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels at yoga classes. I have done yoga with a very flexible octogenarian!
Yoga can be done by anyone!
Yoga can be comfortably done with bolsters, cushions and blankets supporting you and poses can always be modified to suit the level you are at. I have a bulging disc so I am careful to never do forward bends. If you have an injury, get some advice from a qualified yoga teacher or ask an exercise physiologist what you should avoid. Yoga can also be done from a chair or in bed. You don’t have to get down on the floor if you can’t manage it.
It’s not about tying yourself up in a shape that resembles a pretzel (although if you practice for a few years you might want to do that!) To start with, it’s about moving your body, stretching it out and making it feel good.
If you don’t resonate with the first yoga you try, then try something else. There are many different types of yoga, each with different focuses. If you are a bloke, don’t be intimidated by classes! My hubby loves his yoga and he doesn’t mind hanging out at classes with me. Yeah, guys can do yoga too!
What I think I love most about yoga is that it fosters self awareness, mindfulness and appreciation of our bodies. The benefits of yoga are just too good to dismiss it because you think you are ‘too something’ or ‘not enough something else’!
It might be just what you are looking for!
Need some inspiration?
Check out the hashtag #curvygirlyoga or #curvyyoga on Instagram.
I will be talking more about yoga in the coming weeks. Those of you in our chat group asked me to put together five basic poses for the beginner to practice. Keep an eye out for that one.
I would love to hear your experiences with yoga! Let us know in the comments!