I’m going to try yoga but don’t expect me to be good at it.
I’m not going to be able to do a lot of stuff.
I can’t do what you do.
This is often the introductory phrase of a lot of yoga students. It’s apologetic before trying. It’s so much pressure to fit in.
How we move inside our bodies is the difference in approach that I’d like to dive into a little deeper in this blog post.
Much of the gym or fitness experience is one of enduring agony, pain and discomfort. We “get through it.” Whether we are on a treadmill or doing burpees, our approach is “as fast as we can,” “as much as we can,” “push past the pain,” “mind over matter.”
We tune out with television screens or earbuds and grit through whatever it is. We lift heavy things and release them in a crash of relief.
Defining “fitness” as such, treating our bodies as machines and even as the enemy, is the opposite of the relationship we yoga teaches us to cultivate with our bodies.
How we move matters.
And putting mind over matter tells our bodies how it feels doesn’t matter.
Yoga teaches us not to have our mind dominate over the body or separate from the body, but to connect with the body and the breath. And if the body has said it’s hitting limits, the mind should listen because that’s loving and compassionate.
The same holds on our yoga mats. Our yoga experience shouldn’t sound like rush-hour at the gym with stomping, grunting and crashing sounds. But there’s always students who hurtle their leg to the front of their mat into a lunge or Warrior pose with a thud. There’s countless students who huff and puff enduring, pushing through. They haven’t experienced or been asked to make their fitness fit THEM.
I’m trying to teach that yoga should fit YOU, not be FITNESS.
We shouldn’t strive to make our yoga poses look like anyone else’s, or try to get into poses that our bodies aren’t ready for and may never be ready for.
It’s not a dressing room where we’re forcing on a pair of jeans two sizes too small.
Instead, can we be OK with trying on a pose in a way that fits us and actually FEEL what it has to offer, not what we THINK it’s supposed to look like?