Throughout my yoga training, I remember looking at the teachers that were far ahead of me in their training and certifications as well as their mindsets and lifestyles. Without vocalizing it to myself or others, I had put them on pedestals. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that once I became a 200HR yoga teacher, wait no, a 500HR teacher, wait no, a Prenatal yoga teacher, maybe THEN I would have it together.
Many people become intimidated to begin yoga because of stigmas that surround it. “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” “I’m not calm enough to do yoga.” “I can’t afford yoga.” “Yoga is for girls. Where’s my protein shake?”
And as much as it saddens me that I can’t seem to convince these people to come to my class, I also understand. That was me too.
My point in writing this blog post is to say that sometimes, that is still me too.
I have heard and regurgitated the phrase many times, “Yoga is a practice. There is no game.” The stigmas of yoga extend far past the studio. And the mindsets that hold us back from a consistent yoga practice are ones that extend into our lives and hold us back from other things as well.
Men and tall women are prone to having more strength than flexibility. (I am 5’9.”) Strength, is often our strength. Others are blessed with flexibility but lack strength. Yoga helps to balance these two qualities (and many others).
As a yoga teacher, I am often self-conscious of my lack of flexibility when teaching or taking a class. My splits? Not great. In fact, they may go by another pose name all together because that’s certainly not what they look like. But catch me in peacock pose and I’m ready to take on the world!
Yoga is a practice. Even for a yoga teacher with three certifications.
Lifestyle is a practice. Even for a yoga teacher with three certifications.
I am not perfect. I don’t wake up at 6am to a smoothie and an hour of yoga and am prim and perfect by 8am. That would be awesome though, wouldn’t it? So I’ll work towards it.
I don’t always eat healthy and sometimes I go out with friends. No, its great! And even better, when I don’t guilt myself about not fasting and meditating instead, I am able to get on with my yoga practice the next day instead of allowing my negative self-talk to hold me back.
Its called patience. Its called forgiveness. Its called being your own friend and being kind to yourself. Its not holding yourself to unattainable standards that aren’t meant for you or that perhaps you’re just not ready for. What is a goal if its easy? There’s no growth in that.
I write this to humanize what yoga and the people who do it are. They are often those who struggle with themselves, their lifestyles, their past, and their goals for the future. They are determined and sometimes weak.
You don’t need to be flexible to come to yoga or pursue a career in it. That I am proof of that. Yoga will help you with flexibility. And if you’re all about strength and feel yoga isn’t enough for you, I dare you to take a vinyasa class and not shake once. Think you’ve got it covered? Try covering your eyes with a blindfold like the 500HR teacher trainees at Atmananda for two hours a day for six weeks straight. Yoga works your muscles in a completely different way than many athletes are used to. I promise, it will help you in any other practice. And as much fun and maybe simple a blindfold sounds, your muscles work five times as hard without a visual for your equilibrium.
Feeling shaky now?
Those are just some of the physical benefits. It helps with energy levels, it helps with insomnia, it helps to balance hormone production which directly aids in balance of mood and emotions. You don’t walk into yoga class cool, calm, and collected. Especially if you live and work in NYC! But that is why you GO. So you can leave feeling that way. So you can finish your day feeling that way. So you can have some reprieve from the crazy world and finally take an hour to yourself.
If its finances getting you down there are plenty of YouTube videos and apps. Can’t do yoga at home? Check out Yoga to the People which is an amazing studio that has changed the game for the accessibility of yoga across different classes and levels of income. There is a suggested donation of $10; Give it if you can, its cheaper than most other yoga classes. If you can’t, that’s why its ‘suggested.’ Give what you can and get yourself to class.
If you find that little voice in your head babbling any of these excuses in the future, remember that every person who looks like they've got it together on the outside probably doesn't either. But they're trying.
Give yourself permission to do the same.
From one human to another, happy practicing!
#yoga #nyc #newyorkcity #nyyoga #nycyoga #findyourflow #pose #asana #headstand #strength #flexibility #shewolfwellness #wellness #health #imperfect #human #yogi #entrepreneur #femalebusinessowner #dba #selfcare #selflove #priorities #goals #fitnessgoals #200RYT #500RYT #RPYT #improve #bethebestyou #selfrespect #dobetter #bebetter #timetogrow #challengeyourself #privateyogateacher #yogateacher #stateofmind #mindfulness #calm #wellbeing #community #yogaclass #atmananda #yogatothepeople #youtube