- Friday, February 03, 2017
You may have a few concerns about whether or not yoga is right for you. Flexibility being one of them. But flexibility is not a prerequisite to beginning a yoga practice. And good news, you are not the only one that might be wondering whether or not you can do yoga if you are not flexible. The short answer to this question is: Yes, you can do yoga if you are not flexible. If this is one of the reasons holding you back from beginning a yoga practice, I would like to share with you why beginning a yoga practice might be just right for you.
Flexibility is important for your mobility as you age.
According to the Harvard Health Letter, stretching regularly is important for our "mobility and independence" in the long run. By stretching you are keeping "the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy". We need flexibility to maintain range of motion for our joints, otherwise our muscles may "shorten and become tight". Without maintaining our range of motion, we put our bodies "at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage." "For example, sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh. That can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way, which inhibits walking."
Hello! Welcome! If you're reading this, it probably means that you're interested in beginning a yoga (or pilates) practice. Let me just say for all of us at True You, we are thrilled, and so grateful to be accompanying you on your journey to better health! We wanted to put together a little something to help you prepare for your first few classes at the studio, and to overall give you a better understanding of what exactly you're getting yourself into!
Let's start with the basics...
In the past couple of weeks you've probably noticed a shift—the temperatures are getting cooler and the days are getting slightly shorter. It's officially Fall and with the changes in temperature and daylight, our environment is also drier and windier. These conditions not only affect what you decide to wear, but they also affect your body and mind. It's common to get aches in your joints, to become constipated, and to feel anxious or depressed. The good news is that, your yoga practice is here to support you through all of this!
Here are the top three reasons to practice in the Fall:
Good Morning Everyone and Happy Last Week of Pure Vida...
This week is about "Self Study." This subject is near and dear to me. When I look back on all my years of wanting to improve myself, I lead myself to believe that Self Improvement was Self Study. At this point, however, I feel they are quite different indeed.
To truly know yourself is a difficult task. It is so easy to lie to ourselves about what our personal truth is, but as the old saying goes: "The truth will set you free." In a society where so many are still trying to be good and trying so hard to present themselves as good, the idea of self-study gets lost in translation.
Don't get me wrong, there is nothing in this whole wide world worth more than trying to be good, but no one learns by doing things right all the time. So why do we cherish being right the way we do? Is it that we do not want to own up to the dark sides of ourselves? Is it because we are afraid we cannot be dark, wrong, or different in our society? Or do we feel that being wrong is wrong indeed?
This week is about Surrender. In many ways I have no right to write about surrender and in many ways I have completely earned the right to write about it. I have this little rule: "You cannot teach what you have not experienced." I am not sure I am your teacher here, but nonetheless the rule still applies. Surrender has been a very tough subject for me to live. Being a recovering control freak, I am the epitome of non-surrender. For me learning to surrender hinges on trust and allowing my circumstances to be dictated by God. When we are young we are in the back seat while God is driving. Eventually we get to be in the front seat not to drive, but to get a front seat view as a passenger. One might think being a passenger is too passive, but living in a state of surrender is about knowing you’re better off letting your higher power drive.
My teacher used to always say to me if you get out of the way, "God will create circumstances that you could not have dreamed of." When we get in the way, we can alter and screw up the very blessings that were meant to come our way. Forcing, rushing, and manipulating God’s plans for us because we believe our two cents are needed, or to insure we get our way.
This week’s assignment is about Self-Discipline. Yes, the everyday you gotta do what you gotta do self-discipline, but also so much more. We are talking about the self-discipline that not only gets the job done, but also refines and redefines you along the way. This is the type of self-discipline that defines the quote "If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen". Of course, this crowd does not get out of the kitchen. We stand in our fire knowing full well what the fire was made for...transformation.
For a Yogi to "show up on the mat" is so much more than a few hours away from home. It is to offer ourselves to something a little grueling at times so that we may become a higher version of ourselves. Our practice does not need to be grueling everyday, it can be rather fun and adventurous for sure, but either way it should be done with self-discipline in mind. Stepping on our mats is an investment in our future. We are investing in the only home we will ever really have, mind and body.
This week’s assignment has to do with contentment. It is so easy to be content when all is going well for us--when the moment is meeting us just the way we like it. But what if it isn't? All too often we are investing in making sure that our needs are met. Essentially there is nothing wrong with that, but at times it can be a distraction from letting things just be what they are.
Sometimes it seems like we are always getting ready for the next thing rather than enjoying what we have. I see this while I am eating. I was raised in a family with 11 kids. Food was not abundant so a vibration of "I better get mine" was present at my family dinner table. I have always eaten too fast—often not putting my fork down to get ready for the next bite before I am done with the one I have. Then I pick up my plate the second I am done to clean up. At times I do not remember chewing my food, which is an important part of eating indeed. Once I realized this, I started practicing putting my fork down after each bite so I can enjoy it and savor the moment.
This week’s assignment has to do with Purity.
Yoga changed for me in a big way when I viewed it from the perspective that Yoga is the Purification of the Mental, Emotional and Physical being.
Hatha Yoga is designed to balance and purify the body while bringing "light" or consciousness into the being, especially the joints. While everything is energy, the contents of your emotional and mental activity is stored in the body lending to your physical state while our physical state lends to our mental and emotional responses. The next time you step on your mat please remember what your doing is far more than exercise and if you work with yourself properly you will have accomplished a great deal indeed.
This week’s assignment has to do with non-attachment. Also considered non-greed, non-grasping, non-clinging, and non-coveting. This assignment is one I have been working on for a very long time. As a recovering control freak attachment is something I am well versed at.
My teacher once said to me " All attachment leads to suffering.” She said it in passing but I grasped onto the statement and began to work with it. I thought to myself, "Fantastic, I will learn to attach to nothing and then my suffering will diminish." The studios are a great place to practice this principle, loving people while not getting attached to their story's or humanness. Right in the middle of my undertaking, my dog, whom I love so, so much, was let out of my back yard. I will never ever forget the grief that I went through that night!! I was literally down on my knees begging God not to take my Duffy away from me. Yes, I was deeply and happily attached.