There are many misconceptions about yoga that might prevent a person from walking into a yoga class. “But I’m not flexible enough to do yoga!” “I can’t do a handstand!” “I’ve seen those yoga pictures on Instagram…I can’t move my body like that!”
While fancy, photo-worthy yoga poses can be fun to some, that is not what yoga is all about! The point is not the pose. I believe that yoga is the key to a happy, healthy life. Yoga benefits us physically, mentally, emotionally, & spiritually, but today I will only be discussing some of the physical benefits.
Yoga is a celebration of the body! It helps increase flexibility, and depending on which type of class you’re taking, strength too. Your body wants to be able to do what you ask of it. It wants to be able to perform everyday tasks such as bending over to pick up your children or grandchildren or tie your shoes or pick up something you dropped. It wants to be able to lift you from a chair without assistance or discomfort. It wants to be able to reach high into the kitchen cabinets to grab those dishes only used on special occasions. It wants to ride a bike or go on a walk, if that’s what you want it to do! If we are currently capable of doing all these things, they are easy to take for granted, but without proper care of our body these tasks can become more and more difficult as we age.
In order to perform properly, our muscles need to be supple and strong. Supple enough to move with ease and strong enough to perform everyday tasks and the hobbies we enjoy. Have you ever seen a bodybuilder with huge muscles but can barely move? This is an example of a person who has great strength, but their muscles are not supple and eventually they may find they cannot perform some everyday tasks due to this limited flexibility. In my opinion, our workouts should include functional movements that help our bodies to be able to continually perform everyday tasks with ease. I don’t mean to bash bodybuilding, I’d just recommend adding a weekly yoga class or two in order to help increase flexibility if bodybuilding is a passion of yours.
My point is that, in my opinion, a regular yoga practice can help keep your body working for you as you age and the wonderful thing about yoga is that you can continue this practice for life—my 88 year old grandmother attends Chair Yoga at our studio! So, no matter your age or physical abilities I truly believe you can benefit from yoga. Maybe you feel stiff and achy and your flexibility is not where you’d like it to be, that’s okay! There’s no pre-requisite for flexibility to attend a yoga class. Yoga can help with that! In fact, you could probably ask me any question and my answer would be, “YOGA!”
So, I encourage you to hop on the mat and start showing your body a little love. It works so hard for us, after all.
’Til next time, my friends.