You might have a hundred reasons you can’t do yoga. You’re not flexible enough. You’re not strong enough. You can’t touch your toes. You can’t do a handstand.
We hate to break it to you, but this logic is faulty. Do you take swimming lessons because you are an Olympic-level swimmer? Do you practice conversational Spanish because you are a Spanish linguist? No. When learning anything new, you have to start at the beginning. You have to meet your body and your mind right where they are. It is only from there that we can progress.
Yoga isn’t about touching your toes, although you might experience that side effect. Yoga is called a practice because it is practice. Each time you attend a class, each time you strike a pose, you practice. Little by little, you gain strength. You gain flexibility. Slowly, over time, you transform. You touch your knees, then your shins. You see your toes, and maybe that's enough.
As teacher Jason Crandell says, “We have to remember in yoga: it is the long-term, accumulated process that develops all of the benefits. We are committed to the process of awakening, strengthening, and opening the body and mind, over time.”
This doesn’t mean that yoga is hard, or that it is a struggle. In fact, the more you relax into a pose, the more benefits you will experience. When you start yoga, you may find that certain poses are your favorites. They give you a great sense of ease and stability. Other poses test you physically and mentally. Over time, these poses will shift and change.
Yoga is all-inclusive. You do not have to be thin or flexible to practice. The poses meet you where you are, no matter where you are. You are your own guru, meaning you adapt the poses to your body. You don’t struggle to meet them; they rise to meet you. You affect a balance of comfort and strength, steadiness and ease. It doesn’t matter who you are, how you’re shaped, or your level of fitness. Yoga is an individualized practice, that you will tailor perfectly to fit you. As you change, yoga will continue to meet you where you are.
It is said that yoga is 99% practice, and 1% knowledge. Yoga is attained by showing up, by practicing, and by moving with your greatest teacher: your own breath. Yoga is for everyone. Yoga is for you.