Thoughts from the Mat

 

WHAT STOPS YOU?   BUSTING THE MYTHS BEHIND THE MENTAL BLOCKS


“I can’t do yoga. I am not flexible enough.”

Mythbuster #1: Yoga gradually increases flexibility and range of motion as it builds muscle tone safely through non-weight bearing and weight bearing postures. In fact, super bendy bodies are at a disadvantage. Often, for the very flexible, there is nothing happening around the bones and joints to create stability. Unfortunately, most of the yoga community prefers to promote “pretzel“ poses in the press and social media so our notion of what it means to “do yoga” and what yoga “looks like” are skewed. As an instructor, I am more concerned with what BODY is doing a posture and not at all concerned with the posture being Instagram worthy. The same postures can, and probably SHOULD, look different depending on what body is doing them. When approached thoughtfully, yoga is accessible for everyone. 

“Me? In a yoga class?! No way, I’d make a total fool of myself!”

Mythbuster #2: Sorry, no one else is really paying attention to what you’re doing. Think of a yoga asana (the physical postures) class as a microcosm of the macrocosm of life: We are all just trying to breathe and get through it. Seriously though, it’s pretty normal for newer students to worry that messing up, being out of sync with everyone else, or just totally “not getting it” will call attention to themselves. (In the interest of full disclosure… I just described myself as an instructor some days! 😊) It is hard to imagine that in a room full of people anyone could be totally absorbed in what they are doing and NOT notice what’s going on around them. Yet, that’s ultimately the point of a yoga asana practice; to begin to train the mind to be focused on just one thing long enough to put a stop to all the incessant worries, self-doubts, and thoughts that creep into our conscious mind and rob us of equanimity. What, in Sanskrit, is called “Yogas Chitta vritti nirodhah” translates to “Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.” 

YOU on Facebook: “Yoga! That sounds so fun! I have always wanted to try yoga. ‘When are the classes?’”

Also YOU, when it’s time to get ready for a class: 🙄

Mythbuster #3:  Beginning anything new is intimidating. Sometimes the story we tell ourselves about why we “can’t” is more about being stuck than is it about “not able”. A good place to start examining your story is to answer the question, “What stops me?”  

“Yoga isn’t exercise; it’s just a bunch of stretching! Why should I go to stretch when I could do it at home just as easily?”

Mythbuster #4: Okay, so you are PARTIALLY right on this one. I won’t argue that yoga isn’t EXERCISE, because it isn’t. Yoga is ‘INNERCISE’. And while “stretching” isn’t technically what you will do in a yoga class, you will be creating some length, space, and tone in the muscles, organs, joints, and systems of the body. Yet, it is the length, space, and freedom you’ll experience in your mood, thoughts, and overall health where yoga has its most profound affects.

[And truthfully, ARE YOU REALLY STRETCHING AT HOME?? REALLY?]