Let's get a few things straight—yoga is not just for flexible people and women, and you do not have to do inversions if you don't want to. The reason I start with this is because I am not the most flexible person, and I struggle with inversions. When I was deciding if I wanted to pursue yoga teacher training, these were the fears holding me back from saying yes. Thankfully I signed up for the program despite these fears, but I felt inferior that I couldn't fold in half like a taco (because tacos are better than sandwiches) or stand on my hands. I have spent so many years as a student comparing myself to other students, and I now have a mission to teach students how to listen to their own bodies, move at their own pace, and be patient in working toward their goals.
With that in mind, here is why everyone should start a yoga practice.
Increase Your Flexibility & Open Up Your Body
I figured we'd start with the more obvious reason—yoga increases flexibility, no doubt. Not only does practicing yoga consistently make you more flexible, but you'll also lengthen your muscles, remove areas of tension and knots, and you will create new opening in the body. With dedicated practice you might just get your knee on top of your shoulder! Keep in mind that anatomy always plays a role, and you may not be able to do something simply because your body isn't designed to do it. I have seen clients cross their legs and stack their knees in gomukasana with their top knee 6 inches from the bottom knee, and within several weeks of consistent practice bring it down to touch the bottom knee. It is truly amazing how yoga can give you a new body.
Become Stronger Than You Can Imagine
...mentally and physically! Physically, you will work muscles that you can't get to in the gym. You will strengthen those tiny muscles you didn't even know you had. But you will also become mentally tough and build endurance and stamina. Yoga is a hyper-focused activity, and for an hour you will be holding poses and focusing on alignment. There is no loud music to distract you, and you can't huff and puff your way through it. In yoga you will work hard, breathe deep and slow, and you will find stillness and grace while you push through a tough pose. This mental toughness will translate into your personal life and make you stronger emotionally too.
Find A Deep Connection With Yourself
When you are opening space in the body, something has to give. Often times when students do hip opening or heart opening, they cry in savasana. This is nothing to be afraid of, it just means you're releasing pent up tension and now you can move forward feeling lighter and softer. You will also learn your body. You will discover things that don't feel good for your body, and you will develop the wisdom to avoid them until you're ready. On the other hand, you will watch your body accomplish new things, and you will develop a curiosity to see what you can do next. One of the greatest things I have gained from my personal practice is my ability to simultaneously know what my shoulders, my heels, my core, my breath, and my mind are doing all at once. This is something any dedicated student can achieve.
Become The Best Version Of Yourself
Yoga taught me patience. I was so frustrated that everyone around me could do a headstand, and I couldn't even lift my legs off the ground. Instead of throwing my legs against the wall to hop into the pose just for the sake of it, I started creating a yoga sequence that would work the actions of headstand so that my body would gracefully and naturally go into it over time. Eventually headstand felt natural and safe for me—I was shocked. I realized that after patiently waiting for things in yoga, I was better able to be patient in my career, relationships, and life. I also learned from yoga how important it is to work for what you want and not simply expect things to happen for you. I cannot say what you will learn, but I can guarantee you that you will transform into a better version of yourself—who you were designed to be.
Ready to start a yoga practice?
Book a private or group yoga session with Kate!