Friday, April 21, 2006

Yoga - One Size Doesn't Need To Fit All

Although there are a lot of great reasons to try Yoga, most people won't even take a shot at it. I think I know why. Stay with me for a couple of minutes and I'll get there.

Years ago, I read one of the most truth filled statements I have ever encountered. Although I usually try to avoid generalities, I believe that most of them DO have a portion of truth to them. Unfortunately, many people either don't realize that these statements are not ultimate truths or they assume that since there are times that these old adages and generalities are NOT true, not only are they false, but completely without merit.

Most generalities, as I have stated, DO contain some truth, enough truth that we can often at least glean guiding principles from them even if we cannot live our lives exactly by them.

Now, the statement I made mention of was, "The only job where you start at the top is digging a hole!"

I normally would not actually say that to someone who expected to get to the top of the heap by tomorrow, but the idea behind the statement would be understood by most of us. Those people who have made it to the top of their profession, art, or even their hobby, usually put in a lot of practice time and made a lot of mistakes on their way to achieving the level of skill or competence that they have reached.

Which brings me (finally, you say) to Yoga.

Yoga has the potential to be one of the best physical fitness programs that anybody can practice, but many people won't even give it a chance.

Yoga requires no special clothing, not special skill, no special equipment. It doesn't need a gym, because it can be practiced on the floor beside your bed, in the living room, or even in a large enough bathroom. Once you learn a few basic poses (asanas), you can do your yoga routine at home or on the road. You can even do some of your Yoga while riding in a car or bus. It doesn't even require a personal trainer. You actually CAN learn Yoga from a book!

So what stops a lot of people from trying Yoga?

To tell the truth, I think they are intimidated.

Obviously, Yoga is not something we read about or hear about every day, so there is already a lot of misunderstanding and uncertainty about the practice anyway. On top of that, take a look at the pictures in any Yoga book and what do you see? Pencil-thin people twisting their bodies into impossible (to you and me...and I DO Yoga) positions. No way!

Let's go back to the statement I mentioned. To get to the level where they are selected to pose for pictures for a book, they usually have had to practice for several years. When they started, some of them were as out-of-shape as you think you are now. You can bet they made a lot of mistakes along the way and some of them often thought of giving up because they weren't able to perform the asanas the way their teachers did...or the way it was done in a picture in some book. Nobody is going to begin Yoga today and be able to do the positions that way right away.

Also, not everyone is going to be able to achieve the level of skill that they have achieved. Some of us just aren't going to realize that potential for a long time and maybe never.

So why bother to learn Yoga?

After all, if you can't do what the books and instructors say to do, then you have failed, right?


First of all, simply moving into your best imitation of the perfect position can begin to produce the health benefits associated with Yoga. Second, learning yoga breathing techniques and practicing this as you perform the movements and asanas (not to mention you daily activities) can also produce benefits in both your mental and physical health. Finally, continued practice of the asanas, breathing, and movements will, over time, move you closer to being able to do what the person in the picture was doing.

Remember, nobody said you had to be able to touch your toes, you just have to reach for them, breathe properly, and do it again tomorrow.

Yoga is actually simple and easy to learn, and can produce some startling affects in both mental and physical health.

Why not give it a try?
Donovan Baldwin - EzineArticles Expert Author

The author is retired from the Army after 21 years of service, has worked as an accountant, optical lab manager, restaurant manager, and instructor. He has been a member of Mensa for several years, and has written and published poetry, essays, and articles on various subjects for the last 40 years. He developed an interest in health and fitness in the '70s after reading numerous books, including Dr. Kenneth Cooper's "Aerobics". This has led him to continue his personal research into health and fitness for over 30 years, and to pursue course work on health and fitness, including yoga, which he practices regularly. Learn more about Yoga. Articles on Diet and Weight Loss.


Gina said...


I have determined that this is my year to become the me I was meant to be!! Your article is totally awesome and very encouraging. I have been researching information about weight loss plans, exercise, balance in my life, and how to better achieve my dreams.

Yogi has been something that I felt I could never do. Everyone doing it always looks so good and I don't look that way. However, your information has given me the courage to look closer.

A site that I came across that I think is great for setting goals and achieving dreams is Marcia Wieder has some very concise tips and inspiration that has helped me and I thought you might also want to take a look at her info. She is also giving away a week long maui dream retreat. Wouldn't that be an awesome place to exercise on the beach.

Again, thank you for sharing and helping me see that yogi might just be a great exercise regime for me.

May your day be filled to the full till it overflows with blessings and joy.


Sharon said...

I think one of the big misconceptions about yoga is that if you try it without an instructor you will hurt yourself. I was told that, and have to admit because I have a few injuries, still worry a little bit about it. How do you suggest we make sure we are doing these poses correctly? Can I simply listen to my body and stop when it becomes uncomfortable? What do you suggest for someone with chronic muscle tension in her neck and shoulders?

I agree with the hole-digging analogy. Most things in life are a journey. If I had been the photographer I am now without all the years or work, I don't think I'd appreciate what I can do or be as passionate.

Sharon :-)