I started yoga when I was 30. I had just become a mum and was suffering from severe anxiety.
I looked for a yoga class on the advice of my GP and, I was so desperate for my anxiety to get better that I overlooked all the reservations I had in my mind at the time.
I would have tried pretty much anything to feel better.
It is a proven fact that we don’t feel comfortable stretching out of our comfort zone, even if sometimes great things are right there for us just outside of our cocoon. (And that usually is the case).
When I talk to my clients about what reservations they had before they started yoga, there are a few common myths that I would like to address.
I’m not flexible enough
Pretty much every person I currently teach started by telling me that they are not very flexible and that they’re not sure how much they can do.
When you hear the word yoga, images of young, super bendy – and pretty – women in skin-tight clothes folding themselves into complicated version of human pretzels probably come to mind!
And that can be pretty daunting if you don’t fit that “perfect” image.
Like pretty much everything, the images on the cover of magazines and in the medias are not a reflection of yoga.
I had never liked PE or sports in any shape or form.
I was about as flexible as a plank of wood when I first started yoga, and my forward bend didn’t get me much further towards the floor than the level of my knees.
My point is that yoga is for everybody.
The flexibility is a by-product of yoga.
As you practice it, you will become more flexible – but that isn’t the point.
Yoga is a holistic approach to complete wellbeing. It helps align body, breath and mind so that you can be more yourself than ever before.
The first principle of yoga is to be kind to yourself.
For me, it means that if you want to try yoga, try yoga. Don’t let any preconceived idea of “I’m not good enough” or “Everybody else will be so much more flexible” get in your way.
I’m not young enough
I was chatting with a friend last week who has never tried yoga but would like to try.
The first question she asked me was: could she start something new in her late 30s ?
It is a common question.
Often, we go through our 20s and sometimes 30s without really thinking about our wellbeing.
We are busy going to university or college, or getting a job, looking for a place to live, maybe start a family or a pet, and life just carries us along.
At some point though, something might happen that makes us look at our life differently.
We realise that we don’t have the energy of our early 20s anymore.
We get fed up with feeling anxious and overwhelmed trying to juggle work and life.
And we want more for ourselves.
Yoga is famously good at relieving stress and promoting a sense of overall wellbeing.
But we might get scared at the idea of starting something new in our 40s, 50s, 60s or above.
We’re in our comfort zone of what feels safe, and anything new – no matter how good it is – has the potential to feel scary.
Yoga can be started at any time. I started in my 30s. Many of my friends started in their 40s and a lot of my clients joined my classes in their 50s or 60s.
As I said above, the first principle of yoga is kindness. And kindness needs to start with us.
If you want to start something new, just do it. Nothing is stopping you but your self-doubts and your fears – and they are not you.
So if you want to try, no matter your age, try.
If it doesn’t work for you, that’s fine. You would have tried and won’t be left wondering “what if I had given this a go”.
Yoga is only stretching
Oh no it isn’t!
It is easy to believe that yoga is just stretching. After all, that is how it has been presented in the Western world for decades.
But yoga is much more than that.
Yoga is a holistic approach to wellbeing. The aim of yoga is the union of mind, body and spirit. In other words, yoga helps you be the best you that you can be by freeing you from patterns and habits that stand in your way.
It does that at a physical, mental and emotional level.
By leveraging the interconnection between body, breath and mind, yoga is a system that can help you overcome any difficulties that you might come across.
Amongst other things, yoga can help boost your self-confidence, release negative self-beliefs, help you develop the inner strength and stamina to work towards long-term goals.
It also releases stress, improves your energy level, promotes better sleep and a better body image. It can be the trigger to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle that suits your wellbeing.
All yoga classes are the same
All yoga classes are the same, and the last one I tried didn’t work for me.
There are many different yoga styles, even more yoga schools, and more yoga teachers every day.
Not all yoga styles will suit everybody.
Personally, you will never see me in a hot yoga class and I’m not a huge fan of vinyasa either.
What attracted me to Dru Yoga, the style of yoga that I now teach, is its flowing movements and its inclusivity.
Everybody can do Dru Yoga.
I also like the way the sequences work in systematically releasing the various energy blocks that we have around the body. An energy block is created whenever a negative input (negative emotion, stress, self-belief) creates a “knot” in your body because of the tension it generated.
The blockages stop your energy from flowing smoothly and naturally through your body. As a result, you may feel more tired, more anxious, easily overwhelmed and have a negative outlook on life.
I have personally noticed how potent this style is at helping you feel better, stronger and more yourself, while remaining completely accessible to all.
The bottom line is: if you want to try yoga, have a look around and pick a class to try that feels good for you. If after trying it once or twice, you realise it isn’t for you, try something else.
Yoga is just another exercise
In the same way that yoga isn’t just a body stretch, a yoga class isn’t just an exercise class.
Again, you could easily think that since they have been presented as gentle exercise classes for a very long time.
But there is an extra element in a yoga class that you will not find in an exercise class.
Yes, you will get the body stretch and you might get your heart to pump faster depending on the yoga class.
But a yoga class will get you to a place of harmony between mind, body and spirit that you will not get from a standard exercise class.
It will also help you develop new ways of approaching your life as well as skills that you can use to promote your wellbeing off the mat, such as breathing techniques and the use of affirmations and visualisations.
I hope this article has put to rest some of the preconceived ideas that you might have about yoga – and that might be standing in your way if you want to give it a try.
For a first-hand experience at the magic of yoga and its impact on your overall wellbeing, join me on the 26thApril for a 5 days Body & Mind reset to experience how yoga can help you feel happier and more confident.
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