Here’s a confession that may have been keeping you from starting up yoga: some people are better at the poses than others.
Note that I say they are better at the poses, not better at yoga – but it’s the poses we see and that’s what we judge ourselves on, right?
Reason 1 that some people can balance for longer, bend deeper, do impossible things with their arms and legs: practice. They all started somewhere, kept at it and got better. The less-than-subliminal message here is that this can be you too if you just give yourself permission to turn up and be bad 🙂
Reason 2 that some people look better in the poses: body geometry. We are all built differently, our joints set at slightly different angles, our limbs of different proportions, and gangly arms and legs are better suited to wrapping around the body than stumpy ones. I had a friend who used to despair of her “orang utan” arms (she was the only one who noticed or called them that!) until she started yoga and realised how amazing they were. If you are at the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t wrench your arm out of its socket trying to wrap around and clasp the other hand, think about what the pose is aiming to do for your body (hint: it’s not going to get you longer arms) and how to get maximum benefit from that stretch. Props like belts come in handy here.
Reason 3 that poses come easier to some than others: size. This relates back to the body geometry point above. I know that there are poses I can do when I’m a stone lighter, simply because there is less of me for my arms to reach around. My weight has fluctuated over the years I’ve been practising yoga, some poses I just accept I can’t get into as deeply until I’m at the thin part of my cycle.
The first of the principles of yoga is ahimsa – compassion for all living things. We start first with ourselves, despite the fact this is often the hardest step.
So instead of the above being obstacles, let them be the start of your yoga journey.
Solution 1: allow yourself to experience the benefits of yoga, what starts as caring for yourself will soon spread to those around you.
Solution 2: use yoga to learn more about your own body, which limits you can stretch and push, and which you need to protect.
Solution 3: come to love your body and revel in what it can do, what you are capable of.
For a great discussion on down dog that touches on how body differences need to be considered when practising, see Kat Heagberg’s article.
And to get started with yoga, join us in January at Louth Yoga Studio, Pawnshop Passage.