Meena's Musings

Yoga goes Mainstream

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Due to the undeniable positive results of practicing Yoga, this 5000-year-old holistic practice has become mainstream with close to 23 million practitioners in US alone. Of the current non-practitioners, 44.4 percent call themselves “aspirational yogis”—people who are interested in trying yoga.  30% of practitioners are males.

Yoga is no longer just for the fit and flexible; not just for women who have lots of time on their hands, not just for the rich and famous.  Still many misconceptions remain and the purpose of this column is to address some of the misconceptions.

Injuries, Limitations, Surgery and More….

Some of the most common complaints are herniated disc, limited movement in the joints, frozen shoulder, chronic pain, arthritis and aftermath of having undergone surgery.  It is important, in these cases, to choose the class carefully. A class that focuses more on therapy and less on poses is a better fit.  Or you may consider doing individual yoga therapy with a teacher trained in Yoga Therapy and make it part of the recovery process.  Yoga therapy will help you regain movement and prevent future injuries.

Not all Yoga is the same.  You may have to take more than one class to find the right fit for you. Don’t let a bad experience keep you away from something that could hold the key to your recovery and healing.

I can’t bend; I am so inflexible.  

 The truth is that most of us are inflexible until we do Yoga.  It is precisely the reason why you should!   Do not mistake the end for the means.  Flexibility is the end result of doing Yoga.

Imagine being able to reach for something without pulling a muscle, bend down to pick up something without injuring your back, lifting your child or something heavy with ease.  These are the results of doing yoga.

I can’t sit still and be serious; I have no time

Your mind is continuously engaged when you practice Yoga; there is no boredom and you are not sitting still.  You participate completely in what you are doing, and actually look forward to being still and welcome the rest at the end of the class.  You walk away feeling light hearted and at ease.  You laugh easily and don’t take life so seriously.

Frantically running around to get stuff done does not necessarily translate into accomplishing more.  How do you feel when you run around everyday to do more and more?  How do you sleep?  Are you happy at the end of the day, or simply exhausted?

What if you could accomplish more with less stress and more fulfillment? This is the promise of Yoga!  Make Yoga part of your life – live with ease, presence and purpose.

The feeling of lack of time is a state of mind.  When the mind is busy, we feel busy and overwhelmed. When we can slow down the mind, we slow down the time and become present in the moment.

It is too hard; I’ll end up making a fool of myself

Those who practice Yoga know that the old image of yoga as young, fit and sleek bodies in complex Yoga poses is obsolete.  If you find the class to be too hard, take another class that is more suited for your fitness level.

There is a purpose in comparing us to others; it helps us define ourselves.  Once we begin to embrace ourselves as we are, what others do or think becomes unimportant.  The good news is that if you fear you will make a fool of yourself, you will only fear it until you take the right class. Once you take the right class, you will know the truth.

On the other hand, we have to be willing to make a fool of ourselves every now and then.  That is how we grow!