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“I can’t do Yoga because I can’t touch my toes!”

If I had a dollar for every person who has spoken these words to me, when they hear I teach yoga, I would be a wealthy woman. We all marvel at the cover of magazines where someone is showing off their flexibility in a yoga pose with great ease and beauty. It leaves us feeling either inspired or defeated depending on our own personal experience.

Yoga is about being not doing. The postures are just part of an exploration of our being

The good news is that touching your toes (or being flexible) has nothing to do with doing yoga. In fact “doing” has nothing to do with yoga. Yoga is about being not doing. 
The postures are just part of an exploration of our being. 
We put ourselves in poses so we can listen. We explore our edges, our likes, dislikes, habits, preferences, and fears. Our body is telling us something and our job is to listen. There is an old saying: “Disease knocks three times and if you don’t listen, it takes you.” Yoga postures help us develop our listening skills.

There are some simple ways to become a better listener in your own Yoga practice.

Move Slowly

Moving slowly into poses will help you observe when you meet some resistance or something that catches your attention. If you move quickly you may miss or skip over something of value.

Pause and Ask Questions

When you practice a posture, pause and ask yourself some questions: “What do I notice here?” “Do I notice this same thing anywhere else in my life?” ” How can I get comfortable right here with myself?” “What is this posture trying to tell me about myself?” If I go farther what happens?” “If I do a little less, what do I notice?”

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Breathe

The breath energizes us when we inhale and releases tension and toxins when we exhale. If we keep breathing with awareness we may find a way to get comfortable right where we are. The breath can support us through the listening process.

Don’t Judge

Be willing to listen to your body without judgment. This will create trust in yourself and may bring you into a more meaningful relationship with your own body. 
 Judging implies that you should be somewhere or something different than you are. It takes you out of the truthfulness of the moment.

Yoga is an uncovering of our being. It helps us recognize what is already there. There is nowhere to go and no one else to be. YOU ARE IT. You are whole and complete. You are connected to all that lives and breathes. Yoga can help you to remember your own “being” and maybe in the process of that, you will find you can even touch your toes.

What holding you back from starting a yoga practice?

 

 

Contributed by

Susi Amendola
Stress Management Specialist

What have you done to remind yourself of the things that have meaning for you?

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