I overheard a conversation at the coffee shop last week that sort of bothered me. The gist of it was that yoga was “really hard”. In general, I don’t disagree that yoga can be a lot of things to a lot of people, but one thing it should not be for you is “hard”. Yes, you can get a workout and you can stretch and pull certainly parts of your body that have been sedentary, but I’d like to perhaps re-align the thinking.
There is a time and place for extra exertion and effort in order to push your body past previously conceived limitations. I’m all for the extra work involved with competing in a race, triathlon or other physical test. My contention is that it is not necessary to always do that with yoga. If our objective is better health and a better functioning body, we need to eliminate the “push through the pain” mentality with yoga and focus on the healing and health part.
I’m not implying that every yoga class is going to be lying down on a mat listening to soft music. There will be, and usually is, challenging poses and new things to learn. The trick is to allow your body the time to develop those muscles and that flexibility over time. Focusing, instead, on breathing and technique vs. “getting” the pose.
Give your body a chance to learn yoga and shift your thinking a bit. Straining to meet an extraneous physical challenge in the name of yoga is not what we’re after. I’m encouraging folks to focus on the myriad of inner challenges that come along with a yoga class. Working the mind and spirit along with the hamstrings.