“Never stop practicing yoga… Never stop smiling” ~ Vivian 93 years young:)
READ HOW 93 YR OLD VIVIAN INSPIRED ONE OF OUR NRG TEACHER TRAINEES IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE:)
Feeling fantastic – why you have no excuse not to start yoga
Before I had my first ever interaction with yoga, I had procrastinated the event for over two years. The interest came with my late teen inspired self-inquiry and it made yoga seem desirable, but also forbidden. Although I wanted to know more about myself, there’s always that barrier of actually not wanting to know more about yourself. There was also the issue that I lived in a sad, small town in central Queensland that at the time probably had one yoga teacher. This meant that I learnt about yoga through movies and television, which made it look like it was only practiced by supermodels and/or hippies.
I was finally convinced to start practicing yoga asana (poses) and pranayama (breathing) while I was living in France on university exchange. A friend I had met at a language exchange wanted to be a teacher and talked me into letting her teach me hatha yoga in her lounge room. It was mildly challenging and the perfect slow introduction so I got to learn how to breath easy throughout my practice. When I returned to Australia I went to my first official class at a local gym, which was much more challenging, but I felt inspired and started going to a hot yoga studio. I enjoyed the physical challenges and results, which was enough to keep me going and brought me to my practice today.
The benefits of yoga are different for everyone. The first benefits you notice are always the surface ones, better flexibility, strength and relaxation (during your practice). The real benefits come once you develop an ongoing practice and learn what yoga is really about. It’s not something you learn from books, teachers or even google. It’s what you teach yourself.
My teachers could have said to “leave my ego at the door” one hundred times or no times at all, and it still would have come to my mat. I could have read an encyclopedia on how to let go of judgment and still been judging the person next to me for having better yoga pants than me and myself for having worse than them. There are many paths to letting go of these attitudes and your ego, all of which you must take yourself.
As someone great likely said: “You can be shown the path to freedom, but no one can walk it for you”.
Yoga is one of these paths, and you’ll have to discover it for yourself.
So now for the excuses and my rebuttals:
- I don’t have time / Do you have time to feel like shit?
- I’m not flexible / You’re the perfect candidate
- I’m unfit / You’re the perfect candidate
- I’m injured / If you can breath, do you can practice yoga. Find a style that suits you and possibly a teacher that can guide you if you have serious injures. Ask you physio for guidance.
- I’m too old / I’ve practiced acro yoga with a 93 year old… are you older than that?
- I can’t leave the kids / There’s free yoga online – if you’ve got the motivation to do it alone, check out classes on YouTube.
- It’s too expensive / Again – free classes online and possibly community classes depending on where you live.
- There’s no classes or teachers where I live / Free or paid classes online 😉
What you can expect to see happen when you make the leap of faith:
- Muscle tone
- Joint health
- Pain prevention
- Better breathing
- Mental calmness
- Stress reduction
- Body awareness
But most importantly: a new love for life, and for yourself.
93 year old yoga teacher, Vivien, told me to never stop practicing, but what she taught me was to never stop smiling.
2015 YogaNRG Level 1 Yoga Teacher Trainee