The most frequent comment I hear when I talk about yoga and the suggestion of joining me in starting a regular practice are:
Yoga is not for me. I’m not bendy enough.
I’d prefer a more active sport. I get bored in yoga.
I tried it once and hated it Everyone was good and knew what they were doing and I didn’t.
I’m too old for yoga. I don’t want to upset my tricky shoulder, weak knees.
To me, these statements fall into the category of self-limiting beliefs we assign ourselves and then rest our case beside. True, no one knows ourselves better than ourselves; I’m not saying they are all wrong statements. We can come face to face with yoga at the wrong time, in our lives and that’s ok.
This happened to me. I didn’t like my early experiences of yoga and meditation and I cast it all aside in resistance and labelled yoga as ‘not for me’. But what if I had resisted the second calling signs that were sent to me? Often these signs can come when the universe know you need to be directed this way.
I walked into my local yoga studio on the way to work to buy some incense and ended up on the mat in a kundalini yoga lesson by chance that morning. For 75 minutes my breath (Pranayama) and therefore my mind, was ‘in the present’ as I followed the teacher’s instructions through the strange new postures, sometimes challenging, sometimes fascinating. Then came relaxation time – or Savasana, and in Kundalini yoga this can often include the teacher playing the gong (it does at YogaSpace Yorkshire). Yogi Bhajan, the yogi who brought Kundalini yoga to the west in 1969, said ‘the gong is God’ for he taught that the gong resets and aligns your sympathetic (go go) nervous system with your parasympathetic (your stop button), healing your body through the sound waves. Something resonated in my heart space and I left the studio feeling joy in my soul. That day I found work flowed well and something had shifted within me.
I went to a second, and then a third lesson. The teacher said that by trying something three times was this was the way to ‘find out’ if something was for you. ‘We all come to yoga, to the mat, to deal with something’ said this teacher. I do believe this is true. It’s valid for reasons like ‘I want to create more body suppleness, more life force (prana,) or more balance. It is also valid if you desire to shift your awareness too.
There is always a by-product of a yoga practice and sometimes you can’t put it into words. That’s fine too! But one brilliant tangible benefit was learning how to manage my own tricky knees, ruined by too much tennis playing in the wrong shoes as a young adult. The new yoga stretches and the movement of energy through my body sorted them out, a huge bonus.
Today I keep thankful that I was open to the signs that were out there in the universe, like angels perhaps on my shoulder, waiting to bring my soul into alignment with something beneficial and helpful. I had felt that ‘yoga was not for me, I wasn’t bendy enough’ and had shelved this eastern practice. Then I placed myself in a position of trust and tried.
All experiences in life require some form of open mind and commitment to start. Even faith. Would anything be begun without this?