Are you amongst those folks, and there are many of you, who believe that for one reason or another you just can’t do yoga? Maybe you think you weigh too much. Or maybe you just don’t think you’re flexible enough.
Well guess what…anyone, including you, can do yoga. Let’s take a look at the common reasons for avoiding yoga and how you can overcome them.
Not Flexible Enough
To be honest, most people aren’t flexible. Most people spend their lives sitting down. This shortens muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The result is that there’s no chance in heck that you’re going to be able to touch your toes. The good news is that with time and a bit of patience you can improve your flexibility and yoga can help.
In fact, you can go from someone who can’t touch their toes to the ability to bend yourself into a human pretzel with a dedication to your yoga practice. It all begins with bolsters and a bit of assistance. So you can’t touch your toes; so what? Can you place two blocks on the ground and touch those? Can you touch your knees? Yoga is infinitely modifiable to anyone’s current flexibility level and it will help you improve your flexibility quite quickly.
As the population increases in size (we’re talking girth here, not a number of people), more and more yoga studios are offering classes designed specifically for this population.
You may have to modify the poses to suit your current fitness level and size but that’s just fine. Almost every new yoga student has to do some sort of modifications to the
poses. Don’t let your weight hold you back. Yoga can help you lose weight, improve your endurance and strength, and make you more comfortable in your body.
Chronic conditions like chronic fatigue, arthritis, and even respiratory conditions prevent many people from trying yoga. This is unfortunate because yoga can actually improve your condition and reduce or even alleviate symptoms.
For example, arthritis is painful; however, a regular movement often reduces the pain. Chronic fatigue can be debilitating, yet when you get the blood circulating through your muscles and tissues it can help balance your energy and release positive, healthy, hormones that make you feel better and have more vitality.
Even people undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from yoga. The key is to choose a yoga that fits your present health and fitness level. Start with a gentle beginner’s class; try Hatha for a basic approach that’s easy to learn. Find an instructor that is compassionate and begin enjoying the myriad benefits of yoga.
The right yoga can help you
“Yoga is great for flexibility, for strength, and for posture and balance,” said Dr. Rachel Rohde, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and an orthopedic surgeon for the Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak, Mich. “Yoga can help with a lot of musculoskeletal issues and pain, but I wouldn’t say it cures any orthopedic condition,” she said.
Most practitioners would tell you that yoga isn’t just about building muscle or strength.
“One of the issues in this country is that people think of yoga only as exercise and try to do the most physically hard poses possible,” explained Dr. Ruby Roy, a chronic disease physician at LaRabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago who’s also a certified yoga instructor. “That may or may not help you, but it also could hurt you,” she noted.
“One of the primary purposes of a yoga practice is relaxation. Your heart rate and your blood pressure should be lower when you finish a class, and you should never be short of breath. Whatever kind of yoga relaxes you and doesn’t feel like exercise is a good choice. What really matters is, are you in your body or are you going into a state of mindfulness? You want to be in the pose and aware of your breaths.”