There’s a saying that yoga comes through to you, not the other way around. The belief it bestows on you its ancient wisdom because you need it is very magical to me and I believe it entirely. I have heard that many times and it was certainly real for me.
So, whatever brought you to yoga, I’m delighted you found it. Not everybody is diving right in and taking on a full workout, but that is the beauty. It will give you everything you need, when you need it.
If you come to yoga late in life you may find it difficult. It’s not just because it’s complicated but because of your understanding of it. By this I mean anyone can practise yoga, regardless of age, gender, height, weight, physical conditions and so on, but since the perception is that you have to wrap yourself around your own body like a pretzel you are not capable of. This is not true and it’s a total fallacy that needs to be dispelled from the get go right away.
At some stage, bend like a pretzel Yoga postures take on pretzel shape but not always and not in the journey of everything. The removed we are from our child-like mindset the tougher we can find to perform the physical postures, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t achievable. We must continue where we’re at, with what we’ve got. Simply by attaining the postures themselves in their full form at the beginning is where the first yoga lessons lie. The first lesson, though, is patience. Practising yoga requires patience, with yourself.
For most people, it is incredibly difficult to come to a yoga class and not to look at the instructor or the person next to them and try to drive them harder. It’s human nature and our egos get in the way rather than dealing in our own bodies, warts and all. Through going this way, you will hurt yourself, which literally adds more time, and yes, you thought more patient need. If I could give a yoga newbie one piece of advice it would be patience-be gentle with yourself, the postures will come. With all your physical disabilities, illnesses and everything else, you find to be in your way, be confident with where you are at. Just focus on practising patience (and, of course, breathing!) Mind, Body, Soul Yoga means different things for different individuals. Most people come to yoga first because of the physical advantages that it can offer. You want to lose weight, tone up, feel better, or maybe help with a physical or medical problem. Yoga works on all physical conditions. There are those who are more attracted to the emotional and/or spiritual side, but people who are new to yoga are also drawn to it because of the physical benefits in my experience, they believe. What is interesting here is that we are linked on all three levels; mind, body and spirit, and in reality whether we have a physical problem, whether it’s medical or just being overweight or unhealthy, it will still be associated with our emotions and eventually, whether we want to believe it or not (and there are those that don’t) linked on a subtle, metaphysical level as well. To practise yoga you don’t have to accept this fact, but it’s worth realising before you start that you are really working on all three levels of your being, not just the physical.
NO OM There was a yoga introduced a few years ago called NO OM. There are many new forms of yoga which evolve. They are always derived from the same physical postures (Hatha) but are put together differently or modified in some way to make them look different. NO OM meant practising yoga literally and receiving all the physical benefits but never repeating the word OM. The founder enjoyed yoga but didn’t buy into the metaphysical side of it and thought it was turning people off, so basically banished it to the black hole and made sure anyone who came to practise realised it was Cool because it was a NO OM zone. Anything works but it does not make it vanish by banishing it. Just because something you don’t accept doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
I would encourage you to be open minded, based on this knowledge. Don’t be concerned about what you don’t understand. Yoga doesn’t change your mind (well not in a negative way) and I don’t think you’re brainwashed into believing in Hindu gods and goddesses or trying to turn your faith around. There are people out there who think so. Yoga is born out of ancient Vedic wisdom set out in the oldest writings documented therein. The yoga path is based on universal universe truths which have been taught since the beginning of time. It is not contradictory since it is harmonious by definition. Yoga itself, in fact, means union-uniting or harmonising your being; bringing your mind, body and spirit together in union or harmony. Ultimately, the goal is self-realization, which simply means understanding yourself better-letting you feel a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled person-and to that I say, bring it OM.