Let’s just get right into it! Yoga is for EVERYBODY! It doesn’t matter if you’re slim, thick, flexible or stiff. I was once a non-believer until I saw this older white man as stiff as a board and unbalanced as when I was a double D with a flat ass. This man was a whole morning show segment because he went from being everything that prevents people from practicing yoga, to being a whole yogi. Okay, maybe not a yogi but I’m sure he could if he tried.
The point is, who would have ever thought this middle age, out of shape white man could bend and balance the way he could. I was so intrigued that I said, “Well hell, if he can do it why can’t I at 26”. However, I’ll admit that my mindset going into it was for sole vain purposes. I wanted to do something that would get me into shape and I looked amazing doing it.
Fast forward and here I was in 2019 becoming more serious about getting into shape and healthier while attempting all kinds of different types of fitness workouts. Surprisingly enough, a lot of the programs I was doing involved yoga in some shape, form or fashion. But in 2021 as I started delving into yoga videos on YouTube; I noticed how I liked how I felt before, during and after my yoga practices.
Before I’d get into my yoga practices I felt stiff, uptight and honestly dreadful. Although, I lost 20 pounds by changing my eating habits and exercising; I still dreaded working out. I wasn't an active person but I noticed I started looking forward to my yoga sessions. I noticed that although I had some challenges while practicing certain poses, those stretches started feeling good. It's like that morning sketch you take when you get out of bed. I also noticed that after my practice I felt a change in my mood and some soreness. Hmmm…you actually have to be working something out to feel sore.
So here I am 4 years later and for the last year I’ve been strictly focusing on my yoga, and I love it! I definitely recommend it for any and everyone because….YOGA IS FOR EVERYBODY! When I hear people feed into the myths of “Not being flexible”, “Too heavy”, and “Calling on outside entities” (Yes, I’ve had someone tell me that they couldn’t get into yoga because you don’t know what type of outside entities you’re channeling) I happily dispel them with my own experience.
Let’s get into some or these Yoga Myth that I happily dispel:
YOU HAVE TO BE FLEXIBLE
This is probably the biggest myth about yoga and the furthest from the truth. I can admit that I too didn’t give yoga a chance because I was the least flexible person I knew. It was serious how stiff I was. I couldn’t sit criss-cross applesauce without my knees sitting under my chin. And let’s not get into being able to do a squat, let alone a split. Now I still can’t do a full split but I’m getting there. The point is, you don’t have to be flexible. Yoga isn’t about being flexible. It’s about going at your own pace and setting your own limits based on what’s comfortable for you.
The amazing thing about Yoga is that you have tools and modified poses that you can use and do to still have a productive practice. I have tools such as yoga wheels, yoga blocks and yoga straps. When I couldn’t comfortably do a downward dog I did the modified version which is an extended puppy pose. Also remember one of yoga’s main purposes is to stretch the body, the muscles; so even if you aren’t flexible initially through practices you will become flexible. Like I stated previously, I couldn’t sit cross legged without my knees touching my chin. I couldn’t do a lot of positions without it being modified but after a year of practice I can do a squat pose or malasana.
(Side note: The key to becoming flexible in doing yoga poses is breathing and relaxing in the pose)
YOU HAVE TO BE SLIM, SKINNY, SMALL ETC…
At this point, being in 2023, weight should no longer be a factor preventing us from doing anything active. It’s thick, plus size individuals who are very active and flexible from running, pole dancing, step aerobics, etc. So yoga is NO EXCEPTION. I see just as many plus size influencers sharing their yoga journey like anyone else. Quite a bit or more experienced than those who aren’t plus size.
When I started implementing yoga in my fitness regimen, I was 176 lbs. It might not seem like much to some but for my 5’4 self, it was a lot for me. I’ll admit when I made yoga a daily practice I was around 145 but since then I’ve toned and trimmed down to around 138. Remember yoga is a form of fitness that burns calories as well. So the purpose is to get you into shape and not intended for you to already be in shape to benefit from it.
YOU HAVE TO BE “SPIRITUAL”
I can recall myself speaking about my yoga experience to someone and they saying how they never got into it because of how it could call on outside entities we can’t control ( they also felt this way about meditation) Listen, I get it. We live in a world where information is being funneled in every direction from everyone whether it’s true or false. We are all spirits and at any given time when we’re connecting with ourselves I believe we’re being spiritual.
So with that being said “Can you connect with yourself through yoga?”... Of course. However, it doesn’t mean that everytime you practice, it has to be spiritually driven. Sometimes I do yoga for the physical benefits solely; and other times I use it as a form of meditation. The great thing about yoga is you can set your intentions in the beginning to whatever you want the focus of your practice to be.
If you want to focus strictly on your body productivity then that’s going to be the focus of your practice but if you want to find some peace, tranquility or clarity; you can gain that as well. I personally believe that there is a foundation of spirituality when it comes to yoga even when that’s not your focus. You will most definitely gain some self connection during the process especially the more you practice. But it’s no spell bound cult practice that will have you humm-dililah-ing your soul away.
Just make sure you do what’s comfortable with your spirit and what your spirit gravitates to.
YOU HAVE TO DO CARDIO OR STRENGTH TRAINING TO GET A GOOD WORKOUT
I was skeptical at first when it came to all of the benefits that yoga could have physically. I didn’t believe initially that stretching and balancing your limbs could be effective in losing weight nor training. However, I was wrong. Remember when I spoke about that out of shape middle aged white man? Well he turned me into a believer. I saw how out of shape he was and 6 months of yoga had him looking trimmed and fit.
People believe that rigorous and vigorous movement is the only way to yield results. It’s often overlooked that yoga requires you to lift, balance and stretch your own body weight. And trust, lifting your own body weight compared to free weights isn’t the same.
Like I stated previously, yoga burns calories, builds strengths and endurance. I’ve definitely had sessions where I might not have felt the results at the time but woke up the next morning like…”WTF did I do?!” You can also sculpt with yoga using some added weights.
We all like and are attracted to different things; so I can respect anyone's decisions if it’s just not something they’re interested in. However, if the only thing holding you back from attempting is excuses then don’t cheat yourself from the benefits and possibilities yoga can have for you. Yoga is for EVERYBODY simply because there are no hierarchies, no gatekeepers and like someone states “We’re not trying to get ANYWHERE!”; We’re just being.