So you've decided that you want to get into yoga because somebody told you that it's really good for you, it will help you with your back pain and make you more fit and flexible! But is yoga really for you, even though you are so not flexible?
Well, let me tell you how I got started with Yoga and maybe this will help.
I hadn't actually heard about all the amazing benefits of yoga (and you will find a long list in my post Benefits of Yoga and How it Helps to Help Yourself). I was just curious as there was a yoga class at the same place where I did Pilates so decided to try it out one day.
I was in my early twenties but I was pretty inflexible, was always worried about my back at the time and the only thing I had going was that I was willing to give it a go!
My first yoga class was maybe a bit strange and slightly uncomfortable to begin with as I didn't know what was going on.
BUT I felt absolutely amazing afterwards. My back wasn't sore, I had more energy and just felt great in my body. It probably took a couple of more classes but then I was hooked!
Fast forward 13 years and I am now a yoga teacher! I now get asked a lot of questions about yoga, how to start and if you have to be super flexible.
The top 3 benefits of yoga for me are:
- It helps me manage back pain - I suffer from scoliosis so are very familiar with chronic back pain, neck and shoulder tension etc
- Stress Relieve - honestly, who can say they don't need that?
- I have become stronger and more flexible and just generally feel better in my body
I think what is putting people off trying yoga is not knowing what to expect. I get that and I was a little bit like that too. Well, if you don't try you won't know if it's for you, right? Here are a few tips for you:
- If you are not comfortable walking into a yoga studio where all the amazingly beautiful and bendy hang out, find someone who teaches in a church hall for example which can be a lot less intimidating.
- You could also find someone who teaches private lessons and take a few 1:1 sessions until you feel comfortable. I've got a lot more tips on How to Find Your Perfect Yoga Teacher in this post.
- Make sure to read up on Which Style of Yoga is Right For Me before choosing a class.
- Check out some yoga on YouTube. Here is my YouTube channel but there are many others of course!
So, do you have to be flexible to go to a yoga class?
No! I definitely wasn't... but you will become more flexible!
Some people are naturally very bendy and others, possibly due to their bone structure, are not. That doesn't matter, however, as we all have different starting points when we start out with yoga. We all have different bodies and different structures!
Yoga is not a competitive activity so it doesn't matter what the person next to you does. In yoga we learn to become aware of our own bodies, we practice inwards rather than outwards.
It's for yourself and not anyone else.