5. You need balance
I’m not talking about spiritual balance, although people can certainly find that in yoga. I’m talking about the other types of balance; from the meaningless buzz-term work/life balance to the skill that stops you from falling down the stairs. Yoga gives you time out from work and life, it encourages you to see yourself as a person, not a worker, or a consumer or even a citizen; just a person. You need this to balance out all the expectations and labels you have to deal with the other one hundred and sixty six and a half hours a week. Yoga also gives you the opportunity to balance your body, through engaging both sides of the brain and asking them to work together. The more often you do this in yoga, the easier it becomes, both in class and in life. And one legged prayer pose looks cool.
4. It’s a chance to be nice to yourself
Yoga is not competitive and it asks you not to be either. For a few hours a week you can participate without pushing yourself. Unlike a weights session or a martial arts class, there are no consequences for going easy. I’m not saying that challenging yourself is wrong; it’s not, but it’s ok to leave your high expectations of yourself on the lifting platform or the tatami and allow yourself to relax. And more than other forms of pampering, yoga is good for you in the long term. Yoga also acknowledges that you have good days and not-so-good days. If you fail a lift that you knew you could do last week, you may tend towards self recrimination. Not so in yoga. Just do what your body can do today.
3. You multi task too much
Multi tasking is the bane of the modern world. It is the one skill that degrades as you practice it. It is a symptom of our too busy, always prioritising the urgent the over important, lives. Yoga is the antithesis of multi tasking. In yoga, you undertake one posture at a time and while you are in that posture, it has all your attention. Sometimes you just focus on your breath, or on the position of your body as you sit. The focused concentration can be intense and it can be difficult to do because you’re not used to it. Doing this will help to reprogramme your mind so that, with some effort, one day soon you might be able to have a conversation with a loved one without giving in to the compulsion to check your phone at the same time.
2. Move it or lose it
Small children who are just learning to walk have perfect natural squat form. As a tween I could cartwheel, non-stop, the length of the tumbling run at my gym. Most office workers would be hard pressed to reach down and touch and their toes. Why? Because you’ve stopped moving the way you used to. If you did at least one handstand every day from the first day you learned how, you would never not be able to do one. But you didn’t do that. You grew up and, instead of squatting and cartwheeling, you took sat down in a chair at a desk to study and then to work. Yoga can help you to regain some of the natural mobility you’ve lost due to the nature of modern life. It can loosen up those tight muscles, straighten that hunched desk-monkey posture and help you to move again.
1. There are no excuses.
So you’re not flexible, you’re not strong and you don’t have time. Arguing that you can’t go to yoga because you lack flexibility or strength is like refusing to read a novel because you haven’t already read it. Sorry to sound like a fortune cookie but the journey really is everything. Bring whatever capabilities and limitations you have to yoga class and then work with them. Remember point four about being nice to yourself? Be who you are and just do what you can do. I would add, “you’ll get there” but there really is no “there” to get to. And as for not having time? There are four yoga classes a week at Elements: two weekday mornings, one afternoon and a very civilised mid morning on a Sunday (late enough for a sleep in and some brunch beforehand). If Civic is difficult to get to, check out findyoga.com.au for a studio near you. Weird life schedule defeating you? Consider finding an instructor and booking private lessons. Can’t afford private lessons? Buy a yoga DVD or download a podcast (many come with .pdf files showing the poses). To quote the most effectively advertised brand ever: Just Do It.