by Kate Saal
It’s too difficult.
When people say this about yoga I believe they are speaking about the physical difficulty. It’s absolutely true that this can be a very demanding and challenging practice—but only if you want it to be.
I often share that this practice will be hard (difficult) until you decide to make it easy. You make the choice.
What you need in order to practice yoga physically is the ability to breathe. I have literally seen people practice with titanium rods in their backs. I have seen people who are considered severely overweight practice. I have also seen people practice when they are missing limbs. Whether recovering from an injury, experiencing a migraine or working through a plethora of life’s other challenges…the people who practice come from the gamut of experience.
But how can they physically get through a yoga class?
It helps to understand a few things about the practice. The first one is it really is about developing awareness through the practice of breathing. You don’t need to be able to stand on your head or touch your toes for that one. (Believe it or not it is still possible to be kind, loving and happy without ever touching your toes.)
Also, everyone practices yoga together in the same class. The only difference between a “Level 1” class and an “All Levels” is the Level 1 is slower—but only because people in an All Levels class are more apt to take care of themselves instead of trying to go through every single posture.
How can everyone practice together?
There is an idea in yoga called “Ahimsa” which is generally translated as non-harming but may also be translated as “Love”. Love one another. Love yourself.
Which brings us back to a class. If you take accountability to “love” yourself in a yoga class then you will do what’s best for you in each moment. Sometimes this means finding a full expression of a posture and sometimes it means resting or drinking water.
We use the physical postures to create awareness but it’s not really about the posture. It’s about the deeper experience of letting go and connecting. And you can do that just as easily sitting down as balancing on one leg.
In each class you will be given options to “modify” a practice. (And if ever need a specific modification please ask the teacher.) The posture is here to serve you. Make it work for you instead of contorting yourself to fit it. Again, the choice is yours.