As a yoga teacher I hear this a lot “I can’t go to a Yoga class, I can’t touch my toes!” Or “I’ve always wanted to do yoga but I’m just not flexible” No more excuses!
You may not be very flexible in some or all ways, you may not have the strength to do some of the Asanas (Comfortable and steady pose) THAT’S OK! Because one day you might just be able to do the things you didn’t think you could do today. One day you might not be able to touch your toes then the next you can.
I don’t think you would meet anyone that woke up one day and said to themselves “Today I’m going to run a marathon” Got out of bed and ran that 42.195km! They probably said “I want to run a Marathon in about 6 months’ time, So today I am going to start practicing” They may have started with running 1km and felt like they were never going to make it and wanted to pass out before they got past the first block. However the more you practice the closer you are going to get to the full marathon.
Your hands may only reach to your hips when get asked to touch your toes but slowly overtime and practice and once you realise judgment and stop criticising yourself you will get closer and closer to your toes or any pose you are looking to achieve.
We live in such a fast paced world at the moment where everything is NOW, NOW, NOW all at our fingertips and we don’t have to work all that hard to get what we want. So when we go to our first yoga class or just think about going to a yoga class we have this expectation of ourselves that we should be able to do everything before we get there. No, we go there to get to the end result you have to start somewhere and where better to start then where it is being taught, where you will not be judged. Everyone started somewhere.
I used to go to a class with a friend of mine and we both noticed the strengths and weaknesses in each other, we both had our “thing” we could do the other couldn’t, I could reach my toes and he could put his legs and knees on the floor in budh konasana (butterfly pose) he wanted to touch his toes I wanted to sit like him, we never pushed ourselves and we never judge the other for not being able to do it, we just would point out that today we were a little closer than the day before without the fear of judgment from one or another judge the feeling of encouragement.
A couple of times while teaching a class I have gotten “you make that look so easy.” It’s not a comment I like to receive sometimes.
Maybe now I do, because I have practiced it over and over again. Headstand for example in a class while teaching I go through each stage quite slowly to show how to do it safely, it does make it look pretty easy and simple.
Just let me tell you a little story about my headstand journey:
The first time I attempted a headstand at my Teacher training, I followed the instructions thought yes I am going to try this myself, after many of attempts to get my legs up, as soon as I did BANG! I rolled over and fell straight onto my back, I didn’t save myself with my feet or anything, and let me tell you on a tiled floor that hurts a little, after that yeah I gave it a little shot by myself but I wasn’t even getting my knees to my chest, I didn’t want to fall and hurt myself again, I thought “I don’t have the strength for this.
After that each class, I waited I waited for the teacher to come around and help me go up into the head stand, this went on for about 2.5 weeks, (keep in mind we were doing 2-3 classes a day where I would be doing a headstand) 2.5 Weeks I would wait so that I knew there would be someone there to help me. This is what happens it takes time, it takes time learning the correct techniques that will allow you to get to where you want to go. Each time the teach was there I would learn what I was doing right or wrong that would keep me held in the pose, I even had to go up the front once to show them how I was doing my headstand because I was doing it wrong, to teach everyone how to notice if a student is doing that and how to correct it. There was no feeling of judgment there just encouragement to get better. We are the course of most of our judgement we judge ourselves before others judge us.
Yoga teachers can make things look easy but that is with any professional they always make what they are doing seem easy, because you weren’t there when they started off when that world champion marathon runner couldn’t even run around the block without feeling like they were dying. We seem to miss the hard yards people put in and just see the results and want that now, but that is not going to happen we need to be more kind and patient with ourselves, we need to start somewhere.
I remember a yoga teacher always said to us at the start of class to welcome the body that is here today and you may not be able to do what you could last class. That allowed me to stop the judgment within myself, each day something different is happening in our lives and our bodies react the that differently each time, today I may be able to touch my toes tomorrow I may not be able to. It does not matter though, what matters is that you are kind to yourself!
Don’t feel like by going to a yoga class you need to do everything there, if you went to a yoga class and stayed the whole time in Balasana (Childs pose) the teacher wouldn’t mind others in the class most likely won’t even notice as we are all there to focus on ourselves and if that’s what you need for that class is to just be in a room filled with positive energy where you can rest then go for it!
At the end of the day the more you practice the closer you are going to get to touching your toes. So no more “I can’t go to a Yoga class, I can’t touch my toes!” GO and one day you just might!
Love and Light