YOGA IS FOR ALL
Contrary to popular misconception, yoga is not only for those who are calm, flexible and strong. While sculpted bodies and enviable serenity may be outcomes of long term yogic practices, one need not have such characteristics to begin with. You can do yoga! Yoga can truly help anyone!
Are you over-weight, under-weight, too tall, very small, fleshy, bony, round…?
It does not matter! Yoga postures help all body types. When you are on the mat, there is no competition, no winning or losing. You gently push yourself, slightly past your own limits, to a point where you start to feel challenged. What does not challenge you, does not change you. The real work out is in the breathing, and in the ability to maintain the discipline of a daily practice.
You wish you had started when you were 20?
Yoga comes to you when you are ready. In Koh Samui, I met a woman named Dorien (http://www.becomingunbound.com/) who was 35 and acted like she was 25 and in love. I asked her what her secret was. To my surprise, she said she was 65! She started yoga at the age of 63. She easily slipped into a headstand, then back to her feat, and beamed a smile. She said, "Next I want to learn ballet."
ALL FITNESS LEVELS
Never exercised before?
No problem. Stamina, flexibility and strength increase with practice. Asanas are modified to each person's own level of capacity. People with back aches, knee injuries and circulation ailments are often recommended yoga as a means of rehabilitation. 'Yoga Chikitsa' and 'yoga therapy' have been instrumental in many forms of recovery; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Tim Feldmann (http://timfeldmann.com/) broke all his bones in a 60 foot fall from a cliff. Doctors said he would never walk again. Yoga changed his life. Not only did he teach himself to walk again, he is now a world-famous yoga teacher who helps others on their own journeys of growth.
Yoga contains nothing hurtful or contradictory to any faith or creed. It uses most of the methods advocated by the great religions, mystics and sages as a means to God-consciousness and to render the body a fit vehicle for spiritual illumination. In diverse forms, the seers of India, the Taoists of China, the Buddhist arhats, the Sufis of the Middle East, the Zen masters in Japan, the Siddhas of Tibet and the mystics of the West have attained enlightenment through yoga.
The Sage Krishna Gopi said, "The aim of Yoga is the elevation of the narrow, fearful, desire-tormented human consciousness to a state of indescribable beauty, glory and bliss. This is the aim of all religious striving too, this transmutation of the human mind, culminating in its liberation from the chains of ego to a world infinitely vaster and more mysterious and breath-taking than the material universe."
While glamorous divas like Rachel Brathen may be the Instagram image of yoga today, in the past yoga was a form of training for fierce male warriors! Yoga brings grace and balance but also strength and power. Sometimes women tend to be more flexible and men tend to be stronger; either way, yoga brings to each what s/he lacks. Yoga also helps us balance the male/female energies within ourselves.
By Shazia Omar
Shazia Omar is a writer and a yogi. Her book, Intentional Smile – A Girl's Guide to Positive Living, can be ordered online from Bookworm. https://www.facebook.com/bookwormbangladesh. Visit her webpage: