Therefore, Shariputra, without attainment,
bodhisattvas take refuge in the Prajnaparamita
and live without walls of the mind.
Without walls of the mind and thus without fears,
they see through delusions and finally nirvana.
[excerpt from The Heart Sutra - Trans: Red Pine]
I’m sure everyone knows that one person who has an excuse for everything as to why they won’t try out yoga. “Oh, I’m not skinny enough for it.” “I want to lose some weight before I do yoga.” “I’m not flexible enough.” “I don’t know what I’m doing, so I don’t go to classes.” And so on and so on. At this point, I could write a book titled 365 Days of Yoga Excuses. I’m not saying that holy crap, everyone in the world and their mom needs to do yoga right this very second. Sometimes we do have legitimate reasons as to why we can’t do things in life, let alone yoga. If you just got out of surgery, yeah, maybe yoga isn’t your thing right about now. Though maybe it will be later.
I’m just confused as to where this whole stigma with yoga came from. I didn’t have to have some “cool yoga people only” member’s card in order to go to class. And I sure as hell didn’t have to be in the most optimum physical shape in the world. I know people with extra pounds and aren’t walking sticks who can do some amazing yoga poses that I’m not capable of doing yet. And I always have to remind people for the millionth time that yoga isn’t all about how many handstands you do a day. For some reason, whenever I tell people I do yoga, they think that equates with me being an Olympic athlete. All those complicated postures aren’t for everyone. Hell, some breathing techniques aren’t for everyone.
What I’d love to see more of is some openness in the yoga community. Or at least help people realize that yoga does not equal some glorified cardio routine. And for some reason I feel like I’ve written this post before, but hey, nothing wrong with taking an old topic off the shelf and dusting it off a bit. At the very least, all my friends now know better than to say they can’t do yoga while I’m in the same room. I try not to be yoga nazi, for a lack of better terms, but I will speak out on how I believe yoga is for everyone. Maybe not every type of yoga, but I’m certain there are postures and styles that resonate with each individual. Vinyasa tends to drive me up a wall and I need to be in the mood to do it, whereas I know people who live for it and nothing else.
Then I think of how our society works and how we’re told no, we can’t do this because of x, y, and z and if you don’t meet those prerequisites, then there’s no point in trying. Well, none of that applies to yoga for the most part. I love finding new students in my classes. Sadly, I can’t give them special one-on-one attention, but I do my best. Everyone deserves the chance to try.