You Don’t Need A Perfect Body To Practice Yoga
Yoga is for everyone and every body.
Yoga 29th Dec, 2020
The Yoga industry, along with the wider advertising world, has a bad habit of only using very slim and beautiful people in their marketing. Even articles genuinely celebrating the power and skill of yoga have a tendency to use the same body type. This can lead people who have the normal bulges, bloating and ageing bodies to feel alienated.
In addition, the advertising language and illustrations often include references to maximum flexibility, which you may have found intimidating. In reality, yoga can help improve your flexibility, you do not need it to start. In fact, any person, of any weight or shape can practice yoga and feel the benefits of doing so.
As yoga is based around eight areas, including postures, balance, breathing and focusing on yourself, it is very accessible. It is a myth that you need to be able to balance on one leg for 20 minutes, or limbo into a backbend like a gymnast. Asanas, or poses, are only one area. While it can feel like all initiates, particularly celebrities, can handstand one handed while touching their nose, yoga actually meets you where you are.
Yoga is about being flexible in all ways, not perfect, including in your judgements about how you should look. The latest fashionable leggings and matching top are not necessary, a comfortable outfit with a little stretch is all that you need. Likewise you can dismiss the cutting edge water bottles or sports bag. The idea of being perfect is the opposite of what yoga teachings are based on. After all there is a reason why it is called yoga practice, there is always something new to learn, or to revisit. The aim is not to achieve a final difficult pose, take a photo and never do yoga again.
It is also important not to expect you will get the same results as somebody else, especially a famous person. They are probably also on a nutritionist provided diet, doing other forms of exercise in addition to yoga and, of course, airbrushed in most of their photos and films. If you are comparing yourself to the person next to you in class, remember they will have their own hang ups and obstacles.
Practicing yoga means finding peace with yourself, it is not about what anyone else is capable of. It is not possible to change the shape of your bones, so celebrate the fabulous body you have and focus on what you want from yoga. After all, yoga is about self-acceptance and self-awareness, not achieving perfection.
When you regularly practice yoga you learn to listen to what your body needs and figure out what you can do to fulfil those needs. Over time you could discover when you need to relax and when you can push yourself further than you realised. Anyone, with any body type, can do that. In truth there are far more people doing yoga who have a normal, wobbly body, across all age ranges, than the one’s advertised with the airbrushed, slim body type.