Many people first come to yoga practice for a physical workout: to get a good stretch or challenge themselves with complex poses.
They often don’t realize that the physical practice is a gateway to the real practice of yoga, which is a practice of self-inquiry and self-exploration.
As one of my other mentors has said, yoga isn’t a workout, it’s a work-in.
I realize that many people might not come to yoga if they knew this. Or maybe they would. Maybe someone who comes to yoga will always desire it to be a physical workout.
Since completing my teacher training, I’ve had many people tell me that they “can’t do yoga” because they aren’t flexible enough. Here’s what I want you to know: if I can do the physical practice, you can do it too. And the physical practice is only one of 8 limbs of yoga. There’s so much more to yoga than what happens on the mat.
If you come to yoga searching for a “workout” or a good stretch, I hope you’ll keep an open mind as to what you might receive. You may eventually feel called to explore the other aspects of yoga — meditation, pranayama, the precepts and ideals. Perhaps you’ll even stumble into the realm of the subtle body connections, which is an area that fascinates me.
No matter what gets you to your mat, if you stick with it long enough, you will likely find that a yoga practice does more than stretch the body.
If you open yourself to the experience, you can stretch your mind, your awareness, and your sense of who you are.