If you can breathe, you can do yoga…
I love yoga, it’s a love affair I’ve had for years. I loved yoga before I moved to Ottawa, before I was married all those years ago, before I became a mother, not so many years ago. If you think of the Coca-Cola jingle, yet modify the words “I’d like to teach the world to do yoga”, that is sincerely how I feel.
Yet, I have a confession. I didn’t always tell people I’m a yoga instructor, and I used to avoid attending classes at my home studio, or anywhere teachers knew me. Because when I would fall out of tree pose, I would feel like a failure. No one, especially me, likes failing.
Then one day something great happened. Did I perfect tree pose? No. I learned that yoga is a practice; there is no failing. I know I had often heard it called a practice, I called it a practice myself, but I never really got it. There is no end goal, no winning, it’s just always practicing. You cannot fail at yoga, you can just practice.
You may have noticed in recent years many people have begun practicing yoga. Celebrities like Wayne Gretzky, Rachel McAdams, Jose Bautista, even Ottawa’s most famous first couple are yogis.
Yoga has become trendy. It went from being some counterculture, strange looking exercise practiced in the back room of the one health food store in town to a multi-billion dollar business. It is everywhere, in magazines, in fashion, in gyms, in schools, community centres, on Parliament Hill. However, for many, it remains intimidating. For all the advertising, promoting, quotes of acceptance, there’s still the misconception that if you can’t touch your nose to your knees you can’t “do yoga”. I’m going to say it again; if you can breathe you can do yoga. You just need to try.
I once heard someone say the most difficult thing about yoga is getting to a class. This can be hard, maybe even a little scary. But we forget; we are a courageous folk. We do things everyday like drive, work, socialize, take public transit, marry, stay single, parent, and even survive winter in Ottawa that take way more courage than yoga. And, truly, there is a class for everyone. There is yoga for seniors, babies, fuller figures, athletes, beginners, advanced, golfers; there is gentle yoga and power yoga, slow flow and vinyasa flow and more. Your shape, your size, gender, experience do not matter. Your reason for going doesn’t even matter.
I recently read an article about the 77 benefits of yoga. Seventy Seven! Even more awesome; whatever your reason for practicing is, you get all the other benefits thrown in like a great Boxing Day sale. There’s a rumour that the Ottawa Senators practice yoga; I’m pretty sure they don’t do it for the post yoga glow, but it happens anyway.
The best part about yoga class is you don’t even need to know what to do; you just need to show up. There will be a teacher, to lead you where to go, what to do, what not to do and if needed, what to think. I’m going to let you in on a yoga teacher secret, we’re a bit like your dog. We don’t care what you wear, how you look, if you’re a beginner or a seasoned yogi, we’re just happy you showed up. And trust me, you will be too.