Often we see images of people on social media doing seemingly impossible poses, looking 'perfect' in a gorgeous outfit. These pictures look amazing and for many they will be uplifting and inspiring because they represent dedication and hard work. They can be really motivational.
However, for those new to yoga, I want to address a misconception which I believe to be related..
Since teaching yoga, I have heard comments such as 'I am not flexible enough, or 'I am not slim enough/bendy enough to do yoga' or 'I might look silly.' This saddens me and inspired me to set the record straight and bust some myths!
Yoga is absolutely not about how you look, (or worse passing judgement on others or how they are doing). Yoga is about directing your attention inwards.
Sure, it can include stretching yourself out of your comfort zone if you feel like it on the day and trust the teacher, but most importantly easing off when you need to, listening to your body and being kind to yourself - yoga is also about self care.
Yes, it does build flexibility, but its about listening to and respecting your body- doing what feels good, not what looks good. To build on this, no two people that look the same in a pose will feel it in the same way. This is because our bodies are all wonderfully unique and different, so what feels good for one person, does not necessarily feel good for another and vice versa. That's why I encourage students to modify when appropriate and never to be looking at what the person in front of you, or next to you is doing. Find your space and hold it, unashamedly.
Finally, yoga won't give you a 6 pack (only healthy diet, cardio and lots of crunches can do that). What it can give you is far deeper than that - peace, clarity, strength, time for you and a connection with your body, mind and emotions.
I hope that this helps to dispel some myths around yoga and some fears around body image. I hope that anyone reading this may remember this post next time they see an Instagram shot and not let it lead them into self doubt. Do your thing, unashamedly. If you fall, then what the hell..in fact great, well done - it means you tried something new! I encourage anyone who resonates with the above to do your thing and let go of what others may think.
Love From, Mudra Om xx