MOST PEOPLE PRACTISING YOGA ARE NOT FLEXIBLE.

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YOGIS I SEE ONLINE ARE NOTHING LIKE ME

Most people practising yoga are not bendy and flexible.

Yogis I see on the internet are nothing like me and the yogis I’ve come into contact with in my world.

A WORK OF ART

I have to admit it. I like looking at the beautiful contortions that the human body can perform. It’s a beautiful work of art. And I can appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes with an asana (posture) practice.

The images I see today would have wooed me when I started practising yoga 18 years ago. So I’m glad I didn’t have these images to block my need for yoga.

Because in all honesty, it could have gone two ways. I would have either been terrified to start yoga. Or I would’ve started yoga and practised it religiously to achieve the perfect pose.

The latter would’ve been most likely. Which, would’ve led to huge disappointment!

Practising yoga doesn't require you to be flexible

I’M INTIMIDATED

Seeing people demonstrating the perfect pose on social media is incredibly intimidating. Not only to prospective students looking to start yoga. But also to yogis that have practised yoga for a number of years. As for most of us, these contortions are unachievable and may lead to a visit to accident and emergency.

After, practising yoga for eighteen years of my life and teaching yoga for seven of those years. I have never been able to contortion my body in this way and at my age I have no wish to do it.

WITNESSING YOGA ON SOCIAL MEDIA

After starting my blog, I have been viewing social media as a way of connecting with others.

Connecting with other yogis. And with people with the same diseases as myself to offer some inspiration.

I’m a total novice when it comes to social media, I’ve never had any interest in it. My view on it is swaying slightly as I’ve been able to view a lot of positivity around social media. Especially when it supports people suffering from my diseases. But when it comes to yoga, it’s a little disappointing.

The views on yoga from a lot of these channels seem to promote the ego. Something we should be constantly trying to remove as yogis.

It focuses on the pose, the look of the pose and the range of flexibility of the yoga practitioner.

It would be nice for these yogis to express how they feel within the pose. What the pose means to them whilst holding and the effects to the mind.

But I suppose this is not what people following them want to see. Newbies learning will have no idea what yoga is about. The continuous views of these images will change the whole premise of yoga.

SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTES YOGA. A GOOD THING!!

It’s most certainly a double edge sword.

For instance, when I first started practising yoga, I didn’t share it with people. I feared I’d be viewed as being a little strange for practising it. There were times I’d mention it and would get looked at as if I was weird. They’d assume I’d spend hours a day chanting and meditating.

Now, today, people are always asking me about yoga. And are quick to share their knowledge by firing a few posture names at me.

So social media has indeed made people more aware of yoga. But it’s very top-heavy with the body being promoted more than the mind.

CONCLUSION

Awareness is fantastic. But I’m not sure if these images are good at promoting the benefits that I receive from practising yoga. I’ve proudly witnessed life changing benefits from people I’ve taught. Becoming a contortionist was not the reason why they started practising yoga. It was the benefits to health and to the mind.

Being flexible and bendy is a bonus to practising yoga. But the benefits to my health and to my mind far more outweigh having an overly flexible and bendy body.

Image: Unsplash/Marvin Meyer

Updated: 20 January 2019

Yoga flexibility is not the goal



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