When is the best time to start yoga? As a child. When is the second best time? Now!
I began my yoga practice when I was 23, and I wish I had started even younger. Practicing yoga has been a thread through my life, both as a practitioner and an instructor, that has helped me become the person that I am today. While many other Gen xers are stressed out and complaining about their newest ache or pain, I have more ease and no pain.
I have let go of perfectionism, people pleasing, and trying to meet other people’s expectations. My body doesn’t hurt and I can move through my day with confidence and ease. I have incredible balance and mobility, and I feel strong and capable. In addition to yoga, I also walk, hike, and swim, but yoga is my main activity.
3 Myths that are holding you back from starting something new
1. It’s too late, I’m too old.
While the adage goes “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” you are not a dog, and you CAN learn something new, at any age! In fact, learning something new, whether it’s yoga, a computer program or app, or knitting, can help keep your brain functioning! “Use it or lose it” applies to not only the body, but the mind as well.
There are so many stories of people deciding to run marathons in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, or writing a best-selling novel at age 50 or older. The only thing holding you back from starting something new is your mindset. If you can start something new and accept that it will be messy and imperfect, starting is easy. If you start something and expect to be an expert from day one, starting is much harder.
Every current expert in every field, had a first day. You can too. Whether you choose to practice until mastery or simply enjoy the journey or learning is up to you.
2. I can’t do yoga, I can’t even touch my toes!
Saying that your body is too stiff for yoga is like saying that you are too dirty to take a shower. You get clean in a shower, and you get less stiff practicing yoga. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Again, it is your mindset holding you back, not your body.
Any body can practice yoga, even bodies in a chair. There is Chair yoga for people who can’t get on the floor. There are multiple props (blocks, straps) available to make the floor or your feet closer when you can’t reach. Every pose is possible in every body because there is no one-size-fits-all way to practice. All yoga poses are modifiable so that everyone can practice, no matter your physical strengths or limitations.
3. My balance is terrible. I’ll embarrass myself.
Balance takes practice. Period. How many times do babies fall down when they are learning to walk? It’s a good thing their butts are so padded! If you haven’t been practicing balance over the years in something like dance, kayaking, yoga, or mountain climbing, chances are, your balance skills have waned. Today is the perfect day to start.
When you go up and down stairs, in and out of a car, move while carrying things, this all requires balance (and strength). You can practice balance anytime. Stand on one foot while watching TV or brushing your teeth. See how slowly you can go up and down stairs by controlling each step (use your glutes!). When you are intentional with your movements, and activating muscles that support you, you build strength and improve your balance. That’s yoga!
Whenever I teach Tree pose in my beginner classes, I teach on standing on two feet first. Feeling your feet on the floor and joints stacking gives the foundation for balancing on one leg. Once you understand how to balance on two feet, you can take that wisdom with you onto one. The rest of the pose is just icing on the cake. Feeling both stability and ease in the standing leg allows you to balance. It just takes practice.
Are you ready to start practicing yoga?
Ease into your new yoga practice with some insider knowledge. Top 10 Things to Know Before Attending Your First Yoga Class is a free eBook that helps you understand how to approach a yoga class when you are new. Learn 10 things that experienced yoga practitioners know so that you feel more confident when you step into a class for the first time. Click here to get your free copy!
Strength and Balance for Beginners Over 50 is happening this weekend, November 10-12, free in the Facebook Group! Join the group and experience 4 classes that build core and body strength and improve your ability to balance and shift your weight easily. Click here for more information or to join!
Start at the very beginning with Back to Yoga Basics, a 4 week online course that will teach you everything you need to know when starting a yoga practice. Learn proper alignment to avoid injury, learn breathing techniques to calm and energize the mind, learn what meditation is all about, and learn how to use yoga props to support your body. Click here for more information or to join!
I teach Beginner Yoga every Monday and Wednesday online! Each 45 minute class moves at a beginner’s pace so that you can practice yoga safely with the body that you have. Can’t make it to class live? I also have an extensive Video Library with hundreds of Beginner Yoga videos that you can take whenever you schedule allows. Click here to see the full online schedule, and here for the Video Library.