Yoga can be a religion. But so can Netflix. Not that I’m converting, but I’ve never heard of a yoga practitioner who donned a suit of explosives and took out a plaza… Yoga people, the religious sort, are usually wiry, elven, stoic folk who don’t talk much and never eat. Being only elvin, I’m more of an ala carte practioner: no spiritual frills, just the poses.
What I love about yoga is that it’s exercise for people who don’t like pain. I know that doesn’t make sense considering the impossible positions into which some yogies tie themselves. What we see as a human pretzel is the result of countless hours inching toward that end. And while genes play a part in yogic range, the secret to success is honoring your limits at each practice. Initially, yoga is about humility.
True story. I’m working through a new yoga video when my son comes in the room and says Why aren’t you doing what they’re doing? because he doesn’t know I am doing what they’re doing. He also doesn’t know I’m honoring my limits. 🙂
A friend of mine teaches a yoga-based class to our homeschool group. She calles it Outstretched Gym. While we’re stretching or holding the poses, she prompts us to think of different aspects of God. You’ll never hear her say down dog or namaste, but the students get a great yoga workout and a fresh perspective on Jesus. I think they see an adult mastering her body in a way they can’t– quite, and it cultivates respect.
Yoga is not like other exercises. It actually feels good much of the time, depending on how you practice. Man yoga is for people who just have to have pain. Brand-new learners, check out the DVD “The Flow Series: Earth.” And my latest love, the YouTube series by The Yoga Vine is an intermediate 45-minute practice I never have to psych myself into.