Do you consider yourself to be no good at yoga? What does it mean to be “good” at yoga anyway?
Being able to get your foot behind your head?
Getting up an hour early to meditate?
Being super bendy and flexible?
Being skinny and able to successfully pull off wearing leggings without a baggy t-shirt to hide your muffin tops?
Knowing a load of Sanskrit mantras by heart?
Being able to recite the Sanskrit names for yoga postures, sorry, asanas?
No. None of these things makes you “good” at yoga!
I truly cringe every time I hear someone say, “oh I love yoga but I’m rubbish at it.”
“I would love to do a yoga class but I am nowhere NEAR touching my toes!”
“Yoga sounds like a lovely idea but I’m not really that kind of person.”
To me, being good at yoga consists of just one thing. One tiny thing. If you can do this thing just once you are winning at yoga. If you can do it a bunch of times, then you are a shining star in my book.
What is it? What is the secret to being “good” at yoga?
Get. On. Your. Mat.
What? That’s it? Yes!
And to be honest you don’t even have to have a mat! They are quite a new invention to yoga, you know.
What I mean by this is that yoga is about change. It is about improvement. It is about a desire for stillness. About less. About time. About being in the universe. And we are all in the universe, right?
Change comes from just one small action and for me that action is to step onto a mat. Either literally or figuratively. Once you step onto your mat (or into your class, or into your space), you are therfore making a decision to step away from everything else that is happening in your life. Pressing a pause button on the chores, work, kids, money, house… The lot. It is about making space and time for being in the universe.
Do you have to actually “do” yoga on the mat? Well, yes and no!
No, if yoga for you is just doing postures. If yoga for you is about fitness and flexibility and strength, then you don’t necessarily have to “do” yoga.
Although when you look a bit further into what yoga actually is, there are quite a few strands – limbs, if you like – that make up yoga. Do you have to do all of them to be good at yoga? No absolutely not, but doing just one of them would be perfect!
One of the key points of yoga, according to BKS Iyengar, is that the practice of yoga (whichever part of it you are doing – postures, breathing, meditation, morality, discipline, etc.) is to achieve a sense of stillness in the mind.
For me, just the action of stepping onto your mat means you are making a decision to slow down, to spend a moment being in the moment, to make some movement TOWARDS stillness (and you don’t even have to achieve stillness, just make steps towards it).
And if you can do this, even just once, then in my book you are good at yoga. If you can do it a bunch of times, then you are being good at yoga a bunch of times. Every day? Good at yoga. Once a year? Good at yoga.
Hey, you! Yes, YOU! You ARE good at yoga – look at you, you’re on your mat!