"If you work on yoga, yoga will work on you" - Baba Hari Dass
Yoga is not comfortable...
There's a big misconception, thanks to big brand "yoga" apparel, social media, and the like, that one has to BE something before they can "do" yoga. Ex: thin, flexible, strong, white, Lululemon clad, etc.
This comes up over and over as to why people aren't "ready" to try.
Here's the thing: yoga is not comfortable. It is also not supposed to hurt, make you feel unsafe, or trigger you in any way.
It is simply not comfortable to allow stillness, silence, emotions, and sensations. To move your body in ways you're not used to moving. To hold positions of strength using muscles you're not used to using. To control the breath. To practice listening to and respecting your boundaries and energy when your ego wants to muscle through.
To slowly develop a feeling of "home" within your own self, when you really want to run.
Yoga, all of its branches, is an ongoing practice. There's no such thing as being bad or good at it because there is always room to modify, expand or deepen. Even if for you that means sitting still for 1 minute instead of not at all. Stopping one bit of inner-dialogue. Letting go of one attachment. Accepting your body does not bend or look like another body, and not compare. Reaching for a tea and allowing a feeling to come through, instead of a (vice of choice) and numbing, even just for one day.
A practice developed to create homeostasis. A home within yourself, in a body and mind that eventually, with practice, WILL become more comfortable: stronger, softer, more flexible, maybe even less "flexible" - as your case may be.
Your instructor, of true yoga, should come from a place of teaching to learn, not teaching to correct. You should feel safe and trigger-free with the language they use and the space they hold. Safe to be you, as you are, safe to practice YOUR practice with your body, your mind, and your spirit, at your own pace and with modifications more suited to your body and mind.
I aim to continue to practice holding this space and learning from others while deepening my own practice.
I always warn my students "if you catch me looking at you, it's only to see how each pose or the language I used is resonating with participants so that I can learn from that, and perhaps offer the class as a whole a variation that might suit certain bodies better next time"
Sara Bylo is an ongoing student of Yoga. Specifically, the non-sectarian teachings from Baba Hari Dass through the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga (in Ashtanga Yoga with the roots in practical Hatha yoga )