Yoga is for EveryBody!
According to several online sources, there seems to be a general misconception that you need to be flexible or a certain age, gender or have a certain body type to practice Yoga. The good news is that YOGA IS FOR EVERBODY, and you can start practicing Yoga at any time and work towards making progress. Yoga is an investment we make in our present and future well-being.
Since we opened YogiSmile Yoga Studio in 2020, we welcomed all members of our community and have been doing our best to make Yoga practice a unique and joyful experience that encourages everyone to keep coming back. We were especially eager to recruit more men to practice Yoga with us as men are very underrepresented in Yoga, likely due to some misconceptions.
Today, we would like to spotlight the story of one of our Yogis, who has shown up regularly to achieve his Yoga goals, with the hope that his dedication and commitment will inspire others. James started practicing with us in May 2021 and we felt honored because he took his very first Yoga class with YogiSmile. From the very first session, he showed great enthusiasm to practice and learn the poses and align properly. What mostly impressed us at YogiSmile was that he was truly committed to his practice and showed up 2-3 times a week to practice and is progressing towards advanced level of practice. More inspiring was that we learned James has a full-time job and is studying for a degree in the evenings. When I asked James to share his motivation and reason behind starting Yoga and staying committed, this is what he shared with us:
“Before Covid 19, I did not consider exercise to be necessary for me. When the world started shutting down because of the pandemic, I stopped cooking for myself and began to eat delivery pretty much every day. That, plus the lack of exercise, caused me to gain weight. Physically, I began to feel stiff and generally unwell. After seeing a picture of myself with the extra weight, I was motivated to begin exercising. I did some research and started exercising online. Later, I purchased a rowing machine and a bike to add more variety to my routine. At work, a couple of my coworkers who practiced Yoga suggested that I give it a try. These gentlemen are in their 40's and 60's respectively. And compared to others in their age group, they walk and carry themselves like much younger men. Acting on their advice, I gave yoga a shot. I wanted to make sure that I would have no difficulties getting around in the future and age graciously. I used to be about 200 lbs and am currently 160. I have been practicing yoga since May of 2021 and have fallen in love with it ever since my first class. For me, it is a great stress reliever physically and mentally and helps me with the required discipline to achieve my personal goals in life. I truly enjoy practicing at every class and with every instructor at YogiSmile.”
Interacting with James, and other committed Yogis at YogiSmile, I learned the following 7 steps to change our lifestyle for better:
1. We need to first become aware and admit that there is a problem. For example, extra weight, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, stress, lack of sleep, stiffness and pain.
2. Then we need to set a goal to change the situation that is unsatisfactory, for example, lose 15lbs.
3. Next we need to research and make a list of changes to make in our lifestyle. For example, plan and make time to exercise and cook healthy foods. Also, decide if we need an accountability partner or if we think we can move forward on our own!
4. Set an intention and write it down to turn the goal into a contract and agreement with ourselves. Specify why we need to do this and what would be the outcome. “I want to lose 15lb because that will help me feel better, sleep better, help with my self-confidence, achieving my other goals and my long-term wellbeing”.
5. Then, it is important to draw a roadmap and set a timeline. Visually create a road map of where we are and where we want to be by a certain point in time. Breakdown the goal into smaller achievable steps and move forward in phases. Moving too fast or taking on too much may be a non-starter. Creating a vision board is a great idea!
6. Journal our progress. Track our daily activities towards our goal. If we miss, make up for it and/or catch up when we can. Reflect and review the progress and adjust as needed.
7. Make sure to reward ourselves every time we make a major progress and move to a new phase. Do something that we like and is enjoyable for us. Celebrate our achievement with friends, treat ourselves to something nice, practice Yoga, meditate, go for a massage, or spend some time in nature.
I am grateful to James for sharing his success story with us and how he managed to achieve his goal of living a healthier lifestyle. And thank you all for reading! Remember that regular Yoga practice will create a powerful foundation to help you achieve your goals while maintaining your inner peace and joy!