People often ask me if they need to be flexible to do a Yoga class. Or they might say they are really ‘bad’ at Yoga.
That is so far removed from what Yoga is about. Yoga is ultimately about reducing suffering through developing awareness. The Yogis start with the physical body. Without a healthy physical body, it can be very hard to sit for meditation and it is through meditation and mind management that we can reduce suffering and find that ‘blissful’ state. So, the ancient Yogis developed a number of Asana’s/postures/poses and cleansing practices to improve well being. This was the beginnings of Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga Pradipaka is one of key traditional texts on these practices. Of course there are a myriad of styles of Yoga now as various teachers from different traditions expanded the variety of postures and practices, adding their style based on their spiritual and physical life experiences. No one tradition owns Yoga, the important thing is that Yoga is practiced with compassion and awareness.
A Yoga class usually begins with breathing practices, some gentle postures or asanas to warm the body up a little and then depending on the type of class you are attending, it might move into stronger ‘static’ postures or into ‘dynamic’ flow of postures.
Static postures are those positions that are held for a while, breathing, in place. These can develop strength and stamina.
Dynamic Yoga postures are positions that you don’t hold for very long, you might move from one position to another in a flow or you might be in the one pose but move with the breath multiple times, possibly easing into it a bit further each time.
And the answer to the second question, “can anyone do it?”, is a resounding Yes. Try out different styles of Yoga and you will find a class to suit where you are at with your body and mind at this time. Often it is down to the teacher, so find a teacher that is kind, caring, sensitive and experienced… and enjoy.