By Faye Martins
There is a yogic myth created in commercials about what a practitioners should look like. People who are blind, obese, in a wheel chair, and have heart conditions practice Yoga, but you’ll never see them in a commercial. Some people who would be perfect instructors avoid yoga teacher training; even though it is a life-long passion. I’ve heard, “I’m too old, fat, stiff and tired, to become a yoga instructor,” every week. However, most of these people criticize themselves worse than anyone ever could. If the only person who attends yoga instructor training is a retired prima ballerina, who is going to follow her lead? Will she understand or bother to listen during lectures on modification, props, anatomy and adjusting? My bet is she puts on a show for students to follow and doesn’t bother to watch their form.
The way you see yourself affects the way you interact with people on a regular basis. Confident people have an inner calm that shines through when they speak and act with others. How you perceive yourself in relation to others affects your personal beliefs about your body also. Whether they intend to or not, many people compare their selves with others. When you have a poor body image, you find yourself never matching up to others. When you have a positive body image, you are able to feel good and strong in your own body. Yoga training helps instill a positive body image by allowing you to find inner peace while strengthening the entire body.
When you engage in an asana practice, it becomes a quiet time to reflect and get to know your entire body better. You can push yourself to stretch a little deeper, hold the pose a little longer and breathe deeply to release negative thoughts and emotions. Yoga helps you become comfortable with the body that your were given at birth. It allows you to appreciate your body for its positive attributes and to be grateful for health and wellness.
Today’s media bombards us with images of beauty and fitness that many of us strive to achieve. This causes us to feel inferior to the models with perfect bodies and flawless faces. When surrounded by perfection at every turn, it’s not hard to become doubtful about our selves. When you practice yoga, you can remind yourself on a regular basis that those images don’t matter. What matters is what’s inside of each person. A regular yoga training practice gives you the time to sit and reflect on what is truly important in life.
Asanas are designed to stretch and strengthen the entire body. After a vigorous routine of postures, it’s not hard to feel strong and confident about your self. Asana teaches you to reach places you never thought you could go. With practice and determination, you can almost achieve any posture you desire. With guidance, props, modification and adjustment, you continue with your yoga training, little by little, you begin to realize that whatever body you were given is the perfect body for you.
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