Should Yoga Be Difficult?

The aim of practicing yoga is to unite mind, body, and spirit so that they function together harmoniously, allowing you to realize your fullest potential. That’s a lofty goal. Psychotherapy doesn’t promise that. Neither do Wheaties.

But reaching that goal sounds daunting. What kind of sacrifice does it take? How much pain? That’s what most beginners want to know: Is yoga difficult?

The short answer is no. Anybody can learn yoga. Starting a yoga practice today doesn’t mean you’ll end up like those ancient yogis, doing pretzel-like contortions on a bed of nails. They do that just to show off.

Normal yoga involves about 30 postures. You start with the easier ones and progress at your own pace. If a pose feels difficult, don’t bend, stretch, or twist as far—or stop altogether. Do only what you can. As you become more flexible, you’ll find you can reach parts of your body that were once unreachable.

It should not physically hurt to do yoga. In a class, every yoga pose, called an asana, is conducted consciously, focusing on posture and breath. As a beginner, though, it’s more about letting your body learn what to do as you gradually develop the physical flexibility to perform the exercises more completely.

As you gain experience, you don’t necessarily learn more moves. Yoga isn’t like kung fu. It’s more like the game of Go: easy to learn, but difficult to master. You experience the poses you already know more intensely. You learn to hold them longer. Your depth of awareness changes.  They begin to challenge you deeper and deeper levels.

Since yoga is a holistic practice, results are not immediate. Like anything worth doing, it’s the practice over time that provides the benefits. So, while doing yoga is not difficult, it does take commitment. Most yoga exercise sets take 20-30 minutes to complete. Uniting your mind, body, and spirit so that they function together harmoniously isn’t something you can accomplish overnight.

Get started today, and you’re one step closer to realizing your fullest potential. Isn’t that worth the price of a yoga mat and a couple of Three Minute Eggs?

I’d like to thank Sonia Doubell, Yoga the secret blissUniversal Force Healing CenterTinnitus SA, and Truth Yoga World for some of this information.

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