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Why is Yoga for Everyone by Sarah Yanello
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. The practice has evolved and changed over time in India and in the western world it is now understood to be a physical practice that encourages the practitioner to move on their mat through a series of poses with an emphasis on the mind body connection. What we call yoga is merely one part of the practice known as asana.
These days you can find yoga videos, books, YouTube channels, subscription-based services, and studio classes available for every discipline. The fact is that even with so many different styles being offered in the western world, yoga is often depicted as an exclusive way for able-bodied, cisgender, white folks to get a physical workout and minimize stress. It is important to note that there are also many yoga instructors and studios who offer ways to make yoga accessible to all people.
How can you find the yoga practice that is right for you?
In the Rochester area, it is easier than ever to find the best place for you. I recommend calling studios to ask questions before attending a class. Start by looking for studios near your home or work, ask for personal recommendations, have a conversation with a studio owner or instructor.
If entering a studio setting seems scary, there are many reputable yoga instructors who offer private sessions. This can be very beneficial in helping you to figure out what you are seeking in your yoga practice before entering a studio setting. I love to remind my students that I want to empower them to practice in any setting and make the correct choices for themselves. The use of props in yoga is one of the best ways to support and allow the student to discover poses that are not otherwise physically accessible. Many studios offer blocks, blankets, bolsters, chairs, foam wedges, straps, and more.
Yoga is not a performance. Yoga is not a competitive sport. Yoga does not ask you to push yourself. Yoga can aid in strength training, increase flexibility, provide healing for mind and body, decrease stress and anxiety, improve digestion, act as a sleep aid, encourage reflection and meditation. Yoga is a practice that will change over time with you. Most importantly, yoga is a way for the individual to connect within and increase self-awareness through mindful movement, breath exercises, and moments of stillness. The practice can benefit children and adults alike and is not exclusive of anyone.
Finding your practice is possible. It can take a while to find a teacher who you trust, a studio where you feel at home, and a practice that fits. We are all deserving of these things. Open yourself to the possibility that you will find what you are seeking.
Sarah Yannello offers private yoga sessions and Reiki healing in the Greater Rochester area. She teaches classes at Molly’s Yoga Corner, Beautiful Birth Choices, ROC & SOUL fitness, 540 at the Yards, and co-teaches the Mind, Body & Brew series. For more information, visit www.findyourpractice.org