June 27, 2019

Do I Have to Give up Burgers and Other Thoughts I Had While Starting Yoga

Adulting is hard, ok? You have to pay your bills, show up to work on time, take care of your health and purse your creative dreams all at the same damn time! While I'm reasonably successful with the other three, I struggle with 'take care of your health'. So a month ago, I decided to give yoga a try in a bid to become a little more healthy.

I had questions so I started this the way I start everything in life—by turning to Google for answers. I'm going to share my findings here so you don't have to spend hours Googling.

I'm Not Flexible
I have six words for you: Ramdev Baba's India Today Magazine Cover. It's that photo that launched a thousand hilarious memes. So naturally, I was apprehensive about my severe lack of flexibility before starting. But, I learned you don't have to be flexible to start yoga but over time, yoga can make you flexible. Don't force your body to contort into weird positions to do an asana. You can seriously hurt yourself if you do that. Do what you can to start and with practice you may just reach Ramdev-level flexibility—hahaha (I remembered that meme again). 

I Don't Have Time
If you have time to watch that funny cat video, you have time for yoga. I decided to start with 15 minutes every day in the morning. And I have stuck with it. I spend an average of three hours commuting every day so I knew making time for yoga was going to be difficult for me. I practise more during the weekend, when I do have the luxury of time. So, don't be hard on yourself. Any time spent on your health is a good start.

My Most Important Question: Do I Have to Give up Meat?
This is a hotly debated question in the yoga world. But, after doing extensive research (by that I mean copious amount of Googling) I can say this: No, you don't have to become vegetarian to start yoga. There are a number of reasons some people give up meat while practising yoga. There is a belief that the "ideal yoga diet" should be Sattvic. Another belief about giving up non-veg has to do with ahimsa. The benefits of doing yoga won't be negated if you have a burger once in a while. So, don't let your diet stop you from yoga.   

Yoga and Religion Beliefs
In a country where everyday life is intrinsically entwined with religious beliefs and the slightest of things hurting people's religious sentiments—this is a tricky one. Here's a fact though: Yoga Is Not a Religion, or Affiliated to Any Religion. Sure, there are some teachings of yoga that are similar to Hindu or Buddhist beliefs such as ahimsa. But, yoga is for everyone. You can practice it and still be true to your faith.

Just Start
This isn't really a question. I just want to say this to anyone reading this article: Just Start. If you don't know how to, watch a video, buy a DVD or join a class. If you're worried about proper form but have no time for a class, get a consultation with a teacher like I did. But, it is important to start.

If you're like me and do lots of research before starting anything, you know you will get a lot of conflicting opinions and well-meaning advice. It can also make you indecisive. So, from one beginner to another: Just Start. Do what you can with whatever time and skill you have. Now, I'm going to go grab my yoga mat and try not pull a muscle while laughing at the Ramdev meme.