Why Yoga is for Everyone (even if you're 30, 50 or 90)
In Brazil (where Kaiut Yoga originated) the T-Shirts read: “Yoga pra todo mundo” which can be translated as "yoga for everybody and every body"
But is yoga truly for everyone?
Surely there are some people who can’t do yoga? Don’t you have to be a certain age? super bendy? Strong?
The answer quite simply is No!
Truly, yoga (or at least Kaiut Yoga) is for everyone.
It’s quite possible that for some folk they have to do some postures in a modified way if they have a specific injury or issue. It’s quite possible that some people may need to use a chair or extra bolster. It’s quite possible that some people will need to leave the posture early (as in Kaiut Yoga we can stay in postures for quite a length of time). But does any of that mean it’s not for everyone? Not at all.
Let’s start with age.
How old are you now?
And how old will you be in a year’s time?
So if you do or you don’t practice yoga, next year you will be a year older.
And if you do start yoga you open up the possibility that maybe, with a regular and consistent practice, you might surprise yourself at how your body doesn’t age in that year.
If you start yoga at 83 (and I know someone who did – see my blog post about Sandra) yep, a year later she turned 84. Right on time. On her next birthday… but guess what? She felt so much younger! So the fact that it doesn’t matter what age you are is why yoga is for everyone.
You can watch this video about someone in the UK who is now 105 who started Yoga at 95!
Okay – what about flexibility?
Why yoga is for everyone is because you can be stiff as a board or pipe cleaner bendy and you will benefit.
Those of you who are hypermobile, you will find that you start to feel and understand your joints more. Part of the reason why, if you are a hypermobile person, you are in danger of damaging yourself is because you have lost a sense of feeling in the ligaments and tendons – so you are able move past safety in your joints.
The postures in Kaiut Yoga have all been designed in a way that will not allow you to over bend, and that any extension is always given with precise instruction so you can’t damage yourself.
And for those of you who are super stiff… welcome to the world of increased flexibility.
Quite rapidly you will see results.
I have students who within three or four classes can already experience increased flexibility in their hips, knees or shoulders.
And you are not pushing or forcing your joints to open. You are simply allowing two friends to help you – gravity and time – they become your teachers.
So the fact that it doesn’t matter your level of flexibility is why yoga is for everyone.
And how about strength? Surely to hold downward dog for a long time, or go into backbend – you are going to need some serious strength?
And yes, in certain yoga practices your routine will include the kind of postures which feel like you must force yourself up and to hold the asana with a brute strength.
By gripping and holding and tightening and forcing, if you are strong, young and flexible enough you can achieve these postures. Therefore, yoga is often seen as a type of fitness regime for young and strong people.
But Kaiut Yoga doesn’t ask you to do any of those postures. Instead, you are learning about the relationship between your brain/mind and the body. You are looking for a coherence between the body/mind system. And any strength that comes is from a deep understanding within and it’s as much about relaxing and letting go as it is to maintain a posture. While some of the postures can be quite demanding, they are paradoxically held in an environment which is about softening.
So when your mind asks for a little extra, something more from a muscle or tendon or joint, your instruction from the mind goes to the body, and the body responds.
One student I know said she never goes to the gym any more, she is far more toned, strong and supple in her body because of practicing Kaiut yoga. What we don’t realise is that we have lost a lot of body strength simply because we don’t have the awareness of those muscles or joints in our minds any more.
Kaiut is meticulously designed as a holistic body/mind yoga practice. Over time, every muscle gets a demand, a request to work from the mind, every time a joint is explored and requested to move from many angles from the mind, the neural brain map of the body is firing up. And this is all done in a wonderful way that uses time and gravity to aid you.
As modern neuroscience now tells us, the mind has as much to do with building strength as the body.
It therefore doesn’t matter if you feel strong because you can develop strength in your mind. This is why yoga is for everyone.
I hope that shows you why I believe Kaiut Yoga is for everyone. And to be clear - I’m sharing this with my understanding from the Kaiut Yoga perspective. (I would agree that other types of yoga are not for everyone. I would caution people against certain practices based on what I have seen as quite damaging approaches to the body.)
If you would like to try a Kaiut Class, everyone is welcome.
And if you have a specific injury or limitation, we can use bolsters or chairs to work with it. And any of your excuses in your mind about not being young enough, flexible enough or strong and fit enough are simply not a problem when you get onto your mat in a Kaiut Class. Welcome.