I’ve dabbled around the edges of yoga on and off (although way more off than on) with no lasting success for the last forty years – since my mid-teens. Being an introvert, group classes are not for me so I’ve tried to teach myself (with the help of whatever current medium comes to hand) as much as I can.
I still have a couple of illustrated how-to books from the late 70s and early 80s where the step-by-step photographs demonstrating the breakdown of do-or-die correct positioning show everyone as skinny and lithe and proudly holding the perfect pose like a bunch of double-jointed circus acrobats. I would always try my best to copy them, inevitably fail dismally and after a while would give up, disappointed, disheartened, and dissatisfied.
I also have a much later book describing yoga practice for women as a changing constant throughout our whole lifespan with a much softer, more inclusive approach, showing real-life practitioners in the full poses but also providing far simpler alternatives for those who may be struggling to reach what always seemed to me to be the desired end goal. I certainly did a bit better with that book, but still my initial enthusiasm waned all too quickly, and my interest disintegrated once more.
And now of course there’s You Tube with a never-ending supply of yoga videos to actively explain the putting together of poses and accommodating every kind of nuanced preference for practice. Again more recently I have tried several times to really get into it, dipping in and out of different teaching formats and more relaxed attitudes to instruction but always it feels like something important eludes me, and I’ve never been able to work out what it is that consistently holds me back.
Somewhere deep down inside I know I must want to do yoga, because this start-stop half-hearted pattern of paddling on the periphery has continued on and off throughout my life. And here I am today, a few weeks short of my 55th birthday, feeling fat, flabby and unfit – and thoroughly fed up with myself. I feel like it may be time to try yoga again, but this time look at the psychological factors lurking behind my inability to achieve what is obviously a long-held life goal… 🙂