The following is an excerpt from an article I guest wrote for a friend and colleague's blog on Castanet.net:
Today I feature one of the many inspirational fitness leaders with whom has played a huge role in many people's journey of finding fitness, health and balance, including mine! Meet Laura Martini of Martini Yoga. I have asked Laura what she feels everyone should know and understand about yoga!
Saying that I'm too tight/stiff to go to yoga is like saying that you are too hungry to eat.
As a yoga teacher, I understand that you are embarrassed by your tight hamstrings and don't think you'll be "good" at yoga; I've heard it all. But it is the people like you who need yoga the most. If you feel as though your muscles are tight, chances are they will continue to get tighter unless you take the time to stretch them. It is as simple as that! A consistent yoga practice will not only stretch your muscles, it will help you build strength, it will increase your coordination and balance, and it will help to calm your mind.
Yoga is the practice of compassion. Please understand that yoga was not designed to be a "workout", it is a system of self-love.
In a world where we are constantly being told that we are never enough, yoga teaches us to be gentle with our bodies and minds. Through yoga we learn to recognize that we already have everything we need. The physical practice of yoga gives us the opportunity to go deeper into our bodies and really take the time to understand where we should be placing our attention. The ancient system of yoga recognized that when we take the time to love ourselves, only then will our love be able to translate to others.
Yoga is accepting of all.
It doesn't matter if you are Christian or Buddhist, small or large, bendy like Gumby or stiff as a board, yoga can work for you. Yoga teachers are surprisingly skilled at modifying classes to ensure they work for everyone in the room. That being said, please ensure you read the class description before entering the class. You will never be judged in a yoga class so know that so long as you are mindful in how you feel in each posture, you can get a lot out of any yoga practice, no matter the teacher or style.