Today I was watching the Olympics and caught an interview with gold-medalist Evan Lysacek, who is unusually tall for a skater. He was saying that when he was a younger skater, he always wanted to look like the shorter athletes, like his mentor and colleague Scott Hamilton . Initially, he wasn’t comfortable being the tallest person in the rink. But something happened to change his mind…an epiphany of sorts, and he began to really own his body. Watching him skate today, I could see the pleasure he takes in performing his routine, and the simple joy of being in his physical body.
I had a similar experience when I started taking Yoga classes. I was a little rounder than others in class. And now that I’m over 60, I’m a little rounder still, and even a little lumpy! I don’t fit the traditional “look” of 21st century yoga instructors. But I get out there anyway, to be of service– to show my own unique approach to an ancient art, and encourage others who may feel they are too fat, too stiff, too tall, too old to try Yoga.
There are as many ways to adapt Yoga as there are stars in the sky. Even our own bodies change from day to day, and year to year, so that the Yoga we did at age 20 is not the Yoga we practice at age 60. The beauty of practicing Yoga is that it’s a living, evolving art. When we love the body we’re in today, and not insist that it needs to be a certain size to do Yoga, we can experience Yoga’s transformative powers.