People Who Don’t Think They Need Yoga
Okay, I already know what you are thinking. This is another trendy yoga fad that insults the very nature and essence of traditional yoga. Was I right? We’ve seen many of these trends; most recently Pot Yoga, Naked Yoga, Laughter Yoga, Yoga Butt, Yoga Lates, and my true all time favorite, Aerial Yoga where one does yoga poses hanging from straps suspended from the ceiling.
What are we Westerner’s thinking? Is it really necessary to take a five thousand year old practice and modernize it to fit certain personality types and preferences? Yes and NO. Yes, if it is still yoga and contains the vital branches as established by Pantajali, over 4,000 years ago, and yes if it will introduce people to a yoga practice who otherwise would have never tried it.
However, the answer is no if it becomes just a trendy way to train the body, show off, compete, or even practicing Pot Yoga just to get high. So what on earth is Yoga for Sharks? Let me explain.
My description of a shark is a person who has some of the behavioral characteristics as one of the most feared creatures on the planet—the shark. They have survived on this planet for over 40 million years. I describe this person in more detail in my book, Shark Sense; Getting in Touch With Your Inner Shark.
The people I call sharks are: driven; know what they want; always move forward; are leaders; competent but always looking for more; and are usually stressed out to the max. They also don’t know the meaning of the word, “can’t.” They are not dishonest, cutthroat or uncaring as we usually describe people who are considered sharks.
Why would people as described above be interested in Yoga? The simple answer is because it can save their lives. A while back I was competing on the pro volleyball tour, coaching a junior college volleyball team, had two young children, and the busiest schedule you could imagine. I loved the pace and every aspect of my busy life that included competing, coaching, and being the best mom and wife I could be. I also was teaching over 300 students a semester. Then, my health started to suffer, both physically and mentally. I went to see my doctor, and after hearing about my symptoms, he suggested that I go on Prozac and divorce my husband.
Seriously? He was my gynecologist! I did not take his suggestions, but decided I needed to do something different. I knew that I couldn’t keep up my pace without some intervention…..that was when I discovered yoga…..And yes, I think it saved my life.
I always thought that yoga was just for the super flexible people who were floating on a cloud…. Not someone like me who on the volleyball court or on the sidelines coaching would compete while pushing others and myself with everything I had. I wanted to win! I wanted to push the limits! I wanted to be the best! How could I possibly sit still for any length of time? Trust me. It took time.
If you’re like I was and don’t think you need yoga, think again. There are several styles that are beneficial so don’t make the mistake of trying one class and making a rash judgment. I was lucky that my first yoga class got my attention, worked my body, and taught me that life was not all about competing. It was about self-discovery and probably the first time that I had the opportunity to see the person I was outside of my coaching, competing, teaching and family responsibilities. I also realized that I had to share this amazing gift, and have been teaching yoga now for 15 years.