Can I Practice Yoga If...

I hope you're having a nice today. It's Friday, we're having beautiful (rainy) weather in central Texas. It's almost the weekend, time to rest, have some fun, and recharge our batteries. Yay! But I wanted to take a minute to talk to you about something that's been on my mind. So many people *think* they can't practice yoga. Are you one of these people? Or do you know one of these people?

I get emails, Facebook notes, Instagram notes, and questions from people I meet who are interested in yoga but they're not sure whether they can practice yoga. They ask "Can I practice yoga if..."

If I'm overweight/full-figured/plus-size If I'm out of shape If I'm not flexible If I'm pregnant If I have scoliosis If I'm old If I'm a man If I have a bad knee/elbow/shoulder/back/ankle/wrist/hip/pinky toe If I have osteoporosis/osteopenia If I have high blood pressure If I've had a knee replacement/hip replacement/spinal fusion If I've had heart bypass surgery If I've had brain surgery If I have fibromyalgia/lupus/rheumatoid arthritis/other pain condition If I have IBS/Crohn's/colitis/other digestive disorder If I've had a stroke If I have MS If I'm in treatment for cancer

And the answer is always YES!!!

EveryBody can practice yoga. EveryBody can benefit from yoga.

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The trick is, you need to find the right teacher and the right class. And that could possibly be a little bit challenging.

At The Yoga Room, we do offer physically challenging classes, like our CorePower, Vinyasa Flow, and Hatha II classes, for fit and able-bodied people.

But what sets us apart from other studios is that we specialize in gentle, accessible, therapeutic yoga classes for EveryBody else who is not perfectly fit and able-bodied.

We have Restorative, Gentle, and Hatha I classes, and we even have specialized classes for people who are recovering from a neurological issue or who are in treatment for, or recovering from, cancer.

So how do you go about finding the right class for you? You just need to ask. If you live in or around Round Rock and you'd like to come to The Yoga Room, just give us a call (512-318-2112) or send us an email. Tell us a little about yourself and we'll be happy to make some recommendations for you.

If you live away from the Round Rock area, just Google yoga studios in your area. If you live in a smaller city or town, just search for "Yoga (Your City Name)." If you live in a big city, you might have success with a more specific search (for example: "Gentle Yoga Los Angeles" or "Plus Size Yoga Seattle").

Call studios, tell them about yourself, and ask them if they offer yoga that is appropriate for you. If they don't, don't be discouraged. Ask them if they know anyone who specializes in what you're searching for. Call another place, and keep calling another place, until you find something that sounds like it might be a good fit for you.

When you do find a place that sounds like a good fit, ask them, "What is your process for new students?" (for reference, here's our FAQ for new students). Then go and try them out. Seriously, you must go. If you're nervous, take a few big inhales and long exhales. Give yourself a pep talk, and just go. Bring a friend if necessary.

If you go and you like the place, great! If you go and don't like the place, it's totally ok. Maybe you can try a class with another teacher at the same studio. Or maybe try a different studio. Keep trying until you find a place that feels right.

And if you don't find a place that feels right, consider moving to Round Rock because we'd be more than happy to work with you!

Yoga is an amazing, transformative practice. And it really is for EveryBody. If you need help finding the right class, please reach out. Ask your friends. Ask at the natural grocery store, the vitamin store, or the library. And if you still can't find what you're looking for, shoot me an email and I'll try to help.

Have a great weekend!

Zelinda 2013XO, Zelinda



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Yoga for Cancer: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery

Last week I was at the MD Anderson Cancer Center for the 8th Annual Oncology Training for Acupuncturists, Massage Therapists, and Yoga Teachers. What a great event!

I was shocked when the Director of Integrative Medicine delivered the Welcome and Introduction and told us that we all need to be "more connected to ourselves, each other, and the universe." Who would expect to hear this yogic concept in a world-class cancer treatment center?

Our first day of training was Cancer 101, where we learned about what cancer is and how it is staged. We learned about how different types of cancer affect different parts of the body. We learned about treatment methods and their challenging side effects.

The second and third days we were broken into groups by our areas of specialization. The yoga teachers and yoga therapists learned about the studies being conducted at MD Anderson and around the world to prove the benefits of yoga and meditation in different aspects and phases of cancer treatment.

We learned that while yoga and meditation cannot cure cancer, it can help cancer patients manage some of the side effects of their treatments and it can also provide a sense of peace and calm that is very beneficial to healing.

Another important thing we learned is the role healthy living plays in preventing cancer and other diseases. We hear this message all the time, but somehow hearing it from medical professionals in this environment really reinforced it for me. I know I need to make a better effort to eat well, sleep well, and schedule some downtime into my days, and I'm going to bring this message to my teaching to remind you to do the same.

Life is so precious. We're on earth for a relatively short period of time. It's important to take care of ourselves and each other so that we give ourselves the best chance for long, healthy lives.

This is just a brief overview of my learnings at MD Anderson. I'm happy to discuss in more detail if you're interested. Please feel free to drop me a note if you'd like to know more, or post a note in the Comments below if you'd like to share your thoughts with our community.