One of the most common fitness class misconceptions that I encounter is the notion that you have to be at a certain level of fitness or have some sort of expert knowledge or experience to join the class. This is so false! Fitness classes are designed to help you get fit, or maintain your level of physical fitness. There is no requirement that you need to possess a certain amount of skill to join a class, or that you have to ‘be good enough’ to take the class.
Sensei Dan used to talk about what the kids in his dojo learned: not just high kicks, and blocks, and so on, but also self control, the ability to stand up to bullies, and self respect. With any physical discipline there are physical end points, but also benefits of understanding, character, and behaviour. The practice I know best is yoga. Not simply a physical practice, it is unsurprising how much one gets from a long term yoga practice. Lately I have seen a lot of articles on 'the benefits of yoga'.
I tell people all the time that fitness is not a destination....it's a way of life....it's all about the journey....blah...blah...blah! Well, just so you know that ALL of us are in this together, I have a short (and hopefully, "enlightening") story to share:
In the Summer, I spend more time outside. Colorado is sunny and beautiful all year. I like to bike to the pool and take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, which is just a few blocks from my house. I can't resist the diving board or the slide! My legs, arms and core get a super duper workout. Yoga in the park is one of my favorite things to do. It's a free event 2 times a month with about 700 plus people. The instructors are great and I get to do a different yoga style each time. Its an exhilarating experience. The DJ's and music get me energized!
I often write in response to something that comes out in one of my classes.... a question from someone, or an thought I have as I respond to how I see someone moving, or an emotional or physical response in a student. In this case I am responding to an article a couple of people forwarded me. It is something I have been thinking about for quite a while, and something which has shifted both situationally and purposely certain aspects of my teaching, that is, the commercialization of the practice.
There is always a pull in yoga between adapting practices to the needs of the individual within our current world, and honoring and understanding its often complex traditional principles and practices. I think I've made the point before that I think it is like a chef cooking a traditional dish from a culture, with the original ingredients and methods, and another chef creating a dish that represents a fusion of cultures, or a modern take within a culture of a dish that has been around in different forms for a very long time.
There are always a lot of posts on social media that list the benefits of yoga. As always some research is well designed, and some less so, but there is so much research being done these days on yoga and related topics that one can see pretty clear evidence of a number of benefits of the practice. In some cases we can also see the factors within the practice that lead to those benefits.