Invitation Versus Obligation: Yoga Commitments Redefined

Yoga is “Always an invitation. Never an obligation.” - Douglas Brooks

This sentiment is close to my heart, as I witness people close to me struggle with making wellness commitments like attending weekly yoga classes, or having a daily seated meditation practice. Often times people start out strong in their routine with the best intentions, and then something gets in the way of regular attendance (illness, injury, rough weather, or even entertaining house guests), and after missing a handful of scheduled sessions, getting back to the practice can feel like a chore. There may even be some guilt about missing out, and this only makes it harder to get back.

Unlike many other things in life that may land on our To Do Lists, yoga is not something we are obligated to do. Yoga is a practice that we are fortunate to have as a way to feel a deeper connection between our mind, the body, spirit and each-other! Reframing our inner dialogue towards yoga as something valuable that is always there for us (not a guilty burden, but a true, unconditional friend), and celebrating whatever small steps we take towards connection and self care, will help us stay inspired.

For the students that are waiting for the right set of circumstances to start yoga classes at a public yoga studio, I suggest that you start where you feel most comfortable and then build from there. If finances are a concern, Yoga Union offers free weekly Yoga For Beginners classes, as well as other $5 weekday classes. If you are unable to get up and down from a yoga mat, I guide Chair Yoga classes at Yoga Union. There is no need to get on the floor, so it is really accessible and safe for students working through injuries, in wheelchairs/scooters, and there is also the option to stand up and hold the back of the chair if you want to get stronger with simple standing poses. If you are either feeling shy, you live far away from the Portland area, or you just want an introduction to what gentle yoga at Yoga Union is like, please watch the videos on my website to see for yourself how inviting the practice can be. Entirely seated or standing, (it’s always your choice), I invite you to join us anytime that feels right for you!

-Kate Baldwin

yogaChad Baldwinyoga, wellness