What if I'm not into the spiritual side of Yoga?

When I was young - and I say that from my current 'advanced' age of 40 - I LOVED going to yoga classes where the instructor told us stories from the Bhagavad Gita or other bits of Hindu Mythlology. 

I loved the gods and goddesses and their exploits and the morals to the tales.

But as I grew older and did more yoga, I found I didn't want to hear stories in yoga class anymore. 

I just wanted to do my yoga.

Yes, storytelling is a very effective teaching tool.

But breathing and moving are yoga's secret weapons. You don't need to participate in any other part of what yoga offers unless you want to.

I'll let you in on a little secret too: the spiritual stuff that gets taught in a lot of yoga classes is not terribly accurate to the tradition it came from anyway.

This isn't a train smash, because if something is a source of comfort its provenance doesn't really matter. But it's good to know anyway, especially if you are not into the spiritual side of yoga and wonder whether that's a roadblock.

The breath-linked movement of yoga practice is a moving meditation.  

Most of us have so so much going on in our lives, that it's nice to just rest our brains a bit, and the main benefits most of us get from yoga are from the simple movements and the breathing. 

Sometimes, if your yoga teacher starts telling you a story in class, it causes you to start think about life when ironically just breathing and moving might give you that much needed mental stillness.

I'm guilty of doing that to my students sometimes, I confess. 

But then I remind myself: most of us just need to breathe and move.

That's enough. If you want to participate more in the spiritual side, great. If you don't also great.

Yoga is a practice that can be as individual as you, and it should be a tool to help in life, not a source of discomfort or anxiety!