The short answer is yes, absolutely.
When you see beautiful pictures of yogis in the most unimaginable poses, it's easy to assume that yoga is all about flexibility. It is not. Increased flexibility is just one of the benefits of yoga, but certainly not something you must have before you come to your first class.
Come as you are
Every yoga pose has various modifications, including easy versions that anyone can do. You can start with what works best for your body and progress to the more difficult levels when you are ready. No one will expect you to tie yourself into a pretzel in your first session, or ever. Yoga is about you listening to your body and doing what's right for you in each moment.
There'll probably be people in your class that seem to be doing a lot better than you; and it doesn't matter. There really isn't 'better' or 'worse' in yoga. An easy modification performed with mindfulness and care is more effective than forcing yourself into a more advanced pose that your body will reject.
Feel better in your body
The chances are, the yogi in the pictures couldn't do these poses when they stepped onto the mat for the first time. Just like you, they started with simple modifications and made progress over time.
With regular practice, you, too, will notice that your flexibility increases. You'll also develop strength, core stability, better posture, coordination and balance. Through yoga, you may find relief from a number of chronic conditions. Yoga has been found to improve cardiovascular health, ease back pain and alleviate PMS.
Physical benefits are just the beginning
In its essence, yoga is about connecting with your breath and your body. If you're breathing and focusing on your breath, you're already practicing yoga. However, this simple practice can be surprisingly difficult—your mind is likely to start wandering in just a few seconds. Yoga poses are there to give you an additional point of focus. Going through a yoga flow in sync with your breath while thinking about dinner or your to-do lists is close to impossible. Your need to pay attention to what you're doing. You need to be present. Everything else, if it matters, will still be there for you when you've completed your practice. That's how through yoga you start to cultivate mindfulness, which you can then bring into your day-to-day life.
Why is mindfulness important? It's a wonderful tool to help us cope with our hurried modern way of life, recognise what is truly important and bounce back from disappointments. Research shows practicing yoga just once a week can measurably reduce anxiety and stress in as little as 10 weeks. Yoga has also been found to improve sleep quality and enhance overall wellbeing.
Ready to try yoga for yourself and experience all these wonderful benefits? Choose a class that best suits your interest and your schedule today.