According to Daniel DiTuro, author of Hatha Yoga Asanas, the ability to modify postures to meet individual abilities is what sets yoga apart from other physical activities.
“Being flexible enough to plant your forehead on your shins, sit in lotus, or wrap your legs behind your head is not indicative of good yoga practice,” DiTuro explains. “Instead, a sense of calm, contentment and focus in each pose is the true foundation of yoga practice.”
According to DiTuro, to fully experience the benefits of yoga, practitioners must listen to their bodies and breathe, regardless of their level of ability. “As with any physical activity, improvement comes with practice,” DiTuro says. “Range of motion, mental alertness, strength, stamina and focus will all improve with regular and dedicated practice.”
He stresses that yoga is a practice and not a science or a strict regimen. “There is no finish line or complete product,” DiTuro explains. “It is simply the daily practice of awakening to each moment and discovering what comes up.”
DiTuro believes hatha yoga helps to unify people regardless of shapes and constitutions. “Humans share the link of humanity and collective yearning to discover the truth within themselves,” DiTuro says. “That truth can be uncovered through the practice of hatha yoga because how you relate to your inner self can be revealed through outer expression.”