Do you really need to be flexible for yoga?
How many times I’ve heard statements like these from friends:
“I can’t do yoga. I can’t even reach my toes!”
“I’d like to try out yoga one day. But first I need to become stronger and more flexible. Give me some more time at the gym”.
But really, people are just scared of the Unknown. Of something they don’t understand. Or simply they don’t want to look bad, ugly, stupid or all sorts of other silly adjectives.
Have you ever asked yourself this question: “what do I associate with the word yoga?”
You’ll see that the first image coming to your head is the next blond model in full standing split with a beautiful sunset behind her. Or another pretty girl standing on her head on the beach. What’s the deal with beach yoga by the way??
Most of us wish to be like that, but really, yoga is something totally different.
Yoga is about the breath and how that relates to your body and movements. It’s about how you feel before, during and after your practice. So, if you can only bend forward and reach your knees, but you can still focus on your breathing, that’s probably better yoga than a headstand performed just to get more followers.
Size does not matter
I once read an article saying that yoga is “For Every Body”. And I completely agree with that. I’m not super skinny (actually, not skinny at all!), I am quite busty and have a back condition that used to prevent me from doing certain movements, let alone deep back bends. Yet, I’ve been practicing happily for years, and every day I feel better than before. Plus, I have learnt to do backbends correctly, without any pain whatsoever, which is such a relief!
So trust me: if I can do it, you can too!
Age or gender do not matter
Ask your dad, or grandma, to stand on their feet, close their eyes, and take 5 deep breaths in and out with the nose: they are practicing yoga already.
Ask them to sit on a chair, and gently pull the head towards the right shoulder for a few breaths.
Then do the same with the left side, slowly.
Again, by breathing and stretching they are practicing yoga.
What matters is mindfulness
Do not ask them to try and stand on their hands though, they will likely fall and get badly injured if they are not trained properly.
But this is also yoga: understanding our limits and being mindful with our bodies, accepting them for what they are.
I often hear personal trainers telling us to push ourselves beyond our limits, and push those weights up, once more, and again. That might be useful for building muscle mass, but it’s definitely not yoga.
Be persistent, and consistent, and results will come. Maybe you’ll never do a full split – as a yoga teacher, I still can’t – but maybe you’ll discover places in your body you never thought you’d have.
You CAN become more flexible
So, if you want to give it a try, and see if you might like it, I suggest you find a yoga studio near your home, or connect with a teacher who can personally follow you. There are thousands of new yoga teachers every year almost everywhere in the world, so just ask your friend Google and you will find one near you. Before your first class, approach them, discuss your issues, your fears, your goals: a good teacher is used to these questions and will gladly advise you on your new path.
Alternatively, you can read my post 10 simple tips to start practicing yoga for some advice on how to get started.
And if you’re in Dubai, of course, I’d be happy to assist you! Just contact me here.
So, how “non-flexible” are you? Share your experience with the community of “not yet flexible yogis” and leave a comment below!