Some people can’t sit comfortably crosslegged on the floor; others struggle to touch their toes. If your muscles are tight and your joints are rigid, then the idea of stretching into yoga postures may not appeal to you. Whether you think there’s no point, don’t want to feel embarrassed, or simply think you won’t be able to do it, remember that you don’t have to be flexible for yoga!
It’s understandable why the idea of yoga being a form of exercise for the highly flexible is solid in the mind of so many. After all, surely yoga is about being an exercise contortionist, only suitable for those who can bend their bodies into the shape of a pretzel, right? Actually, no. There are a few reasons that should convince you to be a little more flexible with your ideas.
What yoga is about
1. Promoting flexibility – The very fact that you’re not flexible is reason enough to practice yoga. You don’t not eat healthy food because you’re unhealthy, you eat healthy food to promote health, whatever your current state. The same goes for yoga and flexibility.
2. Promoting strength whereby flexibility follows – Yoga poses promote strength and this radiates from your core. As your body becomes stronger you will naturally become more flexible; this is a natural process that evolves.
3. Benefits to you not testing you – Yoga is not a test and doesn’t have a minimum flexibility entry. You can really feel the benefits without having to prove yourself first. Focus on the other benefits, such as clarity of thought, body conditioning and relaxation that yoga practice promotes.
4. Connection – While flexibility is a great benefit it is not the be-all-and-end-all of yoga practice or any training which involves aspects of yoga. Instead, you could see flexibility as a secondary by-product. Yoga has always been an holistic exercise that is about mind and body connection and development of you as a whole, not just one aspect.
5. Your potential not an absolute end point – It’s true that some people seem to be able to bend their limbs more than others, and this can be down to lifestyle, exercise history, as well as genetics. The ultimate ‘aim’ of yoga is not to tick off achievements but to progress and realize your full potential. You will naturally become more flexible as you advance but to focus on this is missing the point.
6. Posture not about comparing and competition – Through regular yoga practice you can learn about the importance and benefit of proper form. It is far better to move your body into the correct pose than pit yourself against imaginary competitors where comparisons leave you feeling less than adequate. Flexibility comes from proper form.
7. Breaking through limitations – Lacking flexibility can be a sign that you’ve let habits and your lifestyle create restrictions, as well as your emotions manifesting in physical symptoms. Yoga practice encourages you to loosen up and take a fresh approach, not only to increase flexibility but to free up your mind and inspire a sense of freedom.
If you are worried about your flexibility or would like to improve it, why not join one of our sessions. Contact us today for more information.