I’m Not Flexible Enough for Yoga

Ahhhhh!!!!  There is no comment worse than this.  Well, I mean there are but – you understand.

Yoga isn’t just about flexibility.  It’s about balance and strength. It’s about your mental as well as physical health.  And you can be fully flexible in one pose and not in the next and its’s all good.  The reality is flexibility alone can actually be a bad thing – believe me.  I have spent years getting into poses in the wrong way because I was flexible enough to do it.  It wasn’t until I developed more strength that I realised that I was actually jeapordising my health.  To practice yoga, we must cultivate every aspect of the practice. It may be true that some maybe stronger, others maybe more flexible by nature – but the ultimate goal is to be well rounded.
You don’t have to be a yogini to practice yoga.  All poses have a modified version and the benefits are just as amazing as the full pose. In every class – and I mean EVERY CLASS – the teachers always tell us that the alignment is important, not the depth.  Last week there was a woman next to me who was bent in half during half-moon pose.  But her alignment was so far off, there is no way she was experiencing any of the benefits.  But there she was – super pleased with herself.

There is a yoga style for you. Be open about practice and you will never know until you try.  No one is going to force you in to the full expression of a pose during your first class.  I have been practicing steadily for years and only recently tapped my head to my knee for Standing Head to Knee pose.
I am naturally flexible.  Yoga has given me strength and confidence.  Maybe you are already strong and need to work on your flexibility.  Maybe your life is super stressed and you could use the meditation time.  It’s just you and your mat.  Don’t worry about the person next to you, don’t worry about yesterday’s class or what you have planned for tomorrow.  Just because the person next to you is in the deepest expression of a pose and you are still trying to understand the instructions (Japanese ham sandwich!?) doesn’t mean a damn thing.
Respect your body and listen to its needs. Patience is a virtue and as with all things, it will come in time.

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