When the topic of what I do for a living comes up the first reaction I usually get is, "Oh I can't do yoga, I'm not flexible". My knee jerk reaction is to nerd out on why you don't have to be flexible and that's not what yoga is really all about. But I don't always have the opportunity to share exactly why flexibility isn't the main focus of yoga. Yay for blogs! Right?!?! If you are one of the many I have briefly talked to about yoga or you have said this to yourself, I invite you to read on my friends, because GREAT NEWS, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE FLEXIBLE TO DO YOGA!
I know, I know! You just gave me a giant eye roll 🙄 Hear me out! I have so much to share about this topic. There’s so many different lenses to look at this from. I’ll try to keep it brief.
I am sure you've scrolled social and have seen amazing feats of flexibility. Some bendy, beautiful human folded like a pretzel, making it look SO easy. But let’s face reality here. NOT EVERYONE LOOKS LIKE THAT! And that’s OK! We are all unique individuals with unique bodies. What’s accessible to one may not be for another. Flexibility and strength fall on the lines of polarity in my book. Going too far in one direction can hinder daily activity, cause pain and even cause injury. Whether you need more flexibility, strength or both yoga can aid in your search. What is important, is paying attention to where you body needs to build strength and where you should work on flexibility. Also, not being flexible is a wonderful reason to explore yoga!
Sometimes when I hear the familiar, "I'm not flexible," I think to myself... maybe it's some mental flexibility that is needed here. As human beings we can really get stuck in these ruts. That voice in the back of your mind that makes all the excuses as to why you can't do something. Enter, one of the huge reasons to explore yoga, in my humble opinion... To become more flexible in the mind. You see, the practice of yoga is so much more than the physical asana you come to practice on your mat. Asana is one of the EIGHT limbs of yoga. It is mentioned only a 3 times in the 196 Yoga Sutras! 3 out of 196!!!
In my own experience, and may of those I personally know, asana was the introduction. The idea that this style of movement will shape the body into what you see in IG posts and Yoga Journal articles. But, that is not what seems to keep bringing us back. This physical practice seems to open up to So. Much. More.
You may know it as that "Yoga Bliss" or "Yoga Glow" after class. That peace and calm that covers your soul as you venture into the rest of your day. That is the magic. That is what drives so many of us to jump down the rabbit hole and explore ALL that is yoga. It is the Yogic Philosophy and principles that guide me to my mat and to my meditation practice. This is what guides the way I treat myself and others. It enhances faith and connection to that which is beyond us, regardless of the religion. It is what connects us to one another and reminds us that we are one.
I invite you to ask yourself if maybe you're a little more inflexible in the mind than body. Can you let go of what you my have already decided? Can you change your mind? Sometimes the hardest part is getting on the mat. But it is when we do hard thing that we grow the most.
Even if it isn't on the yoga mat, where do you plan to be more flexible in the mind? Feel free to share below or message me directly. I am here to support you on your journey as we all learn and grow together.