As a yoga teacher, people often say to me, “I would love to do yoga, but I’m just not flexible. I can’t even touch my toes.” I typically tell them that we all have flexibility, but as with many things, if we don’t cultivate it we lose it. The good news is that practiced regularly, yoga cultivates flexibility.
Yoga is a practice that’s about much more than flexibility, however. For example, in every yoga class you practice breathing. All of us breathe regardless of flexibility. With its emphasis on self awareness, self compassion and self acceptance, yoga is accessible to everyone. Even if you feel you’re not flexible.
For those less familiar with yoga, this may not make much sense, especially if you’re accustomed to seeing photographs of yogis in all sorts of unorthodox postures that require extreme flexibility. The truth is it’s rare to wander into a yoga class and actually see someone in one of those postures. When you arrive in a yoga class, especially the classes at Full Spectrum Wellness, you’ll see a lot of people who look and move a lot like you do. Some have tight muscles and less flexibility than others. Some bend their knees to touch their toes (which I often encourage, since it protects the lower back).
What I admire about yoga students is that they show up despite their apprehension about their body’s capabilities. They know there are many simple yoga postures and ways to modify them to suit their physical needs. They recognize that their yoga practice isn’t contingent on their flexibility and discover with each yoga class that their flexibility increases gradually. They relish the private victory of just showing up. Yoga honors showing up; increased flexibility is simply a fringe benefit.
If your perceived lack of flexibility is stopping you from practicing yoga, I invite you to join us for a yoga class at Full Spectrum Wellness. You’ll soon realize that you can practice yoga regardless of your level of flexibility.