I don’t practice Yoga, I am not flexible enough…January 2017
Every time before I start teaching yoga, I ask new participants about their yoga journeys, do they practice, for how long, what style of yoga they do, in order to have an idea of the mixture of yogis I have in the class.
There is always someone who would say: Ohh well, I don’t really do yoga, I am not flexible enough, but happy to give it a go. And of course in most cases you get these answers from men (no offence guys), sometimes from people who have not done yoga before, perhaps people who’ve suffered injuries and the list can go on.
Yoga is not about being flexible, it is about being present during the practice, being there on the mat with your whole body, mind and spirit, surrendering to the here and now.
The yoga we see or practice nowadays, is mainly about who can be the best on the mat, who has the best bridge pose, or birds of paradise. People tend to push themselves to the extreme, even though their bodies have given countless signs that this is it, I am breaking now, what are you doing to me, this was supposed to be relaxing. Not to mention that most classes you’d find in busy cities, would leave no room for the most important part and one of the hardest poses to practice, Shavasana, the corpse pose. Living a busy stressful life, we are all in a continuos race against time and laying down for 10-20 minutes, seems so meaningless. However we’ll talk about the importance of Shavasana in another post, where you will understand the countless benefits of it and why doing nothing can be so challenging for the mind.
During my teaching experience, I have met a lot of people who wanted to try yoga for one reason or the other, however they always felt intimidated by not having the flexibility, not feeling confident about their bodies, lack of strength, not knowing which type of class to attend. Most of them were convinced they will never be able to grab their big toes with the index and middle finger, keeping a straight spine, relaxed shoulders and open chest, so what is the point of making a full of themselves.
Let me tell you, most of us couldn’t do that when we started out. Rome wasn’t built in a day as we know, it is the same with flexibility, it takes time, it requires a lot of practice, determination, concentration. And even then, you might not be able to achieve certain postures. It doesn’t mean you are not good enough or there is something wrong with your body.
It means we are all different, we all have different abilities. We all have been blessed with different bodies, there are things that one can achieve easily, and someone else can only see the same progress in years or maybe never, but do not let that stop you from practicing yoga or from achieving anything else in life.
You can push yourself and without realising you can hurt your body, which will prevent you from practicing. Some people create life long injuries because they don’t want to look silly next to someone doing a headstand or a split. From a young age we learnt to be competitive, to push ourselves to be the greatest. We feel good only if we are better or at least on the same level as the person next to us, otherwise we feel we are not good enough. Yoga teaches us to accept everything as it is, drop labelling things, judging and you will experience how you can grow in your practice by just letting go.
Listen to your body when you are on the mat, do not focus on the people around you, do not care what they think of your downward facing dog. It is your practice, yours only, you are not doing it for anyone else. Be total in it and the results you will feel afterwards will be transformational, both physically and emotionally. Allow yourself to let go of any mental noise during your practice, the mind is like a monkey, however the more we don’t engage in our thoughts, the more you will start to experience inner silence, inner bliss.
A yoga pose should be stable and comfortable always, the moment you feel differently you must ease back from the position to avoid injuries. Be present with all senses when you practice, be in the here and now, every pose should feel like meditation, offering a state of equilibrium to our mind.
Yoga is a journey from you to you, the union of mind, body and soul. Be patient with yourself, love yourself and accept yourself the way you are, You Are Enough!
Start practicing today with an experienced teacher and you will be grateful for the moment you’ve decided to take this journey.
See you on the mat 🙂