Are You Flexible Enough To Practice Yoga?
What If I’m Not Flexible Enough?
“I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” You’ve heard that one before. You might have even said it yourself. Well, I’m here to tell you that your inflexibility actually makes it easier to feel the stretch – which is what we are going for in yoga class!
Feel The Stretch
Think about this for a moment: You’re in class on your mat next to a ballerina. The teacher tells the class to sit down on your mat with legs straight and reach for your toes. You can barely bend forward because your hamstrings are so tight. But you feel that stretch, don’t you? You sure do!
That flexible neighbor of yours, however, may not feel a stretch so she’s not gaining as much benefit as you are in that pose. It’s definitely going to take her more pulling and prodding to get to the same stretch you are feeling. So the fact that you’re not very flexible means you’re feeling the stretch much more quickly than little miss Gumby next to you. Well done!
The Goal Is Not The Pose
It’s important to understand that in yoga, unlike many other athletic endeavors, the goal is not to do the pose “perfectly,” it’s about feeling the stretch and taking deep breaths so that your body and mind feel balanced and rejuvenated after class.
Flexibility has absolutely nothing to do with your self-worth.
Just because you are flexible, does not make you “better” at doing yoga. Everyone has their own starting point regarding flexibility and you move forward in your practice from there. So try not to compare yourself to the ballerina next to you. She’s on her own path. See the time on your yoga mat as an opportunity to turn within and breathe.
The Controversy Of Stretching
Believe it or not, stretching is a topic that has received some controversy in recent years in the fitness industry. Recent studies have shown mixed results about whether stretching before and after your workout decreases muscle soreness.
However, there are other benefits to stretching and flexibility that go way beyond reducing muscle soreness—it turns out your yoga instructor may be on to something when they encourage you to reach a little farther or stretch a little deeper.