Have you ever heard someone say this? Maybe you’ve even said it yourself! As a Yoga teacher every time I hear someone say this it makes me smile and want to tell them they’re missing the whole point of practising Yoga!
One of the many benefits of practising Yoga is that we become more mobile and flexible… we don’t need to be flexible in the first place! Yoga is for everyone, no matter what your age, gender, size, shape, mobility or flexibility. And these days there are classes suitable for everyone.
Unfortunately, the photos we see in the media of beautiful, slim people in seemingly-impossible Yoga poses make us think that if we can’t touch our toes or put our leg behind our head then we couldn’t possibly go to a Yoga class!
We tend to think that Yoga is just a way of exercising our body… but Yoga is so much more than that... it’s about our whole being…our body, mind and spirit and finding a sense of ease and peace within ourselves.
“Yoga is not about touching your toes. It is about what you learn on the way down” Jigar Gor
Having said that, for many of us the physical practice of Yoga Asana (poses) is our first experience of Yoga and this can start us on a journey of discovery into ourselves and our connection to our universe.
When we start to work with our body in Yoga poses we get to explore ourselves. We learn where we are flexible and where we are tight, which types of poses come more easily to us and bring a sense of joy and achievement, which types of poses are more challenging for us and bring up feelings of frustration or other strong emotion.
In this way, we get to know ourselves deeply. We get to breathe into the frustration that comes up for us in a certain pose. We get to feel the sense of relief when we move out of a pose we find challenging. We get to experience the great joy of finding our way into a pose we previously thought was beyond our reach. We get to break down barriers in our bodies and minds and experience freedom and ease.
“Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed.” B.K.S. Iyengar
Finding the right class is vital as you start out on your yoga journey. It’s important to find a teacher with whom you feel comfortable and safe. There are many styles of yoga class available these days - ranging from very gentle classes where the focus is on relaxing and releasing tension, to strong classes where the focus may be more on building strength, stamina and flexibility.
“Yoga is the space where flowers blossom” Amit Ray
I hope you will join me at one of my yoga classes soon and start to see your flowers bloom!