Excuses, Excuses - I'm not flexible enough for Yoga

I hear this said so often, but sorry to say, this is not an acceptable excuse! Yoga isn’t about being flexible; it’s about becoming flexible, and not just in body. It helps us mind, body & soul. 

In some ways yoga in the media has created an unrealistic ideal as to what a yogi or yogini should look like – uber thin, ultra bendy, able to turn into a pretzel. Yet, just like a minute percentage of people are built like, and look like fashion models, a very small percentage of people can actually do these “cirque-like” movements with their bodies. And really – do you NEED to be able to do the full splits or wrap your leg behind your head??? Um, no! And on that note, I have been practicing for so many years and will probably never be able to do either or those poses or even a full lotus pose, for that matter. And this has no bearings on my yoga journey. Our bodies are all different and what poses we can or cannot get into are sometimes a result of the genetic make-up of our bodies, from past injuries, lack of practice or a product of blocked energy. So be at ease with the idea, honour and respect what your body allows you to do, practice more often and release the blocked energy. Then be wowed by what your body will be able to do.
 
Yoga is about creating healthy movement in the body. Regular practice helps with tired, stiff muscles. It counteracts our sedentary and hectic lifestyle. Yoga is PERFECT for those who are “not flexible”. It is a gentle way to ease muscles and joints back into a more flexible state. Now to be honest, I love the increase in flexibility over the years of practice, but not just because now I do so many of these “super bendy flexi poses” that look and feel awesome, but because my body is freer of tension and soreness. Not to mention that the physical and emotional strength gained from regular practice improves my overall health.

 

For some people, starting your yoga practice can be challenging. But for most it is like an instant “where have you been all my life relationship”. Even more important than stretching muscles and moving joints, yoga teaches you to BREATHE. In yoga, we slow the breath down and inhale deeply to exhale fully, expanding our lung capacity (and yes all you athletes out there it really does improve drastically). Proper breathing helps ease stress and pain and is a tool used to safely move through moments of anxiety and excitement. Even people with very limited physical mobility benefit greatly from the breathing techniques learned in yoga. And because breathing and slowing down is where the greatest benefit of yoga lies, so those of you that are labeled as “inflexible” or feel you are too heavy or out of shape, if you understand this concept completely, but think you shouldn’t be in a yoga class, you are actually “doing yoga”. Some people are thin and flexible and can lift their foot over their head. But it doesn’t make for the ultimate yogi. My concern as a teacher is for those that dread or fear the quiet time in class, the breath work, relaxation or the meditation portion of the class. And for the record, I used to be one of those people. I am most proud of myself in that I can now meditate, that to me is more amazing than some of the cool poses I can get into for “photo ops”!

 

Focused breathing then leads to a more flexible mind. When our thoughts focus on the breath, we learn to let go of the negative notions and feelings that take up space in our brain. We begin to view the world in a more free and expanded way. This is the ultimate flexibility.

 

Toss the “I’m not flexible enough” phrase from your vocabulary and know that your tired, unbending or bendy body is the PERFECT body to come and try yoga. I welcome all bodies, yoga is for “EVERY BODY”. Yoga is such a beautiful way to feel calm and rooted. The physical “flexible” part is just a side benefit and will happen with continued practice, but it is not the most important aspect of yoga.

I speak from the heart and not from a book. I never stand at the front of the room and profess to be in a state of pure bliss all the time. I am real, yoga is for real people. Anyone who knows me on a personal level knows there is no lack of stress in my life! As a yogini I am not free from the stressors of life, but am learning each day how to better cope. Among my favourite lines I share in class is “Yoga will not take away anything that happens in the world around us. And you cannot control anything but how you choose to react or respond in situations. Reactions are often unserving, meaning they do not help the situation, so let’s learn to become more responsive in situations. Through our yoga practice we can clear the negative energy from our chakras (the energy centres in the body) and make room for the positive or serving energy. This will fuel our bodies with the ability to handle unpleasant times better!

We all need yoga in our lives and it is accessible to all. Our schedule has classes for all levels. With over a dozen teachers and 40 classes per week I am sure you will find a class to meet your needs. http://www.karmalifestyle.com/pages/schedule

 

     


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