The most common response when I say to people that I'm a yoga teacher and that they should try it sometime is that "I'm just not flexible enough to do yoga". I love the analogy I recently saw comparing it to saying that you're too dirty to take a shower. If you look at it like that you can see that you may have to take a few showers to feel fully clean but surely that's better than being dirty...
And flexibility is not just about the body, it's about the mind too. It's about being open to new experiences, connecting in with your breath to help you get deeper into postures and realising how much your body and mind are connected.
I reckon if there was one I'd be a real contender for the most inflexible yoga teacher competition. I have done sport my whole life and throughout this time was pretty lazy on the stretching front. You finish a hockey match or a long run and the last thing you want to do is spend half an hour stretching - my mind is fully focussed on food and showering. My hamstrings hate me, my back is rigid and I can't for the life of me get into a yogi squat.
But I can turn up on the mat every day with an open and patient heart and work towards getting more flexible. And in my mind, if you're not flexible it means you've got so much potential for where you can get to in the future. That's what I love about it - there's not many things in life anymore where you can noticeably see yourself get better at, but I feel with yoga I can see distinct improvements on a regular basis and not just on a physical level.
Every day I get that little bit further into a posture, I can feel my hips starting to open, my hamstrings getting that teeny tiny bit looser, my forward folds are starting to actually look like folds rather than me just sitting up with a straight back that won't under any circumstance move forwards. I even managed a full on handstand yesterday where I stayed up for a whole 3 seconds (yes it feels like a long time when you're up there), something I've been trying to do all year long.
I understand the processes that all us inflexible people have to go through to develop and deepen in a posture, because I've had to do the same. I get that it's frustrating and that you look around the room at all these ridiculously bendy people and think how far off you are from ever getting there.
But far from that making me want to give up and throw the mat in, it spurs me on. Every time I get into a new posture it's both a mental and physical achievement. That I came back day after day. That I didn't give up. I've experienced emotions I never thought I would through practising yoga, I laugh, I cry, I get dizzy, I feel sick, I get angry, I get happy, I get inspired. I'm not so afraid of my emotions. I'm a lot more patient.
One day, maybe one day I'll be that person people look at and think "wow, she's a bendy one" but to be honest that's not what it's about for me anymore like it once was. It's just as important that I am flexible in my mind as my body. Which is about being open to new opportunities. So try and be a little more flexible in your life, try out some yoga, or don't try yoga, try out something you've been wanting to for a long time but for some reason you think you won't be good enough at it or are intimidated by it. You never know, it could change your life...
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