This question is often asked in relation to yoga practice. I often hear that people will not come to class because they say…..”I am not flexible!”
Now, I can see the reasoning behind this, after all, in the media yoga is often shown to be practiced by individuals who can nearly turn themselves inside out! However, if we put this statement to other activities we can see how wrong the mindset actually is.
Do new runners often start their practice by clocking up 26 miles on their first outing?
Do mountain climbers go straight to the base of Everest and set off?
Do people who go to the gym for body building lift the biggest weights immediately?
Do people on the exercise bike cycle for an hour on their first visit?
The answer here is most definitely NO. All the people who do the above mentioned tasks will always build up towards their ultimate goal. In fact, they will probably break down the big goal into smaller, more easily achieved goals to assist them on their path to success.
Yoga is no different. The more we practice the better we can become. In our yoga classes we often look at how progress is being made. One example is near the beginning of class. We complete several rounds of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). On the first round we ask the group to make a mental note of how far they can reach down when doing the standing forward bend (Uttanasana). When we complete the final round, we again look at how far we can reach. Amazingly, even in that short space of time, progress has been made. Showing that with regular practice, flexibility and strength will develop.
But you may say…..”my attempt at the pose does not look the same as the model doing hers on social media”. The answer here has to be….. “does that matter?” We are all different, we have differing abilities. Yoga should be non-competitive, so if you cannot do it the same as the person on the next mat – does it really matter? Remember, you are there, in class, trying your best.
For this reason, we will begin to take a series of photographs, (using very willing volunteers from class – you know who you are!!) to show how a pose can look different when performed by different people. Hopefully this will help to encourage you that yoga is for everyone….. especially when you are not as flexible as an Olympic gymnast.
Feel free to share your own yoga pose attempts – even if you think they are not very good…… you have still tried….. you can email them to us here at firstname.lastname@example.org or share them on Twitter, you can find us at takemetohealth1 or Instagram… takemetohealth8
Looking forward to seeing them.