People very often associate yoga with great flexibility. Many do not wish to start yoga because they do not feel they are "flexible enough" to become yoga practitioners. This common assumption has been fuelled to a great extent by the vast amount of images all over social media portraying people at ease in splits or in a deep back bends. Monthly searches for "yoga for flexibility" ranks at 4400, showing how they are both associated.
Yoga is not for the highly flexible, yoga is for all. And it can be considered as a gift to be stiff. As a matter of fact, stiffness forces you to feel your body, get to know your muscles, joints and above all it teaches you to relax and accept your limitations. People who try to compete or rush generally end up harming their body. If you wish to read more on the subject, I recommend this very interesting article by Sandra Carson on the Eckart Yoga website: https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/practice/the-flexibility-myth:
"We seem to have created the situation where flexibility is a prerequisite to being a good yoga practitioner or teacher… I think it is time to start countering this widely held belief."
Of course, practicing yoga regularly will help you gain flexibility but it has to be done slowly and consciously. Enjoying the moment and the awareness that arises from it without focusing too much on the end (reaching your toes). As your body relaxes and gets more flexible, you remove emotional knots and end up gaining more mental and emotional flexibility. A rigid body often reflects a rigid mind. As your body acquires flexibility through yoga, your whole being changes: a better posture, the flow of blood, energy as well as your digestion are improved. You create space in the joints, you hydrate and renew your cells. All these benefits happen from the 1st day of practice and this holds true if you are not a flexible person at all.
In this blog, I am sharing alternatives to the super advanced yoga poses for the highly flexible ones. In the coming days, I will be posting a gentle chair yoga session with variations to adapt it to your body limitations. Take your time, enjoy the gentle stretch and all its benefits.