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"Well I'd try yoga... but I'm just not flexible."

December 18, 2018

If I had a buck for every time I’ve heard a might-be yogi explain “I’d try yoga, but I’m not flexible,” I’d have lots of bucks, yo.  Which I would scatter freely and in a wildly celebratory manner if we could all stop it already with that tired story.  It’s the kind of classic that only serves to keep us comfortable and hold us small.  

 

And it’s utter bullshit, by the way.  Despite the prevailing sexy images of what happens when the mats are laid out and the tights are on, flexibility is no pre-requisite for yoga.

 

True: there are classes in which you might feel pretzeled half to death.  But there are as many types of yoga as flavours of ice cream, and it’s just as fun to sample!  If one class feels wrong for you, it is wrong for you (for now).  That’s totally okay.  Learn something.  And then try another type of class or another instructor.  You will find one that feels right (for now).  Be willing to go taste-testing again as your practice evolves.  

 

And true: enhancing flexibility and range of motion - stretching - is one window into the practice.  But here’s something that might sneak up on you one day in Down Dog or perhaps in vacuuming-out-the-car-asana: yoga is exercise for body, mind and soul.  Not restricted to the yoga mat.  And not exclusive to stretchy folks.

 

Yoga is a way of living that:

 

embodies intentionality, moderation and mindful thought and movement in every moment;

 

invites us to unravel old patterns of being and consciously re-weave something fresh;

 

helps us find our ground.  As we learn to relax in simple awareness, we develop a sense of calm and equanimity even in chaos and turbulence;

 

helps us find our sky (!!!) as we welcome breath and energy into the vast open spaces we discover in our hearts, minds, and tissues.

 

(Whoa this is getting fun.  Keep rolling with me now, my friends.)  

 

Yoga is a way of living that:

 

builds in us trust and courage enough to deeply feel and not look away from challenging sensations and emotions;  

 

will help us to go in search of whatever feelings or experiences may be archived in our hips or back or heart.  Encourages that stuff to move and release, leaving space for new possibility;

 

opens us up to a more respectful, friendly, humble and committed relationship with our bodies, and then teaches us to use our bodies as tools for learning (which is impossible if we’ve been stuck doing battle with them).

 

So you see, yoga is a way of living that really is not about squishing a nose against a straightened knee.  It is simply a brilliant and exciting way to conjure peace and freedom as you lean and breathe into shapes that become your own. 

 

Try yoga.  And then try again.

 

 

 

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