Many people, like myself till I reached the age of 30, think that they cannot practice Yoga as they are not flexible. They see those pictures of some super yoginis doing their splits standing on one food or some acrobatic videos on YouTube which are supposed to be Yoga. In fact they are- but Yoga isn’t about being the most flexible. For most Asanas, there are ways to get benefits from most of the poses being flexible or not. Usually they are called beginner poses then – though there are enough people in this world who due to their bones, joints and their physical constitution just wont never reach the point to get into some “advanced” poses as their body just doesn’t allow it. Meaning on the same hand that they will be better in other poses. A handicap in one pose will automatically in most cases mean an advantage for another Asana. In relation to Yoga Anatomy I want to recommend the DVD Anatomy for Yoga from Paul Grilley. There he analyzes the same Asana practiced by different people showing the angles of the execution of the position and the personal differences. You learn that everyone is different and that an Asana will never look exactly the same. Therefore, everyone who is hesitating whether or not to try out Yoga – there are so many different forms of it, I truly believe there is the right style for everyone. For those looking for stretching their fascias and relaxation, I recommend Yin. If you need to exploit, try Vinyasa Flow. Those are just examples but I´m a big fan of both.
Apart from this, Yoga is not just about getting from one pose into another. There is so much more behind. If we refer to the old scriptures about Yoga, the practice of Asana is just one part of the whole Yoga path.
In our usual Western Yoga classes we might also practice some kind of Pranayama and Meditation but also this only covers a small part of what is behind the concept. As describing all this is surpassing the space of today´s post, I will come back to this on another occasion. 😉
Just please, in case you have never tried out a Yoga Class before but want to change something in your life (eating healthier, sleeping better or even just being more balanced and kind) – try it out. And if you don´t feel comfortable in your class, try out another style or teacher before giving up! The flexibility will come with time. Just try to enjoy getting there. A year ago with straight legs I couldn’t even touch the floor with my hands. I´m still far from reaching down comfortably but at least the finger tips are getting to the ground with the back straight. There are other people who never have been doing Yoga before but might get their hands on the floor with no problem at all. This might feel unfair but we can only change this by practicing regularly. So to everyone with doubts, believe me, I know what it feels like being inflexible. Its a long way, but the only thing that matters is that you get yourself on the path.