If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that they can’t do yoga because they aren’t flexible enough, I could retire in the South of France and eat caviar all day- everyday.
Saying that you aren’t flexible enough for yoga is like saying you can’t be on a diet because you weigh too much, or you can’t lift weights because you aren’t strong enough. It reminds me of Yogi Berra who used to say, “no one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”. It’s a paradox, an oxymoron.
Yoga is NOT what is portrayed on the cover of flashy magazines. Well, maybe that IS yoga, but that is one “ideal” of yoga. 99.9% of us are NOT doing yoga so we can be on the cover of Yoga Journal. There are many reasons to do yoga, one of which is to CREATE flexibility in the body. However, flexibility is NOT a pre-requisite. Depending on many things: your elastin/collagen levels, your tendons and ligaments, and your breathing, flexibility is an attribute that can be developed. Some people swear by hot yoga-style classes, touting them as a way to increase flexibility. My feelings on that subject can be discussed in a different post. However BTB believes that a sequential buildup to warm the body from the inside out can help explore YOUR body’s degree of flexibility without the risk of injury from hot yoga.
Sometimes I think that people SAY they are inflexible because they have other reasons keeping them from going to a yoga class. “I am not flexible enough for yoga” could be code for, “I feel like a dork, and I am embarrassed to be in a room full of people who look like they are from the cover of Yoga Journal”. I GET IT!!! I was that person too! How did I conquer that feeling? I signed up for a beginner’s workshop. I took classes from a friend who was getting his certification. I took some private lessons. Once I had some of the basic poses down, and a sense of the flow, I started to checking out some classes at a few different studios. When I found a studio where I felt comfortable and had a vibe that was good for me, I signed up for a package of classes. Every now and then, I do a few private lessons to tweak or learn new moves. I didn’t start off very flexible. I am still FAR from being very flexible. However, I feel comfortable in MY body. That level of self-acceptance is one of the gifts of yoga!