‘I’m not good at yoga, I’m not flexible enough’
I have so many students come up to me and ask how to achieve more flexibility, how they can get stronger, to achieve one or more of the advanced postures, along with others implying that they are not good enough to practise simply because they aren’t flexible. But remember it is called a practise for a reason, let me guide you through my thoughts below.
For me, the real magic is when we find flexibility and strength in the mind. The body is there to be moved but through each asana, it is lead by breath. If you’re too caught up on achieving the ‘most advanced’ posture or simply just touching your toes like the person next to you, you’re really missing the magic. Your expectations will be nothing short of disappointment. But why are we so caught up getting into the craziest shapes? It can only be ego fuelling this. The soul does not care for how far we can bend, but just appreciates the fact that we can move. Yoga is not confined to the asana practise alone, nor the mat. It is not an aesthetic practise (even though Instagram would show you otherwise.) It simply is.
This picture was taken when I was at my strongest and most flexible physically, but through draw backs I have learnt strength I didn’t know existed, patience I couldn’t even imagine before, and flexibility in what I practise and teach.
The irony is that when we become open minded (flexible) in the mind, our bodies surrender to what is. We don’t fight against, rather accept ourselves exactly as we are, and our body adapts to this flexibility. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t push ourselves through challenge, but that we must adapt, and be patient if we want to see the right improvement.
The real improvement I want to witness in yours and my yoga practise, is the stuff that happens off the mat. The practise on the mat prepares us for the trials and tribulations of life, on how to handle all the situations thrown at us, how we react, how we learn, how we live, how we love. Because isn’t that what this is all about? How to be better humans and how to co-exist together as one?
Practising yoga. Practising union.