“I’m not flexible enough to practice yoga”, I’m sure many of us have heard of that sentence all too often. The misconception of flexibility in yoga is totally misunderstood by many, and I don’t find it surprising. With social media platforms often showing “perfect” asanas such as straight standing splits and “U-shaped” forward fold, it has gave people the impression that yoga practitioners are all flexible. That was my mindset about yoga too until I experience it for myself.
Coming from a background of excessive gaming and cardio repetitive exercises such as running, I suffered badly when I started off practicing, every asana seems challenging to me, especially those that require certain flexibility. I remember that my hamstrings were so tight that I would suffer during downward-facing dog, and I would glance around often just to check if I am the only one. As my heels were away from the mat and knees bent to ease the pose, I thought to myself “Will my feet ever be flat on the mat without bending my knees?”.
Flexibility has always been something that I knew was my weakness, so I am always focused on trying to stretch more in order to gain results at the fastest rate. I did not believe in Yin classes back then, because I thought its a waste of time doing such relaxing poses. I did not take sufficient rest as I believe that my flexibility would be back to square one if I slack.
As my practice took me deeper, so as my knowledge as well which changed my mindset and approach completely. I stopped my pursue of gaining flexibility and instead just enjoy the motion into the world of yoga and every practice. Gradually, I noticed myself improving and able to reach further, poses that used to be so challenging for me became easier and accessible for me.
I know I still have a long way to go, but I learned to be patient with myself. After all, flexibility is something we attain as we dive deeper into yoga and not a destination to reach. Through my experiences, I always like to share them with people who told me they are inflexible for yoga, I also used myself as an example, “If I can touch my toes, so can you! Patience and consistency is the key”.
My flexibility journey made me became more aware of my body now, and I reflected on the lifestyle I used to lead which causes my whole body to be the state it was. As humans, we are all born with that range of motion and flexibility, but our lifestyles and emotions changed us slowly over the years. We can regain them back slowly as long as we continue to practice, remember that consistency is the key!