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  • Natalie Mazur Yoga

4 Reasons You Can Do Yoga Even If You're Not Flexible

Updated: Jan 2

(or not strong, mobile or calm, etc.)




 


  1. You "doing yoga" doesn't depend on any conditions other than you having a body and mind.

That's it. There are zero prerequistes to this practice. Showing up as you are is the best place to start! Now if you're a beginner, you might be better-advised to start off slow with a beginner's yoga class so that what is taught is accessible to you. You wouldn't join an advanced soccer team when you have no experience, right? But you can still play soccer!


It's the same with yoga. Ease into it and don't put pressure on yourself to "get" anywhere with it right away. Flexbility, mobility, and strength will all develop through practicing without necessarily having to think about it.




2. There are various props designed to support a variety of bodies in these poses.


In particular blocks or rather, "rectangles of hope" as my teacher Tara Judelle calls them, are helpful. There are so many poses that can be modified with blocks to make them more comfortable, more accessible, and in some cases useful for engaging the muscles more effectively.


There are also straps, which are great for easy-to-control deep stretches that allow you to explore certain areas of the body that may otherwise be tricky to get to to stretch (for example, the IT band). Straps, as well as blocks, are wonderful "arm extenders", giving you the ability to connect with an area that is just out of reach. Straps can also be helpful in providing some external structure and support in a posture, for example, keeping the forearms a certain distance apart or holding the feet in a stretch so that the rest of your body can relax a bit more into it.


Other props that can be nice to have are blankets and bolsters. Blankets, in addition to being cozy and warm, can also be used to sit on, provide a cushion for the joints, or prop up areas of the body comfortably. Bolsters are usually more specific to restorative yoga, allowing deep rest and relaxation within very mild, very accessible postures. The bolster acts as a firm yet soft support in many different postures so that you don't have to exert any effort at all.


We don't have to squeeze and strain into shapes; we explore movements and then support however is needed and helpful.





3. Yoga is a practice with eight limbs (sections) and the asanas (the postures) are only one part of it.


Without diving into detail about the other seven limbs, you could say that yoga is more of a way of living. Guidelines to live by, qualities to embody, and practices to help us turn inward and Self-connect.


Sam Chase, another yoga teacher of mine, told a story once about a sun salutations practice he was leading, a series of foundational postures. Someone arrived to participate but was in a wheelchair.


Sam was confused and made sure this person knew what the practice was, which he did understand. Sam observed this person in the back of the room sitting and simply moving his up and down slowly, like a nod.


Even though he wasn't doing what was expected he was still practicing yoga. He was doing a sort of meditation practice, focused, intentional and aware. Sometimes we think yoga is about getting super bendy and doing handstands and deep backbends and twisting the body up in a pretzel. Yoga can look like that, but it doesn't have to.




4. The pose in your body does not need to look exactly like it does in someone else's body.


Everyone has different bodies, different ranges of motion, different tendencies towards flexibility, different strengths, weakness, preferences, etc.


The wide range of yoga poses are there to explore with your body. And that might mean it looks way different from how they look in someone's else body. Once you drop the comparison, there is space and freedom to connect to your experience with greater acceptance and perhaps even greater appreciation of your uniqueness.



 







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