Something that has always bugged me when I try to convince people to come to a yoga class with me is when they say, “I’d be no good at yoga, I’m not very flexible.” To which I’d reply, “neither am I!” I’ve always had short hamstrings (probably not helped by my historic love for outdoor running and lack of enthusiasm for a cool down). I also have tight hips (can’t think of a good reason for this – too much TV watching perhaps?) I also have a slight anterior pelvic tilt which basically means my bum sticks out a bit, probably caused by too much sitting.
Ten months ago, I decided to train to become a yoga teacher. I’ve always loved how yoga keeps me physically fit and calms my mind down, so I thought ‘why not?!’ So day one of yoga teacher training arrives: as you can probably imagine, I was bottom of the class in the flexibility ratings. Surrounded by a sea of bendy Wendy’s, I was facing a tough uphill struggle to be able to keep up with the others and do all the poses ‘correctly’.
Luckily Ed, our wise trainer, told us, “There is no correct pose. It’s not about touching your toes. That may come with practice, but it’s about staying with your breath and being in the present moment.” Well, this was music to my ears! I didn’t need to look like all those super bendy girls on Instagram; where I got to in each pose was perfect for me (even if it was on top of a mountain of blocks!) I also learnt that it’s incredibly unhelpful to compare yourself to others. So I stopped worrying and just tried my best.
Fast forward 10 months and I have certainly become more flexible. But not because I’ve tried to; because I’ve been disciplined with my practice and enjoyed the journey. As it turns out, being ‘flexibly challenged’, has actually helped me to become a better teacher as I feel confident to support others using bricks and straps because I still need a lot of them too!
The reason I am saying this is because I want as many people as possible to learn and see the benefits yoga can bring them, both mentally and physically, and not be put off by the fact that maybe they’re ‘not that flexible’. Who cares! Just have a go and enjoy the journey!