Hello my friends! If you’ve clicked on this journal post, you’re probably trying to figure out if yoga you need to be super flexible to practice yoga. Now, I’m not going to list facts and statistics to help convince you; instead, I’m going to speak about my own journey.
I started yoga at the age of 15. It was an after-school activity that really appealed to me for the benefits it would have on my core strength and flexibility. At the time, I was a ballet dancer and so anything that would help my performance, sounded like a win to me! I would go to my yoga class, only hoping to take from it what I thought I could receive – the physical benefits.
As I grew older and my time on the mat slowly diminished, I searched for ways to help me cope with life. It’s a strange thing to suddenly feel like you need to be somewhere, but I felt like I needed to be on my mat. It was almost as if the world echoed “take your problems to the mat”; so that’s exactly what I did.
I began to not only ‘do’ yoga, but to practice it instead. I tried to focus on what it can teach me, more than how it can improve my physicality. As I began to strengthen my mind-body connection, I became more aware of what my body needed and with love, I gifted it to myself. There were days when I would focus on my breathing and letting go of my day, and there were times where I challenged myself to do more. This was when I realised that yoga is more than just physical.
When we think about yoga, we think about how your flexibility will be tested and improved; but we seldom think about how the word ‘flexibility’ will also apply to our lives off the mat. With every day, we are faced with challenges that make us re-evaluate who we are and how we should adjust. We are called to live dynamically, changing when it is necessary. We are forced to break down a long-term goal into smaller, more attainable goals. We are called to be flexible in our daily life.
See what I’m getting at?
Yoga mimics our life.
When you first start yoga, you find yourself having to adjust every sequence of movements into something you can do right now, focusing more on the process than the actual pose. As you become more experienced, you begin to play around with more difficult poses. You will fall and stumble, but will you humble yourself and keep trying. This is what life is. It’s a constant whirlwind of highs and lows, all intertwined in the glorious phenomenon that is, being a human.
We must learn how to bend and sway with life’s movement. If we cannot bend, we will break.
Not every day will be a good one. We will stagger and take a tumble sometimes, but we have to learn how to take a deep breath and pick ourselves up again. We have to be flexible off the mat too!
It is a magnificent thing to see how your time on the mat can alter the way you see and deal with things, off of the mat. I have learnt to be more patient with myself and more accepting of my failures, no matter how big. We must remember that we are not perfect and so, our ability to be flexible in our lives is a necessary skill to build.
The next time you feel like the weight of the world is crushing you, take your problems to the mat. Connect with yourself, listen to what your body needs, and then gift it to yourself. Whether it is a short practice that will help you to wind-down or a more robust practice that will get your body moving; that’s okay. And if your body is calling for rest, grab your mat, your favourite blanket and restore yourself.
I hope that this journal has opened your eyes to the wonder that yoga truly is so that the next time you visit your mat (hopefully later today), your heart is open to more than just a stronger core. I hope that you will learn how to listen to yourself, trust yourself and bend to the movement of life.
Bend, don’t break.
Until next time.
Light and love xx