I hear it all the time, “I ‘m not flexible. I can’t do yoga.”
The truth is, you’re inflexible because you don’t do yoga! (this applies to the mind as well, by the way). You can't expect to magically be able to do the asanas (poses) of yoga perfectly when you haven't stretched in decades. This especially goes for the men! Yoga is literally for every body. Because the essence of yoga is union ~ of body, mind, heart and spirit, within ourselves , with each other, the planet and the cosmos; the practice of it, no matter how quiet or rigorous, is about bringing more awareness to every aspect of your Being. It’s not important that you can twist your body into a pretzel – most people can’t – even yoga teachers. What’s important is that you spend some time each day on your mat to be present with your body, mind, and spirit. That is, really feeling your body & the messages it is sending you, the state of your mind and emotions, and connecting to your soul – that aspect of you that is perfect just as it is and the part you get to take with you when you leave this plane.
Commit to at least 10-15 minutes of gentle stretching and deep breathing each day and feel the difference it will make in your strength, flexibility, and balance. This, by the way, translates to strength, flexibility, balance in your life. Commit to trying it for a month – take a class, buy a book, watch a video, Google “gentle yoga”, there are even classes online – there are many, many resources out there to help you learn. There are also variations on every pose that provide equal benefit and inspire you to go deeper - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Yoga is a practice that can always take you deeper so you do not need to learn everything at once. See if you don’t notice a difference in yourself after several weeks. Others may notice too. So relax, stretch and breathe! You’ll find yourself craving it and just like when you exercise and meditate regularly, noticing even more when you don’t do it. Your joints, your muscles, your mind, your digestion, and much more will thank you! Enjoy!!
Dr. Joanna Carmichael is an RN, Dr. of Metaphysics, Divinity, Interfaith Minister, Ayurveda Practitioner, Spiritual Teacher and Founder & CEO of the Kalyana Centre in Narberth, PA