Yoga is a mixture of physical, mental, and spiritual practices. The purpose of having a yoga practice isn’t to learn how to touch your toes or balance on your hands, but to learn how to hold stillness. Many students are hesitant to enter a yoga studio because they are ‘not flexible enough’, but this is actually an advantage...
Finding stillness is a form of finding your edge. When you’re holding a Warrior Two it becomes difficult quickly because your legs are supporting your body, your arms and shoulders begin to shake as you reach out and gaze over your fingertips. It is just as hard to hold a seated meditation pose because your mind is moving. Your eyes will ask you to open, your thoughts will tell you that you’re uncomfortable, or may stray to distractions in your outside life.
Why Being 'Inflexible' is an Advantage
So how do you hold stillness, and why is it even beneficial to be ‘less flexible’? Stillness is found by focusing on your breath and reminding yourself that with deep focus on your inhales and exhales your thoughts and body will eventually soften until you are fully present. For example: In that Warrior Two, when your legs and arms shake, and your mind asks you to straighten your legs, guide your focus to your breath. Breathe deeper and more intentionally, and keep your focus there instead of on the thoughts that want you to give up. It is often our minds that give out before our bodies. The same holds true for meditation.
Being inflexible is an advantage because your edge is easier to find. It’s easier to notice where there is tension in your body, or where your limit to stretch is. It is therefore also quicker to find your edge and then soften into it. It is a quicker process to guide your mind to the present.
Adding Yoga to Your Routine
Although entering a yoga studio may feel intimidating, it is the perfect place to experience rising through a challenge. It will be different than other physical challenges you've experienced, and it's always good to switch things up! We invite you to your mat to find your edge, and allow your breath to soften into it- Watch how this practice translates to other areas of your life as you keep it consistent in your weekly routine.