What to do if you want to try Yoga, and you are just not flexible!
Short answer: Yoga
If you want to try Yoga and you are not flexible, you are feeling the true and lawful response to your life situation. Quite literally the tissues and fibers in our bodies which are inflexible desire just as a newly formed butterfly in a cocoon does, to be free and mobile. Every creature gets a glimpse of this organic truth upon waking from sleep, when the urge to stretch comes from somewhere we know not and seems to command our body prior to any intervention from the mind. You want to be mobile!
Try to understand (while keeping your forehead reasonably pliant) that all inflexibility in the human body originates in the mind. For instance, when a human body is put under general anesthesia the individual has no sensation, the central nervous system has been suppressed; no current information about the body or what the body could be sensing is being transmitted to the mind, and the mind’s movements are unable to reach the body in order to command it. In this state the human body has complete mobility in all of its limbs. Complete flexibility! Upon coming out of anesthesia, the body/mind submits to the conditional tightness previously known by the individual and all lack of mobility returns. WoW!
If you want to try Yoga, inflexibility does not a great reason make for your lack of action. If you want to try Yoga and you are inflexible, so what? Of course you should try Yoga. Yoga can offer you chances to see why you are inflexible and how you are personally going to go about cultivating flexibility in your life.
Three major types of inflexibility (*as seen by the writer)
- Excessive activity, strength, and/or hardness
- Excessive stasis, weakness, and/or atrophy
- Excessive believing “This is just the way I am!”
In each case, Yoga recommends to start by adding before taking away. No need to stop one’s life to do Yoga. Yoga suggests to add the Yoga and see what happens. What type of Yoga practice will render flexibility is no consideration for generalities, and yet we notice that nature has some predictable patterns:
- A person who is inflexible due to being excessively active, strong, and/or hard might best get their foot in the flexible door through a Yoga that aims at turning on the body’s relaxation response and allows for more stillness and quiet. If this person wanted to maintain some intensity and work hard in their practice they might consider a Yoga style that is at least slower paced, uses longer holds, and works with releasing over efforts.
- A person who is inflexible due to being excessively static, weak, and/or atrophic might better find their gateway to a resilient body/mind through a Yoga style that utilizes more regular movement, a varied length of hold times, and focuses on building strength.
- A person who is inflexible due to excessively believing, “This is just the way I am!” can start pretty much anywhere. Yoga doesn’t ask you to believe anything out of the gate (especially the notion that you are flexible). Yoga asks you to show up and put in sincere effort for 40 days (to life) and verify for yourself.
What is the purpose or utility of being flexible? To bend and yet not break?
My life experience tells me:
- Strength of character
- Resiliency in relationship
- Better sex
- Greater understanding of the Nature of one’s life
- A platform for sensitivity to self and others
- More feeling
- The list is endless
I have been teaching Yoga for 16 years. With the experience of the people I have met during this time (including myself), it seems to me that in addition to whatever physical/physiological situation we find ourselves in, many of us “believe” ourselves into being inflexible… Come to think about it, “belief” might be the predominant functional source of all inflexibility in the human body/mind. Think about it this way – I can either keep status quo and wish I were flexible enough to get out of my comfort zone and start my Yoga practice, or I can take an action today that might allow the wish in me to grow, for something greater than I currently believe myself and my relationships to be.
Don’t let a pesky thing like belief get in the way of the Truth. Try Yoga!
Brent Kuecker – Yogi.Musician.Educator
Join the Udaya Family for the second annual Udaya Live, Yoga and Music Festival! Build your bendable supple self and meet new friends from all over the world. Push the envelope on your boundaries in the company of Master teachers and musicians.