Yoga - do I need to be flexible?
The fantastic thing about yoga is that it is suitable for everyone. There are so many benefits to be gained through practicing yoga regularly that it would be a real shame to not try a class because you are worried about how flexible you are.
If you are attending classes at a yoga studio let the teacher know if you are concerned about your flexibility. Make sure that during the class you are aware of how your body feels and never use force to move your body into different postures or stretches.
I recommend that when possible you close your eyes when you are practicing yoga. That way you will not become distracted by or compare yourself to other class members. It is important to remember that everybody is built differently and therefore we all have different levels of flexibility. It does not mean that someone who is more flexible than you is benefiting more from the class than you are.
Your level of flexibility will not change the benefits that you gain from your yoga practice.
When moving through your yoga practise remember to breathe slowly in and out through the nose. Muscles relax as you exhale, so it is possible to use every out breath to soften and release tension stored within the body. Always take your time and never rush your breathing or your movements.
With a regular yoga practice your flexibility will naturally improve, plus it will help to calm and still the mind, reduce stress and tension and improve general levels of health and vitality.
Practicing yoga at home is also very beneficial, during a home practice the temptation to compare yourself to other class members is removed, you can take your time to move slowly and feel your alignment and limitations in each posture.