As a yoga teacher, one of the most common things I hear from people about starting a yoga practice, is that they are too inflexible to do yoga. But, here’s the good news…
You don’t have to be bendy or flexible to do yoga or to enjoy it.
Often I find that my students who think that they are the most inflexible actually gain the most benefit from developing a regular yoga practice.
I don’t tell many people this, but when I first started my yoga practice I could barely touch my knees! Fortunately, that’s not the case today.
In this article, I’d like to share the 3 tips that shifted everything for me, helping me to move beyond my old, limiting stories so that I could enjoy developing my yoga practice.
Tip #1: Focus on Your Breath
The first thing I tell my yoga students is, ‘If you can breathe, you can do yoga!’
When you bring your attention to your breath, your body automatically remembers how to relax. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to stretch and find more space in your body.
You can try this now: take a deep breath all the way into your belly. Notice how good this feels!
It is often said that, ‘awareness is curative.’ Just focusing on your breath will give your body the chance to release tension and stress naturally.
Tip #2: Acknowledge Your Body’s Uniquenes
The key to developing more flexibility in your body is to recognize and acknowledge that each of us have very different shaped bodies: Long arms, long neck, short legs, tight shoulders, tight hamstrings, stiff ankles, small toes – the list goes on!
Tightness in our bodies is totally normal, but I can promise you that by simply starting a regular yoga practice, you will help your body stretch and open naturally over time.
If you are feeling stressed or have limited mobility in your body, you will gain lots of lovely benefits by focusing on the relaxation aspects of yoga. Start with the relaxation aspects of yoga and gradually build your practice.
If you are an athletic person, who has lots of strength but not flexibility, you might like to start your yoga practice with yoga poses like ‘plank’ and ‘downward facing dog’.
Katrina demonstrates Downward Facing Dog
If you have some flexibility but limited amounts of strength, you might like to start with some gentle hip-openers to reconnect back to your body.
Pigeon Pose is a popular hip opening pose
The key here is to acknowledge that every ‘body’ is different. Take the time to listen to your body and notice what feels good for you and your body type.
Be mindful of what else is going on in your life and let your yoga practice support and nourish you and your body.
Tip #3: Use Yoga Props
Yoga props are a wonderful way to help you go beyond your current abilities in your yoga practice.
Which kind of yoga props you should use will depend primarily on which yoga pose you are working with.
To help get support with balance, one of my favorite props is to use the wall.
I love using the wall, as it is strong and reliable. You can push all your weight on the wall and know that it will always support you. If you have trouble finding any kind of balance, the wall can totally support you as you learn how to find your perfect balance. I like to use the wall for my standing, balance poses, such as ‘tree’ pose.
Blankets, blocks and straps can all aid your yoga practice.
You can also sit on the floor with your hips and back snuggled against the wall, to take any pressure off your lower spine and totally support your back in any of your seated yoga poses and meditations.
Other yoga props that you might consider using include extra yoga blocks, straps and blankets to help you in your practice. I love to encourage yoga students to use blankets to cushion their neck, knees, or hips, especially where there has been a previous injury or where there is impaired mobility.
Get Started on Your Yoga Practice Today
Even if you feel inflexible, the important thing is to start your yoga practice.
Remember the first thing is to focus on your breath, allowing your breathing to becoming deeper and fuller.
Stay connected to your own body and what feels good. Your body is unique and your yoga practice is a lovely way to honor yourself.
With your yoga practice, always start from where you are today but focus in your mind, on where you want to end up. Be kind and patient. Give yourself permission to take baby steps each day to help you get there!
Use yoga props to support and help you go beyond your current limitations. Most importantly: keep practicing. With time and commitment to your practice, you can watch with delight as you start to become stronger and more flexible…
You deserve to live in a body that you love, and create the life that you dream of. Learn more about Katrina Love Senn’s weight loss story and purchase her book ‘Losing Weight is a Healing Journey’ on Amazon here: Losing Weight is a Healing Journey
Please leave me a comment below sharing some of your favorite ways for staying healthy in social settings – and any other questions or comments – I look forward to hearing from you!