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Am I too inflexible for yoga?

Hey there, fellow yogis and yoginis! Today, I want to dive deep into a topic that is close to my heart: the misconception that yoga is only for the flexible. Trust me, I get it. Scroll through Instagram, and you're bombarded with images of people contorting themselves into pretzel-like poses with seemingly effortless ease. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "Well, I could never do that."

But let me stop you right there because that couldn't be further from the truth. Yoga is for everybody and every body. Yes, you read that right. Whether you can touch your toes or struggle to reach past your knees, yoga welcomes you with open arms. It's not about how flexible you are; it's about how willing you are to listen to your body and meet yourself where you are.

Let's debunk the myth once and for all: those Instagram-worthy yoga poses aren't the epitome of yoga. Sure, they're impressive to look at, but they're not the essence of what yoga is all about. At its core, yoga is a journey of self-discovery, a practice that invites you to explore the depths of your being, both physically and mentally.

As I have previously explained before, I am not the most flexible person. Running and cycling shortened my hamstrings. When I first started doing yoga, sometimes I would go to the studio and feel like I didn't belong. Yoga teachers would prod and pull and push me into deeper stretches that felt like agony, and I would feel frustrated that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get into some of those poses.

I didn't give up, instead I learned to embrace my body. I also realised that most people were like me, everyone has some issue or other with their body. When I completed my yoga teacher training, I decided that I wanted people to feel like they belonged on their yoga journey, and learn to accept and love themselves a little more, whatever stage of the journey they're at.

Think of yoga as a mirror reflecting back at you. It's a chance to get to know your body on a profound level, to understand its strengths and limitations without judgment. And here's the beautiful part: through consistent practice, you'll start to notice those limitations expand, not because you're forcing yourself into contortions, but because you're cultivating awareness and compassion for yourself.

One of the most profound lessons I've learned on my yoga journey is that progress isn't measured by how closely you resemble a yoga model on Instagram. It's measured by how you feel in your own body, how you move with intention and mindfulness, and how you carry that sense of peace and balance off the mat and into your daily life.

Now, let's talk about the real benefits of yoga, shall we? First and foremost, yoga is a powerful tool for injury prevention. By gently stretching and strengthening your muscles, you're improving your flexibility and mobility and also fortifying your body against potential injuries. It's like giving your body a suit of armour to navigate through life's twists and turns.

But that's not all. Yoga is also a fantastic way to build stability and strength, both physically and mentally. Those seemingly simple poses like Warrior II and Tree Pose? They're not just about standing on one leg or reaching your arms overhead. They're about finding your centre, rooting down into the earth, and standing tall with confidence and grace.

And let's not forget about the mental benefits of yoga. In a world that's constantly buzzing with noise and distraction, yoga offers a sanctuary of stillness and calm. Through breathwork and meditation, you can quiet the chatter of your mind, finding clarity and peace in the present moment.

So, the next time you roll out your yoga mat, remember this: you belong here, exactly as you are. Whether you're as flexible as a rubber band or as stiff as a board, there's a place for you in the world of yoga. Embrace your journey, celebrate your progress, and above all, honour the wisdom of your own body. That, my friends, is the true essence of yoga.

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