Yoga: Not Just For The Flexible

This is a guest post by Heather Ashare. Heather has been a dedicated practitioner and instructor of Ashtanga yoga for the past six years and is a staff member of the website, Diets in Review. Read her previous guest blog about the 5 things beginners should know about yoga.

There is a misnomer that in order to do yoga, you have to be able to touch your toes. Feeling that you have to be flexible in order to take a yoga class is on par to feeling like you have to be an Indy 500 winner to drive a car. It is just simply not true.

If your stiff joints are keeping you from doing yoga, here are three tips to quell your fears:

  1. Yoga practitioners come in all shapes, sizes and ranges of motion. I’ve often heard that those who are the least flexible are open to gaining the most in yoga. Their bodies will respond so well to the opening of the joints and the extension of the muscles and ligaments that yoga requests of each student.
  2. You can only improve. By not doing yoga and not stretching your muscles, you will only continue to develop more rigidity. Even if those first few classes have your hamstrings feeling like sore taffy the next day, over time, you will create more length in your body and that will make the postures easier to do.
  3. No one is looking anyway! In yoga, rather than looking at the person next to you, you focus on what is called the drishti or focal point. Each posture has a drishti point whether it is your nose, your navel or your toes. The idea behind having this set gaze is to keep your attention focused and not distracted by what your neighbor is doing or even by what you may look like as you stay in a posture. A drishti quiets the mind and prevents your thoughts from racing which happens when we start to flick our eyes back and forth at things and people. So remember, no one is looking at you.

The main idea behind any yoga class is to have fun and set your fears aside. When you tune out what is going on around you and tune into your own body, you might be amazed at what you discover.

You can read more from Heather at the Diet Blog.

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