Flexibility and yoga, they seem to go together like a horse and carriage, in most people’s minds. What comes to these minds is usually the flexibility on the mat: How you can navigate yourself in some kind of a gymnastic pretzeling exercise.
What I’m interested in, is to check on this flexibility, off the mat.
Writing my brilliant new book on the 10 principles of yoga philosophy has only fired up this interest.
One of those funky little ideas in this ancient wisdom… WAIT!! FULL STOP PLEASE.
Funky? >< Yoga philosophy???
Oh yes, I find it rather fascinating once you dig in!
So, one of the universal principles of yoga is Self-discipline.
A big one, as some people have more than enough and, others can do with some more.
Self-discipline and commitment are good for the soul. It feels incredible to stick with a plan, to succeed in goals and to back fire your excuses with practice.
I made it to the mat, I went to the gym, I ran for mile, or ten.
Or, usually less popular as it takes a little bit more effort:
I stepped away from gossip, I meditated, I did my affirmations, I didn’t criticize anyone today, I gave 12 compliments: Whoop!
We stick with our intentions and actions because we want to be the best version of ourselves, for our self and others. To raise the bar, in a gentle and compassionate way. Or, that might be your intention 🙂 .
We are training the mind because we want to. The untrained mind has a compelling urge to always do something else, to be somewhere else.
Not very convenient…
It’s like a puppy running after a bone, a monkey jumping from branch to branch or a chariot with wild horses and no reins or a charioteer. (These puppies and monkeys don’t seem to have any issues with flexibility, as long as they can play freely.)
But how do we get there?
“Training the mind because we want to”, is a beautiful sentence but how do you do this?
By starting small.
Tiny little baby steps towards your goals. By messing up, falling off the practise wagon, smiling ear to ear and starting over again.
By being flexible. Not with your goals, but with your failures.
Every time you seem to have slipped, you’re flexible, gentle and compassionate and, you start again.
You’re being ever so flexible, off the mat.
Do I need to be Flexible to do yoga?
This way, the number one question that I get asked… mmm… no… that would be: “Are you married?” when walking around in Morocco…
Consequently, the number two question I get asked as a yoga teacher: “Do you need to be flexible to do yoga?”, all of a sudden becomes a tricky one to answer.
If you mean being flexible in order to do postures on a mat? In that case, the answer is ‘no’. Yoga will make you more flexible in the end, no doubt about that. Practise, and all is coming as Pathabi Jois said, or at least, a little will come, eventually.
When you’re referring to yoga as a way of life. When incorporating the philosophical aspects of this ancient wisdom. In that case, the answer is a full blown: Yes, you have to be a bit flexible to do yoga.
You need to be flexible to adjust your goals, to let go of certain limiting beliefs, to learn to be more open, to face your fears and to trust. That requires flexibility without a doubt.
But, also here: Practice, and all is coming. Or at least a little, eventually.
And, I would love to hear from you!
Welcoming any and all comments. Most readers contact me directly via email instead of using the comment box below, all good, whatever works for you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share!