Yoga is Only For Flexible People

What does it mean to be “flexible?”  I can’t even count the number of times someone has said this to me: “I’d like to do yoga, but I’m not flexible,” or, “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.”  Now the answer you might expect me to retort would be something like….”and yes, that’s exactly why you SHOULD DO YOGA.”  But I think I might surprise you on this one.

Do you need to be “flexible” to practice yoga?

I say YES, you do.  You absolutely must be flexible to practice yoga and receive any kind of benefit from it.

I say this because I am not talking about the kind of flexibility you see splashed across social media or the kind you see on the cover of Yoga Journal, that’s not the kind of flexibility you need, actually that kind of flexibility is irrelevant, to that degree, anyway.  What I am asking you to consider is the flexibility of the mind.  

Ms. Webster puts it quite eloquently when she defines flexibility as: the ability to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances or conditions.  And Yes, you heard me correctly, there was not one mention in there about wheel pose or drop backs, or dancer’s pose, nope, not a single mention of scorpion, or camel, or upward facing dogWhy?  Why didn’t Merriam Webster care about camel you ask????  Because it doesn’t f-ing matter that’s why.  

Ms. Webster seems much more focused on our ability to respond and modify our behaviors to all circumstances and conditions. 

Ms. Webster seems to have come to the conclusion that our happiness, our peace, our ease of being, lies not in a set of postures, but in our adaptability to life itself, in the attitude that we bring to the table, and the intentionality of our thoughts, words, and actions.  And I concur!  Whole heartedly.

When you embrace the flexibility that is possible with your mind, this flexibility encompasses the physical, the mental, and the spiritual being.  This flexibility erases all boundaries set by each of those aspects individually.  This flexibility amplifies your capability and capacity to expand in ALL directions.

So let us stop comparing and criticizing the flexibility of our physical bodies and start flexing the massive capacity of our minds and our hearts.  Let’s start defining our days and our practices by THAT standard, let’s stop counting the number of chaturangas we can do and start counting the number of hugs we can give.  Let’s stop worrying about how open our hips are, and worry about how open our minds and hearts are.  Let’s stop getting down on ourselves because we can’t nail a handstand, and start getting high on ourselves because we complimented the entire office!

  Let’s start making the shit that matters, matter.  

So next time someone asks you if you need to be flexible to do yoga, tell them YES.  And then give them a hug.

You are Beautiful. You are Whole. You are Enough. - Andrea Dawn


yoga headstand
Andrea Behler