“I’m not Flexible!”
Recently I went to a great London teacher named Stuart Goldcrest.
It was my second time in three years, and with him being a popular yoga teacher I was not
expecting him to remember me but then he singled me out as a beginner – which actually
bruised my ego.
I practice at least three times a week and have done so since I was 18.
I just have never been blessed with flexibility (being more of a sprinter and a jumper my
muscles are wound a little tighter than most). In fact I’ve often found the reverse effect at
times when I have practiced a lot of yoga, my speed and jumping height would actually get
The yoga magazines do the beginner yoga classes the biggest disservice dissuading beginners
into walking into a practice by showing pictures of skinny white girls in impossible to get to
positions. This is what can lead you to say “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact the benefit of a practice lies in the journey not the destination, the way to touch your
toes is so much more beneficial than touching them.
Movement brings blood and nutrition to areas and muscles which promote the path of
healing. I have personal experience of this by healing my rickety knees through yoga.
“The curse and the gift of tight hamstrings”
Yoga has many other benefits besides flexibility, strength and length.
There is an unintended byproduct. In the yoga sutras it says “if you want to know your yoga is working take a look at your relationships”.
Trying that first class is probably the most intimidating step you take but trust me – lying in a
puddle of your own sweat in Savasana will answer any reservation you will have had before
Flexibility will come over time, however even that is a by-product. Just like your sweat, the
nectar lies in the way you feel and how you interact in the environment.
Tight hamstrings are a blessing in yoga, not a curse.
by Yariv Lerner