You don’t need flexibility to practise Yoga
As a yoga teacher I speak with many people who are interested in yoga. They have heard that yoga will be good for them and can support them in their daily life. Often they have experienced symptoms of modern living; showing signs of stress, anxiety and problems with sleep. Yet they have a barrier in their mind that yoga is just for flexible young people. So, they dismiss it thinking it’s not for them.This misconception is not true. You don’t need flexibility to practise yoga.
The illusion of the digital yogi.
I believe this misinterpretation has been created by the new age digital yoga revolution, which is strongly influenced by social media. Instagram pictures of young scantily clad women performing impossible asana (postures).
For 99% of the population, these acrobatic postures are impossible to perform. What a lot of people don’t realise is, many of the ‘yogis’ or models we see in these pictures have a dancer or gymnastic background. And they are hyper-flexible.
To practise or to be ‘good at yoga’, you don’t have to be able to wrap your leg around your neck. This delusion that you must be super flexible is a myth. You are more likely to cause severe damage to yourself! Yoga is about developing awareness.
The emergence of ‘new age yoga’ has taken yoga into a different direction. Transforming an ancient sacred practice into another product of the commercial fitness industry. Deterring people who really need yoga the most.
There’s nothing wrong with ‘new age yoga’, it has its place. But please, don’t call this Yoga. Call it ‘inspired by Yoga.’
What is Yoga and What is not Yoga?
“Yoga is not merely asana or yoga postures but the entire science of meditation”.
Dr. David Frawley
Asana or postures are just a drop in the ocean for what Yoga really is.
Of course, asana is an important aspect of yoga. It gives so many benefits and for some people it is the gateway to a deeper yoga practice. But when the approach is just on the physical without developing awareness. I believe we are missing the whole point of what yoga is really about.
The goal of yoga is to develop awareness. To harmonise your body and mind. With the practices you move from gross too subtle. Using the physical body as a vehicle through the practise of asana. Together with pranayama, you use the breath to influence the flow of energy in the body in preparation for meditation, the subtle body.
Why do people need yoga?
A result of modern living has left a lot of people living a lifestyle that is unbalanced. As a result, we are so disconnected with our Self. We live in a society that is continuously on the go. There is little time for anything. This effects our diet, our sleep and our social interactions with loved ones.
This modern society is constantly wanting more. A bigger this, a faster that. As a result we exist predominantly in the sympathetic nervous system.
It is a way of living that can lead to physical, physiological and psychological diseases. Modern diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stress, anxiety and insomnia.
Many of these modern diseases are psychosomatics. Prescribed drugs will only work on a surface level, fixing the symptom without getting to the root of the disease. When actually the main problem has its roots in the autonomic nervous system. We’re a society that is permanently living in the stress response.
Developing a regular balanced yoga practice can help to prevent disease. It will promote health in the physical, physiological and mental body.
When you practise yoga asana with awareness it allows you to restore the body, relax the mind and balancing the autonomic nervous system. Flexibility is the by-product.
The importance for building a strong foundation on yoga.
When you begin to practise yoga, it is essential to lay a strong foundation. I like to describe it like building a house. If you don’t have strong foundations the house can fall or will not be stable.
The Pawnmuktasana series of practices originate from the Satyananda tradition. This group of preparatory yoga practices has a very deep effect on the physical body and the mind, especially when they are practised with awareness.
This series of practices work on the joints and relax the muscles of the body. Yet at the same time building strength in the body. They are simple, gentle and can be practised by anyone: young, elderly, beginners through too experienced practitioners.
The Pawanmuktasana series develops awareness of the body movements and the subtle effects they have on the different layers of the body. They release blockages of prana (vital energy) from the body in preparation for more advanced yoga practices.
Develop your yoga practice with us!
Would you like to develop a regular yoga practice that is focused on creating a strong foundation?
A practice designed to help to promote balance in the physical, physiological and mental body. At the same time enhance your health and wellbeing?
Grassroots Yoga and Meditation are delighted to share this video with you. It has been developed for you to practise in your own time and introduce you to some of foundational practices. When practised regularly it will support you in your day to day life.
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to know more about the Yoga and Meditation we teach…
click on this link to access our online Yoga and meditation timetable.
We also offer Private one-to-one classes which you can find out more about by clicking here.