“I can’t possibly do yoga - I”m not flexible.” I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said this to me about their prospects of starting a yoga class. Yoga isn’t about turning yourself into a pretzel and chanting legs crossed on the floor as depicted in many yoga magazines you may have seen. So much seems to be made of these very awkward positions that only the minority can twist into.
Yoga is about building strength, both physically and mentally. It’s about learning to focus and concentrate when the world is full of distractions. Yoga is about getting to know your own strengths and weaknesses, and accepting those that you can’t change and working with those you can. It’s about the challenges we set for ourselves, as small or large as they may be, but nonetheless working towards them. Yoga is about take the time to respect yourself and allow yourself some time to restore and rebuild the body and mind. It’s about focusing on your breath, the breath that can alter your perspective in situations, can make the difference between coping and not coping when under pressure, a breath that allows us to count to ten while we carefully reconsider our words or go into an important meeting, and the slow, steady breath that helps put us to sleep when sleep alludes us.
Flexibility is only part of it. Why do we need to work on our flexibility?
Because no matter how heavy the weights you can lift, or how far or fast you can run, our bodies need an overall workout, and if you are constantly working your body in one direction then simply put, the body will react in the opposite direction. When our muscles are stretched, their natural reaction is to contract, which is why your body feels sore after you’ve done a strenuous workout or anything it isn’t used to. It is then that you need to continue to stretch the muscles, so that over-contraction doesn’t happen, and eliminate the soreness and muscle pain that you can feel at this point.
Working stretching into your weekly workout is vital to also help you to recover from injury, from your big Saturday match, or simply that gardening that you’ve been doing all weekend. Whenever we overuse a part of our bodies, we will feel it over the next 24 - 48 hours. Practicing any regular yoga or stretching, isn’t going to protect you from injury completely, but it will help in a faster recovery, as there is already a level of fitness and strength within your body, and therefore the body is stronger to bounce back and heal. Not to mention the mental strength it provides when all of a sudden your body isn’t able to do the things it once may have and the frustrations that come with that. So, keep stretching ……..
Blessings to you,