Attention! You Do Not Have to Be Flexible to Practice Yoga
I know what you are thinking - of course you have to be flexible to practice yoga, how the hell else am I going to get my body into any of those crazy positions!
DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!!
The practice of a yoga lifestyle does not require you to be flexible, to be thin, or to earn a certain income level. The practice of yoga simply requires your mind be flexible. I'll say it again so that it can sink in, THE PRACTICE OF YOGA ONLY REQUIRES YOUR MIND TO BE FLEXIBLE; trust me when I say the body will follow.
More importantly than forcing ourselves into any posture (asana) or holding ourselves to the standard of yoga we've seen practiced on television or magazines is the entire concept of yoga. Yoga by definition means union; when we practice a "yogic" lifestyle we are seeking union. Union of the mind, body and spirit in a harmonious manner.
When I began my yoga practice I quickly learned that my background in cheer and dance was not going to provide any advantage in terms of flexibility in my yoga practice. I was full of ego, my mind was not in union with my body and my spirit as absent. I wanted to do to get into a posture (yoga pose) and risked injury to my body forcing to levels I hadn't prepared for. I was ill prepared mentally, physically and spiritually, I was out of union in my practice of union. How often does that happen in daily life? We push, shove, and force our way into places, situations, relationships that we are ill prepared for.
The flexibility I've gained in my thinking process, my emotional stability and yoga practice are a direct result of releasing the need to be anything other than who and what I was when I showed up on my mat. I released the need to mimic others or judge my progress based on anything other than my goals. Yes you read that correct, I gained stability through flexibility. In order to bend, an object must be stable, it must have a strong foundation and core that allows it to adjust when put into challenging, unusual and often uncomfortable spaces.
Flexibility levels comes and go, just as all muscles, skills and talents that we utilize or allow to lay stagnant. The question isn't if you are flexible, the true questions is - How are you using your flexibility to change your life and the lives of those around you?