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Do you have to be flexible to do Yoga?

Do you have to be flexible to do Yoga?

You would not believe how many times I have received this question, and let me just begin by saying you do not have to be flexible to do Yoga! Yoga definitely encourages lengthening in our body, but can always be fitted and alternated depending on what you individually need. Yoga has been misunderstood by the large masses for many years, and there often is a misconstrued idea that you have to have some sort of flexibility to begin Yoga. But everyone has to begin somewhere, and every body is different. The beauty about the practice of Yoga is that any Yoga class you go to can be tailored to fit your physical capacity. 

Instagram has played a huge part in the stigma surrounding Yoga and flexibility, and it can be extremely intimidating. So it is so refreshing to see a beautiful Yogi whose proud of her individual Yoga practice, and is setting an amazing example that Yoga is inclusive to the abilities of all bodies! 

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What inspired the name of your Instagram @theinflexible.yogi?

I wanted the blog to have a direction, a purpose and just something that I was really passionate about. I love Yoga and feel so energised and full after practice but I know that I am not as flexible as many other yogis that you see on Instragram and thought that I wasn't flexible enough to create a page based on it. Then something clicked and I thought about all the other men and women out there that feel the same way that I do and therefore, do not try Yoga or do not embrace that they are capable of it. So I thought that I would create this page to encourage all those that believe they can't do something, to go for it and try! We are all on a journey. I just feel that if I am someone that real people can connect with, they will feel better about themselves and feel motivated to reach their goals and intentions. 

How did you begin your Yoga journey?

I tried Yoga at many centres in my local area and would give-in really quickly, mainly because I felt that I was not getting flexible quick enough.  And then finally, after not having a routine for so long I decided to join a yoga centre and locked myself in for a year. I needed to give myself a bit of a push and create a commitment. I haven't looked back since! It was a transformation that I needed and along my journey I have learnt a lot about myself and those around me! At times when I wanted to give in because I thought I was doing well enough, I would talk to my Yoga teachers, and there experience and support would allow me to realise and accept that these things take time and just lots of consistency!

What is your most challenged asana?

I would definitely say pigeon pose! I am personally very tight in my lower back/glutes, hips and knees, so naturally it is very challenging for me. In saying that, I continue to perform the stretch every week to try achieve a deeper movement into the pose. 

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What would you like to tell people who say they can’t do Yoga because they’re inflexible?

Simply, that they can! We all believe that we are no good at something, or do not have the capacity to try new things. But the fact is that you can and you are the only person that can make that decision! I tell people that Yoga is not just about flexibility of the body, it's so much more than that. It helps build strength in the body, mind and soul. It's important to realise that each body is different and our muscles and build are different, meaning that for some people it takes 2-3 years to become flexible and others may take 4 or even 5 years to get to where they want to be. As long as you continue each day to reach your goals on your flexibility, you will get there no matter how long it takes!

 

What is a mantra that you live by?

I try to be a kind and compassionate person so I like to live by the Om shanti, shanti, shanti mantra. I just think that peace is important for many of us, but we can get so consumed into the every-day craziness that is our world, that we forget about it, and I really try to bring peace to anyone that I encounter. It's a nice reminder to think about the bigger picture and what is really significant in life. I have also recently spent some time studying New Moon wishes and change my mantra each cycle depending on my goals!

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How has Yoga benefited you?

It has benefited me in so many ways! Not only do I physically feel stronger and more flexible each week, I have found that Yoga has increased my positivity, self-esteem and outlook on my future. It's the perfect way to let go of things that no longer serve you and concentrate on what does, and to continue embracing what does! It becomes more of a lifestyle than just exercise/practice. 

Which pose has helped to increase your flexibility?

I'd have to say Reclining Big Toe pose (supta padangusthasana). Just because of it's importance at the beginning of practice and it's a way I can visually measure how my flexibility is going. Each session I find that my legs are straightening out more and are are reclining closer towards me, so it motivates me to keep going and if I do become tight from not practicing enough, I know I need to put more time and effort in. 

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