“I’m Not Flexible Enough to do Yoga”

I have a sweet friend who is stretched nearly to the limit. Like many of us, she’s got her share of troubles: family in-fighting, a teenager trying to find her place in a world that wants to label and discard her, and doing three jobs to keep the lights on. The stress in her eyes, jaw, and voice are intense. I’ll say this much: I wouldn’t want to be on her bad side!

I suggested that she consider yoga. “Girl, I can’t even bend over to tie my shoes – what makes you think I could get all the way down to the floor?!” Ok. Raise your hand if you’re a yoga instructor and you’ve heard the I’m-not-flexible-enough-for-yoga thing. Yeah, it’s out there. Probably the most common misconception people have about yoga. You don’t do yoga because you’re flexible; you do yoga because flexibility can be a benefit you reap when you practice yoga.

There are plenty of beautiful pictures out there of men and women who “look” like they wouldn’t be doing yoga, but they are doing it and are healthier and stronger than they were before they started. I told my friend that my fear of yoga pants was what kept me from starting. Isn’t that ridiculous? But I remember hearing as a child, “It isn’t the healthy who need a doctor, it’s the sick.” People who look hot in yoga pants might benefit from the practice, but those of us who don’t look that good in tight clothes will benefit even more from yoga. The meditative focus of certain kinds of yoga bring peace to the inner mind, the soul, and that’s when your body starts to respond. Yoga as the Doctor is good for the sick soul, the weary mind, and helps us find the ability to function in a world that is largely out of our control. I want to give this gift to my friend.

I wish everyone who feels the way she does about yoga would find the courage to go to a class or even find an online yoga series to practice at home. But you do have to really want it, don’t you? If someone had talked me into going to a class when I didn’t want to, I’m pretty sure I would never have gone back. But when I really needed help, I gave it a shot. It’s been a game changer for me, and I know it has been that for thousands and thousands of others. Maybe when my friend is ready, she’ll join me in the yoga mat life.