What do you picture when you think of yoga? While some may have different ideas of what exactly yoga entails, most have a very familiar reaction to the concept of this ancient discipline. At the mere sound of the word, we picture a person (or, to use a better word, virtually a contortionist) wrapped in to some seemingly impossible pose. We see legs behind ears, backs twisted in to almost incomprehensible shapes and poses. It all looks positively terrifying, we consider; even if the human body can bend like that in some situations, following intense training, that doesn’t necessarily mean it should!
These images often feature celebrities, particularly Madonna, who is a big fan of proving just how flexible she is even though she’s in her sixth decade. While impressive (and to some, freaky), these pictures of impossible poses are not really a true reflection of what yoga is, or what it’s trying to achieve. Taken further, one could argue these poses are actually off-putting for people who want to try yoga – but are quite sure their foot does not, and never will, belong behind their ears.
If you have always been curious about yoga, but somewhat scared that your first class will end in pain, fear no more. You do not, under any circumstances, need to be super flexible to try yoga. It is the discipline itself that allows these extreme poses to be possible, and achieving such feats can take years of dedication and practice – and even then it is entirely option. Yoga will increase your flexibility, but you don’t need to have a core flexibility to begin to learn yoga. Stiff and non-bendy people are just as welcome as the Madonnas of this world!