Do you have to be flexible to engage in yoga practice?

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  1. stephhicks68 profile image89
    stephhicks68posted 6 years ago

    Do you have to be flexible to engage in yoga practice?

    I have considered yoga, but I'm not flexible.  Are there classes for people like me?  Any tips for someone starting out in yoga?

  2. Marisa Wright profile image96
    Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago

    I think it depends very much on the teacher.  Most people will say you don't have to be flexible and that you do yoga to BECOME flexible - but I know plenty of people who signed up for a yoga class, then felt frustrated because they couldn't even get into the most basic postures, so it was hard to even get started.

    So I'd recommend calling a few teachers first, explain your situation and ask whether they have a suitable class. Be specific - don't say "I'm not flexible" because their idea of "not flexible" and yours is probably different.  Say what you can't do, e.g. "if I try to bend over and touch my toes, I can't even reach my knees".

    You could also try doing some leg stretching for a few weeks at home before you go: … -Stretches

  3. fascialhealth profile image60
    fascialhealthposted 6 years ago

    Some forms of yoga are more accommodating and use props, such as ropes, blocks, cushions etc. This is vital as it is very often the case that people do not pursue yoga because they are unable to get the benefit from the pose at the level they are at. This is where as a Fascial Stretch Therapist I can help with a programme to increase flexibility and help people get to a level of enjoyment using their bodies without a feeling that they are caught in areas of the body that move as a block instead of inter-dependantly See also movement progression should never be mechanical but more instinctive.

  4. profile image0
    stessilyposted 6 years ago

    Even those who think that they are already flexible discover expanded definitions of flexibility as they progress through yoga!
    Yoga studios with experienced, sensitive teachers certainly should have classes for all levels. Word of mouth should direct you to a reputable studio. Then let them know about your background and your goals and that you truly are a beginner. (P.S. With your diligent approach to training for marathons, including those important pre- and post- run stretches, you are more flexible than you think you are,)

  5. allpurposeguru profile image81
    allpurposeguruposted 6 years ago

    I'm taking a class that combines yoga moves, Pilates, and maybe some other odds and ends from time to time. The instructor can sit with her legs spread wide, bend over, and touch the floor with her face and, I think, have her hands on both ankles. Does that woman have any bones?

    But she always stresses that we should only do what we can. If it hurts, it's wrong. A few people in the class look nearly as flexible as the instructor. Most don't come anywhere near that. I certainly don't. Some other people in the class don't appear to be any more flexible than I am.

    Once I caught on that I should do what I can--and try to increase what that means--not try to keep up with anyone else, I don't consider flexibility a problem. My biggest problem is the balance poses. With my narrow feet, I'm the only person in the room wearing shoes, but at least I can keep upright on one foot and do all the other required stuff with my hands. Well, sort of. My "tree" pose looks like a tree in a tornado and my "eagle" pose looks more like a drunken duck. But I haven't fallen.

    You won't know what you can do until you try. And as long as you test your own limits and don't think you have to keep up with anyone else, you can certainly take a beginning yoga class--or Centergy or whatever my class is called, or anything similar. So give it a whirl and stick with it long enough to decide if you're receiving value from your efforts.

    You can always quit after six weeks or so if you don't think you're getting benefits sufficient for the energy you put into it. Quitting before you start is never a good option!

  6. profile image52
    kavitraposted 6 years ago

    Being flexible is not at all important to perform yoga. Yoga includes a lot of breathing exercises and meditation .You gain flexibility as you practise.I am a 14 year old and I attend yoga classes at school. I gained flexibility only by practising yoga. The only tip I can give you is that while doing yoga concentrate only in yourself.

  7. alliemacb profile image91
    alliemacbposted 6 years ago

    I do yoga on a daily basis and when I started, I was not at all flexible.  It teaches your body to move more freely and to channel your breathing properly to allow your body and mind to change.

  8. profile image0
    shahirslmn87posted 6 years ago

    Yes, you need to be flexible to do at-least some of the Yoga poses. But, it is not important to be flexible to start practicing yoga, because most of the starting yoga posses just involve breathing pattern. How to breath? How to sit? How to stand? e.t.c are some of the basic things we do in yoga initially.
    The flexibility will be coming into the picture after many other phases by when your body will be flexible to your moves and yoga poses. It's step by step process. Do not start directly at the middle. Start with simple exercises and then proceed.

  9. Eliminate Cancer profile image61
    Eliminate Cancerposted 6 years ago

    You build flexibility as you practice, but you always begin 'where you are'.  You approach the pose, even if you don't feel like you are getting there.  Props can help if you don't feel stable, but I have always preferred attempting a pose without props - you find  yourself sinking into it as you hold it longer.

  10. soconfident profile image82
    soconfidentposted 6 years ago

    Not really, but you'll become more flexible over time.

  11. TKirTigs profile image73
    TKirTigsposted 5 years ago

    You do not have to be flexible to do yoga - flexibility will come from the practice of yoga and time. Anyone can practice yoga, if they have the right attitude, and/or the right teacher. Ideally, you can find the perfect teacher and class for you that meets your needs. Some classes have students sit in chairs who might otherwise not be able to rise from the floor.

    When you are in a pose, it should feel comfortable and pleasant. Boring is fine. Pleasure is even better. Discomfort is not an option. If a pose is unpleasant, and you persist, you are no longer practicing yoga. You have crossed over into the world of self abuse. Ease up and relax and do not worry about the outward form of the pose. Modify your position in such a way that it is easy and comfortable, and then go just a little deeper. Be patient, and allow yoga to do its magic over a period of months and years.

    Try breathing into the area of your body being hardest worked in any pose. As you breath out, turn your awareness inward. Yoga is a feeling, a state of mind, Not simply the physical pose.

    Personal progress should never be considered. Do not compare yourself to others. Do not even compare yourself to your own past performances, or expectations. Any comparison is an unnecessary and dangerous distraction. It is best not to think in terms of how far you are stretching, or twisting, or how long you are holding; simply be aware of your present capacity, and explore the boundaries of your present limitations.

    Focus all of your energy into learning to enjoy the Asana itself so that you practice Yoga for the joy of practicing Yoga, and not for some imagined goal, whether it be health, relaxation, or whatever, they are all distractions that inhibit the practice of Yoga and thus interfere with their own fulfillment. Let them go! Surrender to each pose in turn. Concentrate on relaxing the muscles holding you back, not tightening those pulling you further into the pose. Move slowly, allowing the body time to adjust and stretch. If it feels good hold it, explore it, get as much out of it as possible, and then move on.


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