I am amazed at how often I hear people say this in response to trying out yoga. “Sure you can," I say with a big smile: “just bend your knees... and a lot!”
I am serious about that, for real~ I have everyone bend their knees in a forward fold.
The purpose of yoga isn’t to be able to touch your toes nor is that a prerequisite for trying out a yoga class or considering yourself as “someone who can do yoga.”
Rather, its about showing up and doing what you can do.
It is important to choose a class that fits what you're looking for too: such as an all levels class (includes beginners as well as intermediate), or a gentle beginner's class to assist you in getting introduced to the practice of yoga. There are many variations and styles out there (including instructors) to choose from in order to find the right fit for you. Be willing to try something new and unexpected: I have many who say they don't like the heat and won't come to a hot yoga class. I say, "give it try, you may hate it or you might love it, see what happens." There have been many surprised that they love heated yoga despite what they thought.
There are many in the mindset that yoga is unavailable to them because they do not feel they are flexible enough, a tracking point being that are unable to touch their toes.
You do not have to be flexible in order to do yoga!
“ACK! “ and they don’t come and they have no idea they are missing out on the potential deliciousness yoga has to offer!
Yoga has so much more to do with meeting your body wherever it is in its realm of physical fitness and flexibility or lack there of!
Moving your body, opening your heart up, expanding your perspective is vital for a healthy vibrant life, AND yoga can assist you in all that.
When we feel good in our bodies, we are strong, confident, balanced and happy.
To feel good in your body and recognize where you may not feel so good is all part of the practice. Some days we feel like a rockstar on our mats and our bodies flow with strength, ease and freedom and other days we just aren't feeling so stellar and our bodies move like lead, we struggle through the poses and perhaps we want to F'in curse and cry ~or both. It's the same experience off our mats.
AND that’s ok! This is all part of the experience in yoga and in life. RIGHT?!
The challenge is to make it what you want it to be, for you have the power to create your experience by simply shifting how you think about it.
More often than not (99% of the time?) we cannot control our circumstances of life around us. We can, however, control our responses to circumstances of life and even that is a challenge and requires practice. So it's important to remember that you have the ability to BEGIN AGAIN, to re-create yourself anew at any moment.
A good place to begin is on your mat. Practice accepting yourself as you move through the asanas (yoga postures), Especially if you are brand new to a class. It takes time to figure out what “Utanasa” is (if your instructor is throwing out sanskrit) or common names like“downward facing dog” and to experience it in your body. It's like anything else in life, the more you practice, the more familiar and confident you feel.
Do not judge yourself, criticize yourself and for sure practice letting go of comparing yourself to others. Comparison is “the thief of joy” and you don’t need to make yourself feel like crap especially when you have already hurdled the fears and excuses in order to be able to show up on your mat.
You already are victorious~Because you showed up on your mat and that takes courage!
So go for it and revel in the fact that you cannot touch your toes and instead be curious about the practice , how it feels in your body, what you can experience in each moment and release any expectations. You are not there on your mat to prove anything to anyone, but simply to be in your body, finding self-expression and breathing. It's that simple.
Your yoga practice is about your own awareness into your self, you own growth and transformation. Be open to the experience of yoga through being present and the idea that: anything is possible.
When you commit to your yoga practice and persevere, who knows someday you may be able to touch your toes (wink).