One of the top reasons people give for not taking yoga classes is that they worry they aren’t flexible enough. This insecurity should never prevent people from practicing yoga. Yoga classes are made to be customizable so that they can be tailored to each person’s abilities.
What is flexibility?
Believe it or not, muscles don’t determine flexibility. It’s the nervous system that’s responsible for how flexible a person is or not. People think that by pushing their muscles they can improve flexibility, but this can actually cause injury. Flexibility isn’t about pulling muscles until they stretch, but rather it’s about teaching muscles to relax once they’ve reached their current limits.
The number one tip for improving flexibility is practice, so keep hitting those yoga classes. Here are a few other tips to help you:
- Play with limits: Don’t force yourself beyond your limits, but don’t play it safe either. The only way to grow and learn is to play along the edge of what your body can do.
- Stay awhile: Once you reach your flexibility limit, stay in that position for a while. Muscles need time to relax so staying in a position for a while will give them time to loosen. Staying in a pose for five minutes will give such a deep relaxation to your muscles you should immediately be able to compare the difference.
- Use breath: We all know yoga is about breathing, so use those skills in improving flexibility too. With every inhale, make sure your body is in a good position, and with every exhale let yourself sink deeper into the pose.
- Stay calm: We already established that flexibility is about nerves, which has to do with the brain. If you are afraid or fearful while holding a position, your muscles will respond to that and tighten up. Keep yourself calm and remind yourself it’s safe. If you’re relaxed, your muscles will be too.
- Practice: Like we said, practice is the best tip for becoming more flexible. Keep up with yoga and other exercises to maintain and improve flexibility.
Don’t let any fears about flexibility hold you pack from practicing yoga or taking a class. There is no judgment in yoga. Everyone’s bodies are different, and some of the most dedicated yogis still don’t have great flexibility. Keep up with practicing, and listen to your body’s limits. Stay off with a slower yoga class, like Yin yoga, if you’re worried about difficulty. Check out our schedule to sign up for a class today. We look forward to seeing you soon. Namaste!