But What if I'm Not Flexible?
Updated: Feb 2, 2021
When I first began my yoga teacher training, I asked my very sweet and very un-bendy husband if I could practice teaching him. I could see the internal battle rage behind his eyes…"I want to support her, but why does she have to ask me?"
"Surely she could ask a girlfriend. My shoulder is still messed up. If I say no, will she be mad? Does that make me a bad husband? I wonder if I’d earn enough brownie points to get that AR-15...I mean how hard could yoga be…?” After a bit of hesitation, he agreed.
That first ‘class’ I took him through a 15-minute yoga session, being careful to offer modifications for his injured shoulder. What I hadn’t anticipated was that some of the ‘easy’ poses, like child’s pose, were nearly impossible for him. His hamstrings were tight, and his ankles were stiff. The session ended with us both feeling a little disappointed - me because I hadn’t been able to come up with modifications on the fly and him because he felt like he had failed at yoga.
Thankfully, I was training under a very experienced yogi - Barbara Morrison at the Texas Yoga Center - who specializes in teaching people with flexibility and balance challenges from the elderly to those with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) to yoga newbies. As I progressed in my teacher training, I was better able to anticipate the need for modifications and to offer them seamlessly and gracefully. This allowed me to make yoga doable for my husband, which both of us greatly appreciated.
When it came time for me to teach my first real class - I reached out to friends and family to see who could attend. To my surprise a dear friend in the 70+ category was the first to respond. I was overjoyed and nervous. She had never done yoga before! I took a deep breath, planned a beginner-friendly class, and thought through modifications for every move. It was a success! My friend was so excited to have finally done yoga - something she had wondered about for years. She even said at the end of the class that she was so surprised that she had been able to fully participate in the class.
The fact is that yoga - if taught correctly - is obtainable by anyone. Modifications allow yogis to do poses at their ability level, whether they are facing injuries, inflexibility, balance challenges or muscular weaknesses. Yoga can help alleviate all these issues in time. A regular yoga practice builds strength, flexibility, and balance. So really, it doesn’t matter if you can touch your toes, lift your arms over your head or stand on one foot. Find a good teacher, a beginner-friendly yoga class and get started.
And in case you were wondering if my husband still practices yoga - check out my testimonials section. He even offered to leave a review!