Myth: Yoga People Are “Bendy”


My hamstrings and I have a long-standing agreement: every morning on my mat, they cooperate and lengthen just enough to keep me from pulling my hair out. They’re stubborn though, and they have been for as long as I can recall. I danced when I was young, and I recall being envious of the “bendy” girls who didn’t have to spend nearly as much time stretching as I did.

Be honest: do you think of yoga and get an image in your mind of some crazy pretzel-like poses that only contortionists could pull off?


I seriously would like to smack this guy (but that wouldn’t be very yogic of me).

When the topic of yoga comes up in a group setting, I almost always encounter someone who has never done it before, and that person usually says something along the lines of “I’m just not flexible enough to do yoga”.

I get it. I see the covers of Yoga Journal and Time Magazine…the impressive photos are the ones that make us “ooh” and “ahh”, not the ones of everyday people doing a simple seated twist.

Here are the facts:

  1. ANYONE can do yoga.
  2. Gaining flexibility is a benefit of yoga (along with a LONG list of other things that benefit not just the body, but the mind and spirit as well)…but it’s not a pre-requisite.Have I gotten more flexible since I began practicing in 1986? Of course! But there have also been times when my practice had to be greatly modified or paused altogether due to surgery, injury or illness. There was a period of 14 months in which my practice was solely mental and spiritual, while I recovered from spinal meningitis…but that’s another story for another blog post, or 5…  😉
  3. Flexibility is not only physical, but mental.
    When I think of being “bendy”, I think in terms of my mind as well as my body. Every day is different for me as far as how my body feels, and also how I’m thinking. To be mentally flexible requires being open to different perspectives, and for me it means easing up on the stubborn sauce…not always an easy task!

Of course, having practiced, taught, and treated others with yoga (therapy) for as long as I have, you KNOW I’m bound to recommend it for just about everyone, right? True…my readers are very bright.

So consider this: be flexible to something new today. Whether it’s yoga or an idea that you have never entertained, be open to it. While it may not land you on the cover of Time Magazine, you will at least feel good about yourself!

 This post is part of the FYB “31 Days to Quiet the Voices in Your Head” series.
Read more about it HERE.

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