|| URGH…. Flexibility ||
Some of us are gifted with being naturally flexible and have never known what it’s like for Downwards Dog (Ardho Mukha Svansana) to feel horrendous. I have great news… you do not need to be a noodle to do yoga. I was pretty stiff when I started yoga. Being sporty growing up and then sitting at a desk for several years my muscles adapted to my lifestyle. My hamstrings, shoulders, hips and upper back are my problem areas and when I started yoga pretty much every pose was hard. I remember feeling as though teachers would hold me in Downwards Dog and Warrior II FOREVER. My shoulders would burn and my ego would get the best of me. I did not want to give up. It seemed as though everyone else in the class was finding it a breeze, so I would try and muscle through it. I learnt pretty quickly that this was not sustainable and I had to modify for my body. Becoming aware of your body and learning to modify your practice to suit your needs is really important. It frustrates me when teachers make students feel as though they’re a beginner for using blocks and props because this isn’t necessarily the case... at all! We are all different shapes and sizes with different bone structures so to avoid injury you need to learn what modifications you should be taking for your body.
The good news is the body adapts and changes so much faster then one might think. However, practice is key, even if it’s 2-3 times a week or 10 minutes a day but the body will start to unravel and open.
My shoulders really suffered when I first started yoga and I see this regularly when I teach. If you suffer from 'desk shoulders' here are some arm variations in some standing poses that you can play with. There are tonnes of modifications in yoga so don’t be shy to ask advice from your teachers or to question why they’ve recommended to use a prop.