Susan Wyler, Senior Teacher at TheHotTT
From the inception, the series of 26 postures has been for beginners. You do not have to be young or fit or flexible to do yoga; you don’t even have to be able to stand on your own two feet. I worked with one forty something year old man, born with cerebral palsy, who could not extend his right arm or stand on one leg, and over time (about a year of regular practice) he was able to do the whole routine without my help. In the 80’s, when yoga was beginning to boom in Los Angeles, Bikram’s studio was the one place where I’d see old people, overweight people, people with physical infirmities, tight overwrought athletes, injured ballet dancers — a whole spectrum of types — all transforming their bodies (each in their own particular way) with the series of 26 and 2.
Emily Burke, Senior Teacher at TheHotTT
Absolutely not! When someone says they aren’t flexible enough to do yoga, it is the equivalent to saying that they are not strong enough to lift weights. One of the many physical benefits you receive from yoga is a more balanced body. Flexibility and strength grow with each day you practice. As for being fit, well, we all know that the image of fit, most of the western world sees is far from accurate. Every person and every body is unique. Yoga will give you what your body truly needs to be at your best physically, emotionally and perhaps even spiritually. You will learn to listen inside, and not to all those silly magazines!
Charmaline Edmund Arvin, Teacher at TheHotTT
Yoga postures are designed to strengthen and develop our will as well as our body. It is with our will that our body develops, but also with yoga, at the same time, we are developing our will by exercising it as it is taught in the yoga practice. You will achieve fitness and flexibility as a result of a persistent yoga practice. However, your initial goal with yoga should be focusing on awareness of your body and breath. From this awareness will come control and from these will come fitness and flexibility.
Cindy Lunsford, Teacher at TheHotTT
This is one of the most common misperceptions about yoga that I encounter with potential students. Many people tell me they don’t do yoga because they are not flexible to do yoga……obviously that is one very good reason to start doing yoga! Like anything physical, it takes time, patience, dedication and perseverance to become yoga-fit and flexible. If you were going to run a marathon, you wouldn’t run 26.2 miles the first day of training…..and it’s really no different with yoga. What I love about yoga, though, is it really is a lifetime practice and there is always room for improvement.
Lisa Marie, Support Teacher at TheHotTT
No, but you do have to WANT to be fit and flexible! We are born flexible and reasonably healthy, and then… life happens. We eat crappy foods, we get injured in one way or the other (or several ways), we spend lots of time sitting or hunched over a table or steering wheel, and we end up not so fit and not so flexible. A regular yoga practice is a practical and self empowering way to begin to undo all the little insults and injuries that have happened to your body over the years, and a way to step forward with health and vigor. Results don’t happen overnight, but then, it took a long time for your body to get to where it is at now! While some results can be measured in inches and pounds, beyond the physical benefits, yoga just plain out makes your brain feel good. There is an art to relaxing, and yoga helps your body and mind relax and enjoy life more. While these feelings and physical results are often promised via drugs, you can get them reliably and safely through yoga, resulting in a healthier (and more flexible) you!
Rebecca Rankin, Senior Teacher at TheHotTT
This yoga is not just about becoming flexible. Instead, it promotes a balance between strength and flexibility. Flexibility, like strength and endurance, is built over time and with patience, perseverance and regular practice. You will begin to see your body open up and change in ways you never imagined possible. The quote from the great tennis player, Arthur Ashe fits this perfectly. ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’ That is the key to an attainable and sustainable yoga practice.
Ryan McCourt, Support Teacher at TheHotTT
Not at all. Too many people compare themselves with experts in an area and find their differences to be a reason to not start a new practice. People won’t go on a jog, because they are afraid they will be judged for not being able to run a marathon the first day. Yoga, just as any other practice, is all about seeing progress in yourself over time. Marathon runners weren’t able to do that their first day, just as yogi’s weren’t able to do the advanced series on their first try. They went in on their first day and found they had room for improvement and strove for that improvement.
Jeannie Savage, Support Teacher at TheHotTT
Not at all. Being stretchy or flexible doesn’t make you better at yoga. Yoga practice is about the journey, being consistent and showing up. That’s why it is a practice. I was having a difficult time with back bends. When I say having a difficult time, I mean mentally. My thoughts led me to believe I should physically be able to bend back more. I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t able to look further down the wall or bring my arms back more by my ears while doing so. I gave myself the time to be upset about it and I started thinking differently. I noticed while back bending, it was easier for me to breath while lifting up and going back and I felt a lot more open. My heart was more open. That is progress. Most of the time, it is not our bodies that need to instantly be altered, it is our way of thinking. Guess what!? Yoga will continue to help with those thoughts! Win-win.