One Asana/pose in four different bodies = four different outcomes. Yet all perfectly where each body should be in that moment.
I recently went to a Stretch and relax class whilst away. I was aware that it wasn't yoga, but I was interested to see a different approach. The first thing the instructor said was, "If you are flexible you may find relaxation somewhere in this class...but if you are not - you won't"
Wow. How inviting...
This triggered me.
I had been chatting to the people attending the class, outside beforehand. A handful of ladies who were new to any kind of stretch class but were keen to give their body a treat.
Some of them hadn't tried yoga before as they thought they weren't flexible enough to join up. (You can imagine their faces and mine 3 mins into the class!) I totally understood what they were saying because I had the same train of thought before I started.
These assumptions and experiences often prevent people coming to the mat and experiencing the many different treasures that we can find to benefit us and our own body, heart and mind.
I love this photo of my friends and me at Wanderlust festival. It demonstrates the differences in the way we are made, the way our bodies were that day - in that particular moment. The benefits each body is receiving and lessons we are practicing will be different. Yet we are able to come together, to be present, hold the space and share energy to help one other. Inviting us to remain and accept what is there and then. No competition, no judgement, no comparison.
For some of us this asana may have felt delicious. For me the "inflexible one", 'delicious' is never a word that comes to mind when folding forward. Even though my job is to guide people through a practice-it doesn't mean I'm super bendy in every pose and can relax!! Far from it! Which is why I go to my mat time and time again. I am constantly practicing ways in which I can find ways to invite open up to relaxation. To practice patience, kindness and compassion. To make gaps between thoughts that are often planning, thinking about food, being unkind to self.
Personally, it starts with acceptance and gratitude. To honour my body and what it has to offer each day. Physically I find my edge but I now know I can go way beyond that . Beyond that shape in the body I can build strength, flexibity and balance in the heart and mind and still receive the treasures yoga has to offer.
Please don't let your flexibility put you off coming to the mat for the first time. Especially if you ever come to any of our classes - you might just surprise yourself!!