I often hear this as an excuse from people as to why they haven’t tried yoga (asana). My simple response is usually “well, that’s why you do yoga – to help make you more flexible”.
The reality is yoga isn’t about being able to touch your toes. Yes, the asana practice will physically stretch your body out and expose you to muscles you didn’t know existed. But yoga is really a process of self-discovery – discovering yourself as you move your body, actively breath and quiet your mind.
The practice of yoga (asana) brings us back to our natural state of balance. Yoga is a Sanskrit term that translates to union. In our natural state, the body, mind and spirit are aligned/united and co-exist in a balance state of peace.
Consider babies for a moment. Most are born into the world as bundles of joy –free of stress and tension and happy to simply “be”. Babies have bendy bodies – they can touch their toes with their nose! They’re always present – fully in the moment. Their souls are completely innocent.
As we age and experience life, we accumulate tension and toxins (T&T). To grow as a human (physically, mentally and spiritually), there really is no way around T&T – it’s normal. Unfortunately, for many people T&T starts to feel like a natural state of being. Our minds become ingrained with toxic thoughts, constant worries and never shut off. Our souls get lost in the chaos of life, blocking our true selves from fully shining. Our bodies become stiff and uncomfortable. And we forget that life happens in the moment, not in the past or future.
The asana practice has the power to release T&T, heal our bodies, clear our minds and open our hearts. Through the process of self-discovery, we learn self-acceptance and that all of us are perfect just as we are. The world would be a boring place if we all looked the same and could all bend into pretzels. Finally, the beauty of the asana practice is the more you unroll your yoga mat, the more you’ll discover about yourself and the greater chance you’ll have at touching your toes – maybe one day with your nose!