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Many people think that yoga is all about flexibility, with some not even wanting to try a class because they feel that they are too stiff. The funny thing is that yoga is far better for those that are stiff…and further these kinds of people are actually better at yoga!

To understand this better we need to take a brief foray into the meaning and aim of yoga. Although we in the West often view yoga as a way to find physical fitness and health…the science of yoga actually has far loftier aims. The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit, yuge, which means to unite. The scope of yoga is to unite the duality within our consciousness that creates a separation between the Self and the Divine (God, universe, energy, source, Christ). In the body this is represented and manifested by the split or relationship between body and mind. And by the inhale and exhale.

“Asana practice at its best, balances action and resistance”.

Action is the force of movement into a posture and resistance is the force resisting that movement. The balancing point of where these two meet is Yoga. Too much of either one creates an unbalanced asana and body.

A true yogic state is non-dual, one in which there is no tension. Our mind is not stuck categorising our experience in success or failure, good pose or bad pose. The key is that we can come to this balanced state even if we are not flexible and even if we are not mastering difficult poses. It is all about the inner state of balance that the pose can bring us to. Ironically someone doing a perfect form of a difficult pose may not be in a balanced and blissful inner state…in which case you can say that even though it ‘looks like’ yoga, it is not.

So at the meeting point of action and resistance we find balance and presence, so long as we keep breathing. When students reach this point, instead of surrendering into the balance of the posture, they either push past the resistance into pain (and cause damage to their bodies in the process), or they give up and quit the pose. Surrendering to the experience of this balancing point, however deep or shallow into the posture it may come, is yoga. This surrender is always accompanied by a continuous and comfortable breath. If we hold our breathe unnecessarily (unless guided to for specific asanas by your teacher) it implies tension.

Students who are stiff find this balancing point between action and resistance easily and this generates a good flow of energy within the body. Over flexible students can often go fully into a pose without ever finding this point, and thus missing out on the prana created.

So good new for all you flexible yogis and potential yogis out there. Don’t worry if you are not flexible, focus on finding that balance point and maintaining your presence and breathe. In time (quite quickly if you practice often) that point of resistance will move deeper and deeper into the stretch. You will naturally increase your flexibility whilst getting a lot of the benefits of conscious breathing and meditation along the way.

View our Yoga Timetable Here **** 2 new vinyasa classes being added next week {Monday 7.30pm + Wednesday 6pm}

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