Inflexible Yogi? Here Are 4 Ways to Increase Your Flexibility

Inflexible Yogi? 4 Ways to Increase Your Flexibility

I am without a doubt one of the most inflexible people you will meet -  and I’m also a yoga teacher. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m sure you can understand why this could be a disadvantage for a yoga teacher, but I’ve found a way to use it to my (and my student’s) advantage. 

About two years ago, after practicing yoga for five years very sporadically, I decided to enroll in teacher training at Core Power to become a 200hr RYT. I fell in love and have since started teaching, but I come from a strength training background. And ever since I was six years old, touching my toes has been a challenge.

I used to feel embarrassed in a yoga class when I couldn’t lay my forehead on my shins during a forward fold or keep my shin at a 90 degree angle during half pigeon. But I realized a few different things: 

  1. Everyone’s joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons are different. And while some people can move like Gumby on a yoga mat, other people’s structures simply aren’t made for that. 

  2. Other people can relate to being less flexible than most yoga teachers, so I’m able to make students comfortable and teach them what I’ve learned on my flexibility journey. Don’t shy away from teaching yoga just because you aren’t super flexible if it’s something you want to do!

  3. The practice of yoga is so much more than just the asanas. It’s easy to get caught up in creating photo worthy poses, but remember to come back to the idea that yoga is about the union with the universal self and poses are only part of it. 

Are you also an inflexible yogi? Here are 4 tips to help you increase your flexibility:

  1. Consistency is key. Instead of stretching once a week for 30 minutes, try once or twice/day for 5-10 minutes.

  2. Use props! Yoga blocks and straps are lifesavers. One of my faves: lay on your back, stretch one leg out on the ground, loop the other foot into the strap and press the sole of your foot towards the ceiling for a hamstring stretch. Continue to pull your foot closer to your forehead. 

  3. Perform strength movements that aid in flexibility like a deep goblet squat (hip mobility), Romanian deadlift (hamstring flexibility) and pull-ups (hang for a shoulder and latissimus dorsi stretch). 

  4. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing on their mat. Classes are great because it’s nice to be a part of the community, but remember that nobody is judging your practice!