There are more and more images of people doing yoga in the media. This is a good and bad thing. It is good that yoga is growing, and more people are learning the benefits of yoga. One of the not so good things is the images of people in what I call the “party trick” poses. Those images may be beautiful; however, some of those poses require extreme flexibility or range of motion. It can make people feel like yoga is not for them or that those poses are the goal of yoga.
Having the goal that one day, with enough practice we can obtain that extreme flexibility can be unrealistic. There are three factors that affect your flexibility. Our bone structure, Our joint capsule, and our muscles. We can not really do much about our bone structure. We can only do a little to increase the elasticity of your joint capsule. The only thing we have some control to change is the tightness of our muscles.
Our bodies are different shapes and sizes. Some people have the bone structure that allows for more range of motion others do not. This is one of the reasons every body looks a little different in yoga poses. For me, the goal of yoga is not to obtain extreme range of motion in order to fit my body into some crazy shape. The benefits of yoga go far beyond increasing your flexibility. I practice yoga to feel stronger and move with more ease in my body and feel more peaceful in my mind.