MythBuster: Yoga is for Pretzels
Perhaps the one single biggest myth about yoga is that it’s for Cirque du Soleil retirees. “But I’m not flexible”, is usually the first thing I hear when people explain why they don’t do yoga.
True, with time and dedication, yoga can and will help you become more flexible. It will also help you gain more strength, and this is often an overlooked component and benefit of yoga.
Be Aware of The Unprotected Stretch
Do you know someone in your life who is extremely flexible, who can contort in all sorts of out-of-this-world positions, but would probably get swept away if the wind blew by? My mom is like this. She can get into Lotus Pose with no problems. She doesn’t even really need to warm up. Me? I have to do 4 hours of hips and hamstrings and quads work, just to maybe get in 20 seconds of Lotus. When it comes to strength, however, that’s where I get my revenge.
I did Muay Thai kickboxing and competitive running all through high school and part of college, and I have been rock climbing for 8 years. I’m much stronger than my mom, but I’m always tight somewhere, if not my hamstrings, then my shoulders, or hips, or lower back. I have definitely felt the pressure to be a human Play Doh, especially when there’s that really annoyingly flexible person next to me in yoga class.
Imagine my relief when I learned this axiom:
The area where you’re creating the greatest mobility is also the area where you must be creating the greatest stability
– Theresa Elliott
In other words, you don’t want *only* flexibility. In fact, you have a greater chance of going in your ligaments if you stretch without any muscular strength.
Show them You’re the Boss
Britney Spears had it all wrong, you’re the boss, not the slave. You don’t need to prove how strong you are or how flexible you are by doing yoga. The yoga poses are meant to reveal to ourselves what’s really going on with our body. Where is it strong? Where is it flexible? Where does it need more work? Where does it need to be refrained? If you are a pretzel, yoga can be just as useful to you as it would be for a bodybuilder, and vice versa.
So, on your list of Good Things that Go Together, mac ‘n cheese, peanut butter and honey, chips and salsa, please welcome this fabulous couple: Mobility and Stability.