A big component of yoga is flexibility, with many of the poses requiring you to be pretty bendy in your hamstrings, hips, and back. That’s why beginners to yoga who aren’t naturally flexible can find themselves getting really frustrated when they go to a class and have a hard time touching their toes or doing downward-facing dog.
If that’s your experience, don’t worry. It’s totally normal. Yoga-level flexibility takes time to build up and we’re all starting from a different place. These tips should help you bridge the gap from “naturally inflexible” to “yoga pro.”
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Chances are that the people in your yoga class who can easily fold themselves in half have been doing yoga for years, so don’t judge yourself if you can’t bend the way that they can yet. Everybody is on their own journey and you can only compare yourself to yourself.
Breathe Into It
Getting into deep stretches can be pretty uncomfortable and a lot of people respond by holding their breath. That’s actually the worst thing you can do, as taking slow, deep, steady breaths can help you relax into a stretch, feeling more comfortable and getting deeper into it.
Props like yoga straps and blocks are tools made specifically to help people perform yoga poses when they’re not quite flexible enough yet to do it without. There’s no shame in using them and they can be tremendously useful in helping you achieve yoga poses wherever you are in your flexibility journey.