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January 20, 2016

 Inner Fire

By Inner Fire Luminary: Cheyenne Ravarino

Flexibility. That dreaded F-word that can sometimes make us feel shitty about our yoga practice. How many times have you heard: "Oh no I can't do yoga, I'm not flexible enough!"  Or how many times have you said that yourself?   The truth is, I am a yoga teacher, and I'm not flexible. I have a secret for you: You don't need to be flexible to do yoga!

When I first started yoga 5 years ago, I could barely touch my knees when I was
bending forward. Uttanasana was a nightmare, Paschimottanasana was hell.

I never thought I was not flexible enough to do yoga, I just thought I would never
do hard poses like Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana, or worse, Hanumanasana.  But, when I started practicing more than three times a week, I began to realize all the progress I was making.

The good thing when you're not flexible is that you don't have to go deep in a pose
to have the benefits of it. Being too flexible can even be a problem, you can hurt
yourself because you have to go very deep in a pose to feel it. On the other hand,
when you're not flexible, it's a bit frustrating to see those people with
their feet behind their heads and I know yoga is not about ego, and you're not supposed to look at the people around you in a class, because it's YOUR practice, but let's be honest; it took me a long time to absorb that part of yoga, and my first two years I kept looking at that girl who could do whatever she wants with her body, while I was struggling to reach my feet in forward fold.

When I decided to take my teacher training course, a little voice inside of me was
telling me I was a fraud, and that everybody in the training would somehow come from
"Cirque du Soleil", and that I will be ridiculous. That ended up motivating me to practice more.  And the more I practiced, the more I enjoyed it. 

And that's how it happened, first, I was not paying attention to that super flexible
girl/guy anymore, or if I did it was just to appreciate how beautiful she or he was
in their practice. Then, I started to do things I couldn't dream of a few years ago
(mostly because I was not trying enough!).

When I was 12 years old I was going to a gymnast club for kids and teenagers, and I
was trying very hard to do the splits. I never came close to it.  I never thought I
would do it one day and so I never tried again. Last week end (a few decades later)
after a nice practice, I was walking by the beach and I decided to give it a try.
And here I was: doing the splits.  Not a perfect one, but closer than I've ever been

So yes, if you're not flexible, do yoga! You will improve, get rid off that
stiffness, and feel so much better in your body!  Nothing will beat the feeling you'll have when you'll manage to do something you thought was impossible. The feeling of finally beginning to communicate properly with your body. If you've found yourself avoiding yoga because you are not flexible, I strongly advise you take the chance.

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