“The purpose of yoga is awareness, not perfected poses, beliefs, or any kind of attainment. Awareness from moment to moment requires quiet strength, flexibility, and balance. A good Yoga practice develops exactly these characteristics.”  ~Jim Gaudette

Quality 23:  Flexible

Good yoga teachers are flexible but flexibility does not begin and end within the physical body.  Often beginning yoga students, or those considering yoga, approach the practice as being a way to stretch their bodies as far as possible or with a flippant roll of the eyes and sigh, “I’d love to go do some easy yoga and stretch.”  Good yoga teachers understand that the those who have not been exposed to yoga have the misconception that stretching is easy and flexibility is given at birth and cannot be altered.

Good yoga teachers have devoted many long and challenging hours to become better in their own practice and as teachers.  Teaching, and not practice, primarily develops their flexibility.  Good yoga teachers learn through experience that flexibility sets the course and format of each class.  Flexibility in teaching is predicated upon flexibility in each individual student, which is predicated upon genetics, current fitness level and mental attitude – to name only a few.

Flexibility develops through the practice of yoga as an external and observable example of the flexibility that simultaneously develops within each practitioner.  Yoga practice aims to help each person become more fully alive, vibrant and connected to their own humanity and to others, with flexibility – the ability to change – as a building block.  Flexibility is not a pre-requisite for beginning a yoga practice or for continuing a yoga practice.  Flexibility develops as a RESULT of yoga practice.

Have you ever felt that yoga would be too difficult and at the same time not the “tough” kind of workout you’d expect?  Perhaps you should try a class with a good yoga instructor and be flexible to the possibilities that you might encounter as you step out into the unknown.