Updated: Oct 13, 2019
Your practice on the mat helps you gain flexibility in the body and mind so that when you walk off your mat, you’re more go with the flow than “oh no!”
People sometimes share with me the reasons they haven’t tried yoga. Many say they don’t have time for a practice but the most common reason I hear? They’re not flexible enough.
Pause right there. Because that’s the point.
Yoga helps you gain flexibility in the body and the mind. The flexibility you learn on your mat is the same flexibility that benefits you off your mat in your everyday life. You become more agile and responsive to change, so that you’re more go with the flow than “oh no!”
For example, if your partner cancels dinner date plans because they have to work late, the flexibility you learn on your mat can help with a flexible response in editing your evening plans. If you sign your kid up for soccer but they don’t want to play and, instead, they decide to roll themselves up in the curtains in the gym for an hour of fun (true story), the flexibility (and patience!) you learn on your mat can help with that, too.
When it comes to flexibility or pretty much anything, you have to start somewhere, so why not start where you are right now? See where you are with the flexibility in your hamstrings with this simple forward fold.
Practice It: Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
Stand with feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides.
Inhale as you float your arms to either side and then up toward the sky. On an exhale, float your arms to either side and from your hips, fold forward, placing your hands on something, such as the ground, your feet, your legs, a block or a chair.
Keep the crown of your head facing down.
If your hamstrings or low back are super tight, you’ll know it, so keep a soft bend in your knees.
Breathe here for a few moments. To come back to standing, bend your knees and roll up to standing one notch at a time, stacking hips over ankles, shoulders over hips and head over heart as your shoulders roll back and reset.
How did that feel?
Over time, your hamstrings start to lengthen and you'll notice that your hands reach an inch further down your legs or to the ground. You're giving yourself an extra inch of space, which represents growth and moving forward.
The practice of flexibility (and yoga) take time and nurturing, but they’re so worth it. Try it and let me know how it goes!