I am not flexible to do yoga

The perception of a yogi is one of a lithe elastic band type person who can ravel their body into all sorts of manic positions, levitate on the spot many people might tell you  that you are not a true yogi until you can levitate and fold themselves at least in half once both backwards and forwards.

The truth is that if you can breathe, you can practice yoga, simple.

Yoga in the true sense of the word is simply a union and despite the practice being predominantly physical in the western world there are actually five main branches:

Raja Yoga - royal/meditation

Karma Yoga - discipline of action

Jnana Yoga - path of knowledge

Bhakti Yoga - loving devotion

Hatha Yoga - physical practice

For the purpose of this article we'll focus on the physical practice. Although breath is our life force, unless we are short of it many people don't actually pay much attention to their breathing at all. In working with our breath and extending it (which yoga works to do) we can bring about a whole myriad of benefits to our mind, body and spirit (yes we do have a spirit even if we choose to believe we don't or cannot see it!).

Yoga invites you to simply come to the mat as you are; inflexible, stressed, tall, short, fat, thin, tired, energetic, depressed, unfit and with whatever ailments you may or may not have. Simply just as you are and to work with your breath as you are. The benefits are for those who are present. Breath and movement work together creating a magical union that is practising yoga. It does not matter whether you can fold forwards and touch your toes or whether you simply bend your knees and bend an inch forward, you are breathing and moving and will reap the benefits.

Of course over time the practice deepens and you may progress in your practice to bend and ravel yourself into a yogi knot, or perhaps you won't, but that's the point. Much like the key to life, yoga is not about the end result, it is about the journey through it and each practice gives you a beginning, as you are, and sees you at the end, while you lie in savasana (corpse pose) allowing your body to assimilate the energy you have accumulated through your practice, restoring your body's natural balance.

Ultimately yoga weaves a peaceful path enabling you to live a much happier and healthier life. The benefits of yoga cannot be underestimated, so the next time someone mentions yoga, take a breath... be flexible (minded).

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