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Flexibility issues...

tofurkey2010-07-04 22:31:33 +0000 #1
hello- i am new.

i have been trying to do yoga on my own at home for quite some time. i have never taken a class due to social-phobia, and that i have small children and no babysitter.

i have several dvds, all of which i bought expecting more "beginner-ish" instruction. finally, i bought yoga journal's yoga for beginners with patrica walden. i have yet to watch the dvd, but found the little booklet made perfect sense to me and contained the poses i thought would be good to start with, however, when i attempt them, i am so stiff! i can not bend half-way down, she looks like a pretzel and i look like a banana.

i know the more i practice, the more flexibility i'll gain, but it seems as though i'll never get anywhere...i've been trying for months, but i still can't even come close to touching my ankles. it's very discouraging and i feel foolish.

further, maybe even more importantly, when i sit in lotus position, my top foot/ankle digs into my thigh and hurts and cuts off my circulation, leaving my legs asleep, which really takes away from relaxation and meditation...please tell me that doesn't last, or that i'm doing something wrong...

InnerAthlete2010-07-04 22:41:47 +0000 #2
Tofurkey, (love that)

One of the issues with working in the virtual yoga world of DVD's is that they are not customized to your body the way a class session might be. There's no actual relationship between student and teacher and what is being offered is designed to be "one-size-fits-all" and there's simply no such thing.

What is important about accessing theposes is the beginning sense of aligning the body so that it's energy may flow with less obstruction. You are not expected to be Patricia Waldner, nor am I and I'm not "new". Each person has a unique pose moving toward the ideal but likely never reaching it.

You may never "get anywhere" but you will have an experience in your body that will be invaluable (over time).

Bad Lotus. If you're a raw beginnner you have no business doing such a pose as it places flexibility demands on the hips that most "stiff" folk do not have. There is, however, a difference between lotus pose and sitting cross legged. In Lotus (Padmasana) the outer ankle bone is placed near the crease of the opposite hip. Please do not attempt such a pose until you are more open in the hip joint and can do the pose without risk to the knee joint. We've got enough injuries from yoga as it is.

Consider following the rule of "if you cannot then do not". If you cannot sit up with the legs crossed then uncross them. If you cannot initially sit up with length in your spine, sit against a wall. These will deevelop foundational actions in your body to progress slowly and safely in the poses.
yogiforlife2010-07-04 23:07:12 +0000 #3
I have one of Patricia Walden's, I would dare to say its not for beginners, I call it my "paperclip" session. You know when you bend a paperclip one way, then back the other, eventually it breaks, well thats what it feels like, forward bends, followed by back bends and then more forward bends. I still have trouble doing Lotus, I prefer to do Pidgeon when it comes to hip stretches. And don't get frustrated by her flexibility, she's all the way down in seated forward bend, I don't focus on that, like most poses there are different variations you can do, only do what you can.
Hubert2010-07-04 23:23:03 +0000 #4

"i know the more i practice, the more flexibility i'll gain, but it seems as though i'll never get anywhere...i've been trying for months, but i still can't even come close to touching my ankles. it's very discouraging and i feel foolish."

How often do you practice ? Do you have a fixed set of poses ?

How do you warm up ? How old are you ? At what time do you practice ?

The progress in asana is not in flexibility only, but in the way you feel.

It does not matter if you can't touch your ankles. What is important how you feel yourself in it, your hips, back, knees, calves, and so on. There should not be excess tension or pain in any of these. In order to achieve this adjust the pose as you feel fit. Knees can be bent, position of hands changed. Try to bent the knees, and get a fingerlock on your big toe, than try to straighten the knees gently. Again, you should not force it to a full extension.

PS. When we feel foolish, usually we are. This is good self awareness. This is good yoga.

This means we need to change something. So this is good. Try to figure out what you might be doing wrong. Perhaps you don't do anything wrong, except being unpatient. But I can't know that. You must figure it out for yourself. Take care, do not force yourself, do not give up. Do not cling to things how they should be done, but try to have a good discipline. Do not change the poses, choose only a few, and stick to them. These must be poses your body needs for balance, not poses chosen arbitrary, because they are good looking yoga poses.



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