Many of us come to yoga to improve flexibility; at least initially, I would say flexibility is one of the top three reasons I hear when new students tell me why they’re coming to yoga.  And yes, flexibility is very important and yoga is very helpful in gaining flexibility.

So it’s ironic that often once we learn how to get into a yoga pose, we get there, then freeze and hold it statically until it’s time to go to the next pose.  Sometimes this even turns into a static definition of what your expression of a particular pose is, e.g., “this is my warrior 1 pose,” without ever challenging that or testing the waters to see if the front knee could go slightly lower, or if the torso could be slightly more straight over the hips.   This shows up often in intermediate / experienced students, because generally these students (and I count myself in this group), we feel like we ‘have’ the pose or at least a reasonable semblance of the pose, and we don’t often question it, challenge ourselves to go beyond.  But of course as with any aspect of yoga, there is almost always more: more expansion in the pose, more strength in the pose, and/or more comfort and steadiness in the pose.

So I offer this suggestion – give yourself permission and freedom to move within your poses.  What might happen if you wiggle your hips a little in your down dog, or shift weight slightly from side to side as you do your standing forward fold?  If you’re like me, you might be surprised – you might find a way to access a stretch differently, or in a different part of the muscle, or be able to deepen your expression of the pose.

You might even have a little more fun practicing, especially if you visualize yourself wiggling around or practice with a friend who’s also moving more freely.  Give it a shot this week – move around a bit: forward and back, side to side, up and down, in your poses, and see what you find 🙂

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