All along our physical journey (regardless of yoga interactions) there are people who seem stronger, more flexible and all round more able.
I see my ego be sparked by this still daily, but I’m not so much letting this influence me. Yes, I still am on my own path of continuous development but no, I no longer look at others, or their range of motion, as a bench mark of where I need to be. Similarly, when peers and students alike say ‘I’d love to be able to do that’ it’s not always appropriate to deliver this message.
I thought when I started yoga, especially getting into teaching, that one day my spine would straighten out and I’d be able to continue to lengthen my adho mukha (down dog) and paschimottonasana (deep forward bend). But to be honest; my body doesn’t seem to want to go that way and I’ve given up trying to force those shapes on my already super mobile and somewhat asymmetrical self.
Another truth, which appears to be held in many different camps of thought, is that some bodies are born more mobile, with a larger range of motion than others.
Whereas some bodies are so mobile it can cause pain and injuries so much more easily; but it also means they ‘get into’ those shapes we all look at with awe. Generally also (clearly not for everyone), a lot of yoga, dance and gymnastics tend to have this innate mobility within their joints and muscles – hence the propensity for more mobile people to work in careers which work with this innate ‘ability’. The different camps of thought around hypermobility/hyperlax joints is too deep to get into here, but basically, some people ignore it, some people don’t know about it, and some people seem to suffer tremendously from it. For me, I know my joints have a larger than ‘normal’ range of motion which has caused me issues in the past. But instead of focusing on the bits which don’t feel so good, and getting anxious that it’s too much, I focus on alignment, spirals and loops within my body to help me to make the most out of physical movement practices. I also work a lot with Pilates.
Thus, basically, some people bend more than others. This need not be a reason to quit your journey into physical practice but just to add as a back note when watching teachers, peers or others on their YouTube channel, that their Range Of Motion may be pre-set different to yours. And, If you are naturally more flexible, finding your edges maybe harder than for stiffer bodies so be mindful not to push your already flexible body into shapes it may regret upon recoiling.
Let your ego wrap around these words and have a break from competing (get into Your yoga!). Not looking to judge others who might bend deeper, or not, but to let yourself off the hook of pushing too much into those shapes that are made by those who do. Find your edge with patience and observation, and feel into how much you’re ready to move beyond it, in THIS moment. See, feel and honor every step of your journey, enjoy your challenges, not challenging your differences compared to another.
Love and patience shared to all who continue to learn, for by continuing to learn we continue to grow in LIFE and LOVE.