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You Don't Have to Be Gumby to Do Yoga

Posted by Stephanie B.

I am cursed with tight hamstrings. They run in the family. It's simply the way my body was built for some reason. I will never be able to do the splits, or fold myself completely in half. It wasn't even until recently that I was able to grab a hold onto my toes in a forward bend.

Where yoga can get intimidating is when those who are more naturally flexible, or started stretching at a young age, show off their yoga prowess. Many of these folks (younger women in particular) have a leg up (no pun intended) due to taking dance or gymnastics in childhood. They were doing splits at age 7. Meanwhile, you're an adult and just starting a serious yoga practice, and hoping that you'll be able to just get through the yoga class in one piece.

It's important not to compare yourself to others in yoga. Everybody's bodies were built differently. You might not be able to do a standing split, but maybe you can do a mean bench press or run far. We all have our individual strengths and weaknesses. Yoga poses do not suddenly become more effective just because you can contort in all different directions. The entire point of doing yoga is to simply open yourself up.

So bless your tight hamstrings - they are what makes your yoga practice that much better and more interesting.

Comments (2)
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Work with me to do the splits. I'm trying to split a little more everyday, with the goal of doing the splits in a year. Just curious if it's possible. And if you have tight hamstrings... this is like a science project!
The first time I ever saw someone doing yoga I thought that it was something I would never be able to do. I did finally try it and now It's the one workout I can't do without.
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