To understand how flexibility works, think of how your body feels after a long day of staying seated in the same position. Your back may ache, your hips feel stiff, and even your spine contracts a little throughout the day.
If you were to stay like that for an extended period – days, months, years – you would be training your body to do so. Reflect on your first day versus day one hundred. Likely you experienced more discomfort your first day, and after one hundred, your body has adjusted.
So, what happens when your body adjusts to such a position – or any position? The muscles, the bones, and the joints train the brain to accept what is happening to the body. Little by little, what at first felt strange became the new normal. How can this be applied to gaining flexibility?
If the body can adapt to sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, then it can adapt to learn to be more flexible, too. Flexibility can appear intimidating. How did you react when you first saw someone wrap a leg around the back of their head?
You probably thought, “I could never do that!”. You may have the same thoughts when you see advanced yogis come to a full Plow Pose (Halasana) or touch their feet to their heads in a rounded Bow Pose (Dhanurasana).
While those may take quite a lot of long-term work, you’re ultimately here because you want to improve your flexibility, and you deserve to know that, through your yoga routine, it IS possible. If the body can be trained to remain seated for hours each day, then it can be trained to move past your current limits and gain the kind of flexibility that will surprise you.