Let’s Talk About Flex, Baby

Let’s talk about flex, baby. You know, Flexibility. All the good things. All the bad things.

If you’ve ever written a flyer about yoga or pitched a workshop or corporate classes, or tried convincing Aunt Sally or Uncle Phil to take up yoga, I bet you’ve touted ‘flexibility’ as one of the benefits of yoga. I know I have.

So let’s play the part of Uncle Phil for a second:

“Okay but so what if I can’t touch my toes. What’s the big deal anyways?”

Do you want to jump in – or do you want me to? I bet we both have our rap down pretty good correlating tight hamstrings and back aches and lost productivity. It’s then a quick hop, skip and a jump to slipping in Uncle Phil’s favorite activity and assuring him that yoga’d be great for that:

“You know Uncle Phil, a little more flexibility could mean the difference between you qualifying for sectionals in lawn bowling this year or not….”

Of course, we’re just backdooring Uncle Phil into the full experience of yoga via asana. We’ll get him chanting and doing meditation soon enough. He’ll learn flexibility of the mind and heart, too, and compassion and being present and all that. But first, we gotta get him limbered up.  Right?  Or… no?

Well. Maybe before we move past benefit number one (“flexibility”) we should clarify what it is. Maybe it’s not exactly what we’ve been saying it was.  Maybe it’s not some generic thing you either have or don’t have. Maybe Phil’s right: touching your toes proves nothing more than you can touch your toes.

Do you have 15 minutes? It’s a little bit of time, I know, but it’ll be totally worth your while, I promise.

In fact, come back later if you want, grab a friend or two, some chai lattes and make a mini-date of it.

The guy in the video – Gary Gray – is not a “yogi’ and he’s definitely not a guru. But movement professionals from around the world fly to his podunk town in Michigan to study with him because- well, I’ll let you figure out why. I dropped everything when I had the chance to do a year-long fellowship with him

What he has to say has HUGE implications for the Yoga community. At least, that’s what I think. How about you?

All the good things. All the bad things. You and me: let’s talk about flex.

4 responses

  1. Great share – thank you. As I read your post, I was thinking – well, I just tell people flexibility is a side effect, and that the more relevant “why yoga” has to do with learning to be in your body, as it is, present and aware. How far you stretch is not the point, and has very little to do with the essence of yoga.

    But then I read on, and watched the video, and got in to my teaching/learning mind, and wow – this is great stuff! Love the functionality of looking at flexibility from a multidimensional view. Not only does it make me think about how I would approach flexibility from a yoga and fitness standpoint but also makes me think further about the therapeutic work I do in a Thai massage session. I will have to explore this more ~ and thanks for the intro to the Gray Institute as well.

    I don’t get on to read many posts these days, but yours always catch my attention. Thanks again. Appreciate your blog.

    • Thanks Amy. I really appreciate the encouragement and glad you found some inspiration in the post/video. The teachings of Yoga continually evolve as collectively we hold our attention on them for an extended period of time – despite the distractions. I feel there is much insight in the work of the Gray Institute and have found that integrating it into my understanding of asana, breath work in asana, pranayama and meditation has been profound. Again, I’m grateful that you take the time to not only read but also to reach out and comment, too. Thank you.

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