Have you ever been curious about yoga but always found yourself thinking, “But I’m not flexible!”?
Then yoga IS for you!
Yoga precisely works on those “frozen” muscles of yours which, for years and years have been positioned only in certain ways. Too much sitting. Too long hunched over an office desk. Too sedentary.
Many inflexible friends I know who have tried yoga and did it regularly noticed that poses they once could not do or had a hard time doing got easier and do-able over time. This is because muscles are once again slowly stretched and regain some elasticity lost due to a sedentary lifestyle. I’m a witness to that. At my first yoga class, I could barely touch the floor with the tips of my fingers. Happily, it’s now flat palms on the floor. And all because of yoga.
So maybe you’re now now willing to try yoga to bring flexibility back into your muscles. But are you still too intimidated to dive into one of those yoga classes being offered? Here’s something right up your alley.
Urban Ashram offers what they call their FNR class (FNR stands for Flexibility Not Required). Anyone can join this class. It’s for those with zero yoga experience, people who’ve done other kinds of sports but want to iron out the kinks in their tight muscles, and just about anyone who wants to do a very, very basic class.
Since I get all kinds of queries from people with zero to little experience doing yoga, I decided to check out an FNR class firsthand!
Martin Philippe Ngo was our FNR yoga teacher the night I attended FNR. He’s a full-fledged doctor, by the way, so his Anatomy knowledge comes in handy.
Prior to starting with the asanas, we spent some time on breathing. As most yogis and yoginis know, knowing how to breathe properly is the foundation of a good yoga practice. All throughout a yoga class, expect your teacher to keep reminding you to breathe deeply and slowly.
Let me tell you first what was not in that FNR class. There were no balancing poses, no backbends, and no inversions. But there were warrior poses, sun salutations, triangle poses, forward bends, cow/cat poses, simple twists, and core strengthening poses like the Bridge.
In an FNR class, you have blocks and straps to help you go deeper into poses. I found this helpful as I am still nursing a tight right hamstring. In some poses where one side was more difficult than the other, blocks allowed me to modify and ease the pressure off having to bend all the way to the floor.
Adjustments are crucial in beginner classes and Martin made sure he corrected our alignments as needed. For would-be beginners, welcome these adjustments in your alignment. Take note of just how far back, forward, in or out your teacher moves your hands and feet. In time, you will actually “feel” when you are not exactly aligned and you will re-align yourself by habit.
Was it easy?
Let me just say that while this is a very basic beginner’s class, expect to end up sweating. That’s the beauty of a class like this. It is not too hard such that you want to give up but it’s not too easy either as you get challenged every time.
Don’t let the thought of “flexibility as a requirement for yoga” stop you from trying because that is JUST A MYTH! There is no better time to get the flexibility of your youth back than today. Start with an FNR class. From there, the road to other types of yoga classes will open up. Enjoy the journey!