Is Yoga About Being Flexible?

In day modern life we are constantly sitting in chairs, at the computer, on our phones, and driving our cars for many hours during day. To balance out all this sitting, many of the Shoshin Yoga sequences are practiced on the floor. The floor work acts as a foundation, as we move towards standing poses.. 

In a therapeutic approach to yoga, we are resetting the nervous system so that it can respond differently to stimulus. This is done through slowing down, holding a pose for a longer period of time and applying a soft, small amount of pressure to the joints. Pressure is what allows the layers of tension that have built up inside and around the joints to start to break down. This is a slow and gradual process, and Shoshin Yoga uses small, soft, subtle movements to address areas of restriction and stiffness. 

There is a common misperception in the yoga world that poses are about creating a deeper stretch or that the goal of a yoga practice is to have a flexible body. Most people tend to think with more flexibility comes less pain, more freedom, less restriction. 

A very flexible body that feels little to no sensation in yoga poses, is getting much less feedback from the nervous system than a tighter body, that feels very deep sensation with smaller movements. When we access the joints, we are touching into new sensations and exploring their potential. In modern day life, we don't typically do much natural movement that access the joints in the way that we were designed to. By brining light pressure to the joints we keep the synovial fluid around the joint healthy, we re-circulate and flush our body with blood, lymph,  and nutrients, cleansing our whole system.

Shoshin Yoga encourages to approach the feedback and vibrations of sensation from our system with an investigative curiosity.

Over time, with the proper sequencing, pressure and velocity, the more flexible body will cultivate more sensitivity, and the more rigid body will cultivate more openness and regain lost mobility. No matter what the body type, the goal is the same, which is to bring the body ever closer to its natural state of true balance, to create more space and freedom in the system, and to remain healthy and pain free. 

Ayla Sarnoff