Every time yoga comes up in conversation, someone always says, "I'm not flexible enough for yoga." Which I find just as silly as saying, "I'm not dirty enough for a bath."
Yoga is art of connecting - to our mind, body, each other and the big picture. It doesn't have to be complicated. I know we see an abundance of strong, powerful, flexible super yogis out there on the online world that create the most visually appealing poses that may intimidate one who may want to explore the art of connecting to oneself and take a yoga class. The way I was trained at Ahimsa Yoga Centre, and the way I love to teach is to make it accessible for everyone. I honor that we are one, but we have arrived in different physical instruments that we call our bodies. They look different, move different and have lived different stories that are embedded in our essence. Open up. Allow breath / energy / prana flow freely through the body. A great way to get started is with the poses Cat and Cow.
Cat and cow are two poses that I love to start my practice with. It's simple, effective and almost everyone can do it.
Start on your hands and knees. Hands directly under your shoulders, and knees under your hips, hips distance apart. If you need to protect your knees you can fold your mat or use a towel to add extra cushion.
For some reason, perhaps it feels good for my body, I always seem to start with cat pose with a breath in. Press firmly into your hands, (the whole hand and not just your wrists) and puff up the back of your heart towards the ceiling. If your eyes are open, looking at your belly button helps to increase the inward curvature of the entire spine. This is flexion of the vertebrae bone.
When I exhale, I make my way to cow pose. Roll your shoulders back and down away from your ears. Look up towards the sky. I even like to add traction in the hands to open of the front of the heart even more. This is extension of the vertebrae bone.
Inhale cat pose. Exhale cow pose. Repeat.
You can change up the breathing (inhale cow pose, exhale cat) and will feel a contrast in where you feel openness versus containment. Both ways of breathing are effective. I like to allow students to explore what works for them. And I even create space for them to find neutral and change up the breathing if they choose to.
This simple movement of flexion and extension of the vertebrae makes me feel that I am slowly starting to increase blood flow, pump lymph, and increase the communication between the nerves along the spinal cord - especially the communication between the heart and the mind.
There is a video below is of cat and cow. I invite you to press play and come play! Namaste.