September 21, 2018

“I’m too inflexible to learn yoga” and The Cover Story

I hear this reasonably regularly when people are contemplating the Beginners Course, and this is what I have learned: “Honey, the only thing that is inflexible is your THINKING!”. It’s not a body flexibility issue: it’s a mind flexibility issue. Dig down a little deeper past the inflexibility cover story and we always get to one of the following thoughts:

“I’ll be the least flexible in the class”

“I won’t be able to do it and I’ll feel stupid”

“ I will be the oldest in the class and I won’t be able to keep up”

The flexibility statement is a big fat cover story for fear, plain and simple. The interesting question to ask here is: is this fear that’s holding you back actually real?

Will you really be the worst in the class? Really? Probably not. And so what if you are?! It’s a beginners course and you are there to learn, in a supportive and graduated beginners environment.

Will you really not be able to do it and feel stupid? Really? Well, you will find some yoga asanas harder than others, everyone does, even the most bendy yogi’s: all our bodies are built differently. That’s not about feeling stupid, that’s normal.

Will you be the oldest in the class? Maybe, maybe not. My oldest student is 72, and the youngest is 12. The emphasis is on working with and listening to your own body and capabilities. It’s not a competition: it’s yoga!

So by looking at these all too common fears we can see that on closer examination they are not really real. It’s a case of Fake Fear. Fake Fear can hold us back from doing or trying something that we really want to do. The key here is to get really clear on what you really want. Real desire. Do you want to feel more flexible, relaxed, strong? Will yoga do that for you? Yes. Don’t let the Fake Fear stop you from having what you really desire.

Of course this is equally applicable to any other desire where we hold ourselves back with fake fear. The painting course we would love to take but don’t think we are creative enough, or the solo travel trip to Rome but we don’t think we are brave enough to travel alone. Be clear on what it is you really want. Then don’t let your cover story hold you back.

Ask yourself:

1.     What do I really want?

2.     What is the big fat cover story I am using “ I’m not flexible enough/ creative enough/ brave enough’ etc

3.     Dig down beneath the cover story: find the thoughts behind it.

4.     Examine them closely: is it a real issue that’s holding you back from your desire to see Rome/be flexible and strong/learn to paint or is it fake fear?

5.     Watch your fake fears disappear under scrutiny.

6. Do it! Book the course, the plane ticket. Do it: and enjoy!

Love to hear your comments (what did you think of the Beginners Yoga Course?), and love to have you on the next Beginners Yoga Course if it’s something you are thinking about doing!