Yoga and flexibility: Do you need to be flexible for yoga?

moet je lenig zijn voor yoga

Yoga is suitable for everyone, even if you’re not flexible (yet). By taking a yoga class more often, your muscles will get used to the poses, and you will slowly find more depth in them.

Still, it’s not surprising that people think you need to be flexible for yoga. Seeing yogis and yoginis in impossible poses isn’t always uplifting. You probably don’t see yourself doing a split anytime soon. Try to remember that even the most flexible yogis started somewhere. But what’s most important is that flexibility is not the goal of a yoga practice. It’s about connecting with your body and mind. The rest comes naturally.

How to practice yoga if you’re not flexible

There are several yoga styles that are easy to follow, even if you’re a beginner. Start with the more gentle classes like slow flow, Hatha yoga or beginners Vinyasa yoga. Not comfortable in a yoga studio yet? There are plenty of online classes you can take at home. Please note that yoga can be quite intense when you’re just starting out, especially if you’re not very flexible. Be mindful and never go beyond your limits. Don’t push it.

Here are some tips on how to start safely

  1. Injuries or other physical complaints
    If, for example, your wrists hurt easily, yoga poses that strain your wrists may not be a good idea. This doesn’t mean you can’t do upward facing dog or plank poses, but listen to your body. Do you feel pain somewhere? Come out of the pose slowly and look for alternatives. Suppleness doesn’t come naturally, so don’t be afraid to experiment with poses and ask your yoga teacher for tips and tricks.
  1. Yoga props are your best friend
    You can always use yoga blocks and yoga straps if you like. It’s a perfect way to do your practice safely. Props help you get into the pose slowly and hold it for a longer amount of time. Over time, the body starts to open and sometimes won’t need the props anymore. Tip: the use of meditation cushions or a yoga bolster provides extra comfort and is a real treat during your yoga practice.
  1. Find out where your stiff areas are
    Does your whole body feel stiff or are there specific areas? Identify the areas of your body that lack flexibility and tailor your class accordingly. Every body is different. Here are some common problem areas.
    1. Hip area:
      Many people have a lot of trouble with their hips during practice. The position of the legs is slightly different for everyone, which can make it difficult to bend forward. If you have little room in your hips, it can help to put a blanket or pillow under your bottom. The small lift will still allow you to bend further forward! Tip: spread your legs a little and bend forward to get even deeper into the stretch.  With most hip openers, it is important to keep your back straight! Bring your belly to your legs and keep breathing.

      Yoga en lenigheid
      The model is wearing yoga shorts Moksha in the colour Sea Green, and yoga shorts Bodhi in the colour Urban Black.
    1. The hamstrings
      Most men have shorter hamstrings than women, which makes it difficult to touch your toes with your hands in forward fold (Padahastasana). It helps to bend your knees a little when bending forward. Let your upper body and arms hang down, as this will provide a stretch for your entire back.
    1. The shoulders
      Stiff shoulders are common among people with office jobs, for example. If you have stiff shoulders, chances are you also suffer from neck pain. There are fine yoga postures that bring flexibility into your shoulders and reduce neck pain. Try cat-cow or eagle pose! Start slowly, give yourself time to relax into the poses!


As you can see, it doesn’t matter how flexible you are to do yoga. There are plenty of variations on the poses to ensure that everyone – even those who can’t reach their toes – can practice yoga! Being ‘good’ at yoga doesn’t exist, it’s not about flexibility. Do what feels right for your body. What works for one person may not work at all for another. Make it your practice!






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