More than flexibility


This afternoon there was a power cut while I was at work. Whereas I was happy sitting and enjoying doing nothing, most of my colleagues were looking for things to do, tidying up their desks, walking restlessly around the office…

As I was sitting, revelling in the peace and quiet, I realised that the joy of being unable to do anything useful came as a refreshing change from my organised daily life. This pause was in some way similar to the stillness of a yoga class.

During a yoga class, you step out of your day-to-day activities and decide to take a break. To do lists and obligations disappear for an hour or so and you become fully focused on the movements of your body and the rhythm of your breath.

For me, this is what yoga is about… Not just the stretches, the asanas and the increase in flexibility but the pause, the conscious decision to take some time out of my daily life to do yoga, to focus on my breath and on stilling my mind.

To anybody whom I meet and tells me that they can’t do yoga because they are not flexible, because everything creaks when they move, I want to say that this is not what yoga is about. The word “yoga” means to unite. Yoga means to align the body and the breath, the body and the mind. It is about finding a stillness, a quiet pause where body and mind are at peace. The postures are a way of getting us to that stillness by focusing our wandering minds on one thing.

Flexibility is linked to the practice of yoga but, for me, it isn’t its aim. The aim of yoga is to learn to find that stillness

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