As a yoga instructor, I can't even explain to you how many times I've heard people say they don't think they'd be good at yoga because they're "just not flexible enough." Even though contorting my body is kind of my jam these days, I definitely used to be in the can't-even-touch-my toes club right along with you. But trust me, there are plenty of yoga poses you can do that don't require any flexibility.
That being said, light stretching before any workout is key to preventing injuries, so please don't shun your typical stretch entirely. It's important to get the blood flowing and get your muscles feeling nice and limber before you do any exercise of any kind.
But I promise you, these poses won't require anything in the realm of a full split, deep backbend, or any other bendy adjustments that look like they're straight out of a Cirque du Soleil show.
Don't believe me? Try these six simple yoga poses for yourself.
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
This asana is incredibly grounding and empowering. Mountain pose is the foundation of a strong, stable yoga flow and requires focus and pristine posture.
Root your feet down into the earth, and allow your even breathing to guide you to a grounded, composed center.
2. Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga)
Chaturanga is the ultimate shoulder-sculptor, and when done properly, that burn will feel real AF.
Though it's technically called four-limbed staff pose, it's essentially just a variation of the classic push-up.
Make sure you're keeping your elbows glued to your sides and your shoulder blades broad. If you need to build arm strength before attempting this pose, try modifying with a knees-chest-chin variation.
3. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Sitting in a chair is easy -- until you take away the chair, that is.
Say "sayonara" to splits and introduce this powerful glute-sculptor into your routine.
As you sit deeper in your imaginary chair, try to raise your chest higher, ensuring a consistent focus on the breath.
And yes, it will feel amazing to sit in an actual chair once you're done with this bad boy.
4. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Sometimes I just chill in tree pose when I'm waiting in line at the grocery store, and people look at me like I have three heads.
But once you get the hang of this foundational pose, you might just find yourself busting a tree pose on the dance floor (I'm kidding... maybe).
For minimal flexibility, place your raised foot on your calf; in time, you can move it up to your thigh, but try to avoid placing it on your knee, as this could cause unnecessary pressure on the joint.
Balance and breathe, baby.
5. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Skip your back workout and do 20 salabhasanas instead.
Locust pose is the ultimate way to strengthen your back -- no flexibility needed!
6. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge pose is extremely versatile and it can basically be whatever you make of it.
Take what you need from this luxurious, chest-opening, restorative pose.
Pretend like you're squeezing a brick between your thighs to prevent tension in the lower back, and let your thoughts drift to how you're just so happy that you're not stretching it out in a split.
Namaste, my non-flexible crew!