The other day I was chatting with a new student before class and she opened up the conversation by saying that she wasn't very flexible. She shared that in her previous yoga experience there were poses that she couldn't do. I reassured her that I would give many choices and variations for each pose during our class, and she was welcome to find one that makes her body happy. I said that sometimes from a purely physical structural standpoint some poses are more challenging, or some may not be available to you in the traditional manner. She said, "But not for you, you can do ALL the poses".
I gently explained that not all poses were accessible to me either - just because I was guiding the class didn't mean that I had mastered all the poses or that I could twist my body into any shape that a pose holds. In fact, I went on to say that the beauty of yoga is that there are no end goals, no perfect pose, no gold medal, no finish line, it is a continuous path of lifelong learning and reflection and growth - that's why it's called a "practice".
I began to list a few examples of poses that have been difficult to include in my practice - EAGLE pose being one of those! Ever since discovering this pose during my Yoga Teacher Training this pose proved to be my arch nemesis - incredibly challenging as my shoulders simply wouldn't allow my arms to warp around themselves, nor did my legs allow my toes to hook behind my calf. So I do another version that feels more inclusive and much nourishing and kind to my body. Will I ever be able to access that pose in the traditional way? Maybe not, but it certainly doesn't make me any less of a yoga practitioner. I then gave another example of a pose that I am unable to replicate in the traditional full expression of the pose....CROW.
Another student piped up and said, "Crow, Eagle....maybe you just don't like birds!!" lol