On Flexibility

Adapt; Adjust; Accommodate. ~ Swami Sivananda

Many of us practice Yoga to develop physical strength and flexibility. The truth is, there are others ways to do that and perhaps even better. What Yoga offers is in conjunction with physical development, it equally fosters greater mental strength and flexibility. With respect to mental flexibility, our practice helps to make our mind supple and thus ensuring its resilience and survival, much like our spine. I told the Indian story that I know that treats the subject in class once and a student told me that it can also be found in Les Fables de La Fontaine (“Le Chêne et le Roseau”).

On the banks of the river grows two things: large trees and tall grass. When the rainy season comes, the river overflows its banks and takes everything with it. After the storms have passed, what remains on her banks? The large trees with deep roots and thick trunks have been uprooted and washed away. The tall grass remains as it did before, having the flexibility to adapt to any condition.  Remember, change is the nature of this universe; only a fool fears and resists it.


Men are born soft and supple; Dead, they are stiff and hard.

Plants are both tender and pliant; Dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of Death.

Whoever is soft and complying is a disciple of Life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.

The soft and supple will prevail.

Lao Tzu, from Tao Te Ching


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. savasana addict
    Dec 03, 2011 @ 07:47:56

    Very nice quote of Swami Sivananda! I love this one too: What is the highest yoga? Bear insult, bear injury. 🙂


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