One of the most common things overheard by even the most seasoned yoga veterans is, "When I first started doing yoga, I couldn't even touch my toes.” They usually say this either right after or right before they tuck both legs behind their head.
While the sight of that can be somewhat intimidating, the thought is also extremely inspiring as well. There is a good chance that most average jogis—with a little dedication, determination and patience—will be able to touch their toes comfortable.
However, it just ain’t about touching toes, putting your nose on the floor in a forward fold, or tying your body up in a pretzel. Yoga isn’t a race. There is no finish line. There is always one more step to take, somebody more flexible than you, and volumes more to understand. One of the most important focuses of yoga is learning to accept the body as it is, work with what you have, and slowly expand its capabilities while closely observing what you already think you know. In time, your hands will get where they need to be, toes or otherwise.
So you can’t touch your toes. Big deal. Ask yourself why do you really want to? The real skill isn’t in grabbing your feet. At first, that could be extremely hard. Eventually you might touch them. Heck, you might even be able to wrap your legs behind your neck. However, you might also end up learning a much more valuable skill that that: listening to your body. For some body types, touching your toes may never happen. For others, it happens too easily.
Flexibility isn’t just about opening up the body. It’s also about opening up the mind to accept what’s happening in the moment.