I am not a bendy person. Never have been. I was never one of those kids who could do the splits, or gymnastic moves, or put my upper body down on my knees. But here's the thing about yoga -- you don't have to start out bendy, but with time and practice, you will become more flexible - in your body and in your mind. I'm definitely better than I was, but under no circumstances am I the best person in the classroom - or even close to it - but I feel strongly that this practice will help me to age gracefully and stay healthy. I watched my parents lose their balance and their strength as they aged, and although this is a natural part of life, I feel strongly that it's the best thing I can do for my health.
I met a woman at a yoga seminar this year who had a scar on her elbow and couldn't extend her arm out all the way. Other than that, her practice was perfect. She executed the postures beautifully except her right arm wasn't absolutely straight. I figured she had been in a car accident, but I was wrong. She had rheumatoid arthritis, and at one point in her life, had joints so locked, she couldn't go to the bathroom by herself. She spent most of her days in a wheelchair. Then she started to do Bikram yoga and got flexibility back in her joints. She did have surgery on her elbow, which resulted in the scar and her inability to fully extend her arm, but other than that you would never know this woman had a debilitating illness. She's now a surgery nurse, she is married and walks around without any problems whatsoever. I take a tremendous amount of hope and inspiration from her. When I'm tired or sore, I remember this amazing woman and try to suck it up and continue on with "bulldog determination".