How much can this lack of flexibility improve?

I understand results will of course differ depending on the individual, but I am curious what others in the same boat have experienced.

I started doing yoga recently and for most positions I can approximate what is going on in the position fairly well. However, I find that in one position, I am simply frozen:

The starting point is sitting on the floor, legs spread wide, torso at a 90 degree angle to the floor. The goal is to bring the torso down on top of one of your legs or between your legs to the mat. I actually find just SITTING in the starting point somewhat challenging, and as far as bringing my torso down towards my legs – an inch or two at the MOST is all the movement I get. I don’t have pain…my body just won’t move.

I can touch my toes while standing easily enough, and sitting on a table with my legs hanging over the edge I can easily move my torso down to my legs… but in that position, I’m simply stuck.

#1) Why do you suppose this is? What is the muscle group that is holding me back?
#2) How much do you think this can improve?

I can’t do that stretch either, for different reasons. I can bend over either leg. But if I stretch to the center, one of my pulled groin muscles starts to ache and I stop going further so as to avoid additional injury. Oddly, the butterfly stretch doesn’t pose a problem.

More generally, I’ve noticed that there are certain stretches that do nothing for me that other members of my dojo have difficulty with. Physiologies vary.

I can’t answer either of your two questions.

Thanks, that thing was sinking like a stone.

I understand one can’t really answer whether MY flexibility in that particular stretch will improve…but I was hoping to at least get some anecdotes from others that I could think about.


I’ve been doing ashtanga recently and am in the same position. I still feel that I am getting nowhere, but my teacher assures me I have come on in leaps and bounds in the past couple of months. She is as bendy as hell, but tells me she was in a similar condition to me… four years ago.

I really think it does get better, but you just have to be patient. Push soft limits and all that.

Bodies are all different, and yoga is all about honoring where your body is. There are some poses that I seriously doubt I’ll EVER be able to do, not because of a lack of flexibility but because of the way my body is structured.

There could be a variety of reasons why you struggle with that particular pose, so definitely talk to your instructor, and be gentle with and accepting of what your body is telling you. You may find something “unfreeze” after a while, or you may not - either way is fine, because it’s what your body is.

Yoga has improved my flexibility amazingly (last year I wouldn’t have been able to imagine bending over and getting my palms flat on the floor!).

But everyone has areas of the body that are less flexible than others. And for some, like me, skeletal structure is also impeding them. I have a ‘long pelvis’ and a less than 1" gap between my ribcage and hips, so the posture you describe is pretty much impossible for me. At the most I am going to be able to streeeetch my waist out over my pelvis and bend it sharply to try to get it closer to the floor.
More info: if I sit cross legged on the floor, and measure the distance up from the floor to the top of my pelvis, it’s 10". For my friend about the same height who has no problem with this posture, the measurement is 6".

First suspicion is that it would be a hamstring issue.

I’m exactly the same way. I can’t sit on the floor, back erect and legs straight, ninety degrees to one another. No stretching – I simply can’t even sit in this position.

Yoga never seemed to help me out, but admittedly I’ve been flaky with it.

I too have always found that particular position very awkward to sit in. I truly believe it’s because of a relatively weak lower back that I can’t do the bend forward toward the middle – it always seems that my back is pushing me back up.

I’ve made some inroads in leaning toward the side over each leg, but only because I can get a grip on my foot to pull me down a bit.

I’m glad I’m not the only one; I’ve never liked that position and other people make it look so easy.

No, probably not. He said he had no pain.

For me, it is a hamstring issue, and I can’t get my chest all the way down yet. I’m getting closer all the time, but there is pain and it’s all in the hammys.

Yeah, that’s the strange thing: when I’m trying to bend forward and touch the ground (I can touch all my fingers, but not the palms yet), I definitely feel sharp pain in my hamstrings as I reach the limits of my flexibility. When I’m doing the sitting stretch, there is a little discomfort in the lower back, a little bit where my thighs meet my torso…but things just come to a stop.

From a standing position I can put my palms on the floor. Fairly easily too, but I can’t perform the stretch you describe in the OP with my back straight. I’m not sure what the difference is either. Sometimes I sit in that position in front of the television to watch a football game or something and try to gradually get more flexibility there. I wouldn’t care too much but I started getting lower back pain a couple of years ago. Another stretch I can’t do anymore is stand and put one leg straight out on a counter and then try and bend to the knee. That was one of the physiotherapy stretches and I feel the exact same limitation.

You’re not alone at least.

Ime you can’t really much about it. In wrestling season i stretche say ans night before ands after practice. For months. Everysay. You kno how far I got? Like an inch. Ans that was within the first week. I’m just like you stiff as a board (especially in that position). If you ask me, there’s no hope. Sorry.