Are You Flexible?

To be flexible means that our body is limber, pliable, and fluid…it also means that our mind is able to bend and to see another person’s point of view…to be able to put ourselves in someone’s shoes…to feel empathetic, compassion, non-stringent and to be able to “Go with the flow”. Are you flexible?

The other day I took an aerobics class at the gym to which I belong. I could tell there were many ladies who frequented this particular class, but this was my first time attending. To everyone’s astonishment, except mine, the regular instructor was not there.

(GASP) There was a substitute!

As we were guiding our bodies in an attempt to become more flexible, I could see and hear whispers of disappointment about the way the instructor was teaching the class. She obviously was not doing the same quality job that the regular gal does. None the less, I was witness to the bodies in the room warming up and becoming more flexible, while simultaneously, their minds were doing just the opposite.

As I was getting my sweat on, I noticed that all the other women were also sweating and huffing and puffing. Naturally, I thought, “OK, everyone has settled down and now they can focus on getting a great workout.” Well, to my surprise, about halfway through the hour, a woman from the back row slithered up to the instructor mid routine and gave her a piece of her mind!

I watched this woman rip into the substitute instructor pretty good, telling her that this class of ladies all expects a good workout and that she needs to step it up! I watched the facial expressions that were exchanged, and I also felt a pang of compassion for the instructor. I could not imagine being in her shoes, having to teach for another half hour, after getting publicly berated!

I substitute teach at my two youngest daughter’s elementary school. I imagined how I would feel if I were teaching a class and a parent came up to me, yelling that my teaching style is not the same as the regular teacher. My heart hurt for this aerobics instructor. I found myself smiling and nodding more at her for the remainder of the class. Nobody should have to endure that. She was filling in for someone else and doing the best she could.

I thought that the lady from the back row
could have handled this situation in so many more healthy ways:

She could have just stepped up her own moves to get a better workout.
She could have approached the instructor after class.
She could have talked with the staff after class.
She could have been flexible and embraced the different teaching style.
She could have opened her mind and learned some new moves.
She could have ignored it and given some grace.

She actually could have done many, many other things instead of what she did. She not only made the instructor feel crummy, she made herself look like less of a person. Have you ever seen someone act like this? How did it make you feel about that person? Have you ever been the one to step out of line and do or say something that could or should have been kept to yourself? I know I have been on both ends of that spectrum. Neither end feels very good.

Take Action: This week and moving forward, let’s be aware that when we find ourselves in a situation like this, we have many choices as to what actions we want to take. We can either be flexible or stringent. Which will you choose? I vote we all choose to be Flexible…Let’s grow instead of wither and die!

Because Together is Better,


  1. Yes flexibility in life is so important. Think about the Palm trees during a hurricane. They bend and move with those treacherous winds remaining standing. If you put a Great Oak on those beaches they would be ripped out by their roots and crushed. It’s similar to dancing as well. We move and sway and glide with each other ready for a beautiful dip (I can’t comment on my dancing as I’m a foot crusher-lol). That’s life (not the foot crushing I hope but the swaying and gliding) If we learn to glide and move easier we can make it through just about any of the harsh times. Flexibility is an amazing gift to use in our lives. It’s a choice and can be learned if you are rusty. Lets make that something we all get better at in 2014! Thanks for a great post Deanna!

    • Melissa, I love your tree analogy…it is so true! Also, just like there are no Great Oak trees on the beach…we are only put in situations we can handle. If we don’t handle them and grow with them, then we will continue to have them in our lives until the lesson is learned. Thank you for your wise words! -Deanna

  2. Yes Deanna I too have been on both side of that fence and you are right neither felt good.
    I think now in that situation i would be accepting of what was knowing that everyone was doing the best they could 🙂

    • Suzie, I am right there with you! Being in the moment helps us to be flexible, because we can more easily accept what is and move with it. I appreciate your wise words! -Deanna

  3. We have to stay flexible during change and change is inevitable. Periods of change are unpredictable, and we may be asked to adapt to changes that we never anticipated. I like to think of myself as stretchable, expandable, and able to adapt to anything new.

    Rachel recently wrote How to Find Your Niche

  4. When I first read this blog post I thought it was about flexibility in physical terms. I find it harder to be flexible in mental terms. Most of us expect things to be done in a certain way and don’t like it when it’s not.

    Thanks for reminding me that I need to learn to accept that things as they are.

  5. Deanna, my choice is to be flexible. Without flexibility, life can definitely be an unhappy and stressful life journey. Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Maybe she shoujld have been told that the next time, maybe she could leave the class and ask for a refund or a retake. Sad.

    • Yes, Julieanna, there are so many other ways she could have handled this situation. I think it is sad also, but she is in the process of learning some type of lesson! -Deanna

  7. Flexibility should be taken as a prescription to sanity 🙂 I appreciate your post with ideas to practice it, especially this time of year. I like to approach it as flexibility within boundaries. Great quote and advice to make working and living together in harmony.

  8. Such a shame that someone would do a thing like that…smh. I am pretty flexible and I could not even imagine do this to someone. Sometimes ppl want themselves to be seen as this type of person. Sometimes group events can get a little testy some ppl just struggle for attention, they want to be know as the – the one to speak up. One other thing she should of done was~~~ left…lol

    • Margaret, I agree that some people want to be seen like that. Maybe she has always been a fighter and felt she needed to speak up for the rest of the class. WHo knows, it is just so ugly though to me! -Deanna

  9. That’s a great quote. Easy to remember in a moment of inflexibility. I have shared many experiences where I have watched the inflexibility of others and wished they could see it from a different perspective. I remember a perfectionist time in my life where I would have felt inflexible but I was too shy to ever say much in the moment for sure. Now, though I am growing out of my shy side, I am way more chill and “go with the flow” and I like it much much better. I have learned SO many more interesting things this way.

    • Kate, that is so great! I have also learned to “go with the flow” it is much better than trying to swim upstream all the time…that is exhausting! Thank you for being here and sharing your wise words! -Deanna

  10. I totally agree that flexibility is key to a having a great experience no matter what your doing or who is leading it. Sometimes our expectations get in our way and we lose sight of all the gifts that are offered because we are so stuck on what we expect versus what is available. What a great post! Thanks for sharing!

  11. mmmmm perhaps she just had a bad day and that was the last straw? Unfortunate I agree as I wouldn’t like it myself either. Seeing from anothers point of view isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Egos aside and the need to be right and the need to be better etc, I agree we have choices, Hopefully that woman will choose differently next time.

    • Jakeb, you are right in that I don’t know what that lady had been through which drove her to do such a thing. We all have been there before. It is hard to see that kind of behavior when the lesson has already been learned for me, although I understand she will continue to act that way until the lesson is learned that you don’t treat people like that. -Deanna

  12. “Choose to be flexible” – I just put that up on my bulletin board. Thx for the inspiration.

    • I love that Kimba! Being flexible is a choice, so many people don’t realize how simple it truly is and how the benefits are limitless! Thank you for being here! -Deanna

  13. Hi Deanna

    I love the quote that you added into you article. Being flexible makes our lives so much easier.

  14. Thank you for sharing that quote from the Tao Te Ching. I really appreciated it.

  15. Yes. Everyday we are presented with choices. I wish I always made the correct one the first time but that is how I learn to make a better one the next time.

    • Irene, we often make the wrong choice, but that is how we learn. It is only a mistake if we keep repeating the same again and again! I appreciate you being here! -Deanna

  16. Dov Shapira says:

    Very nice reading Deanna.
    I did yoga daily between age six and twelve 🙂 I loved it then I became a simmer…

    How I wish I would take the first step to do all of that over again.

  17. I have to learn to me more flexible when it comes to how my household. I say no more than I say yes, and I get irritated often. When I let my guards down I end up having a good time, now if only i could remember for the next time around.

  18. I would have probably have called that woman in class out to make her feel crappy for what she did. That would upset me too. Flexibility is important!:-)

    • You are so funny Daniele! I can picture you call that woman out! I was more shocked than mad…I felt bad for both ladies, it was very uncomfortable! Thank you for making me laugh! -Deanna

  19. I think this is a good lesson to learn and see how important it is to always be flexible.

  20. What a life experience to say the least. Flexibility is what helps make you successful in more ways than one.

  21. Wow…I teach jazzercise because I love it and cannot imagine someone doing this in front of everyone. We all need to be flexible in more ways than one is correct correct!

    • I know Stephanie, I could not believe it either! Some people let their emotions take over and they don’t take into consideration the feelings of others. I appreciate you being here! -Deana

  22. Savannah-Lin Rosa says:

    I would be flexible.. I will apply that to my week this week.. More positive then anything else.. Sometimes it is hard but it is so much of a better feeling afterwards..

    • Savannah, I am so glad that you are going to put the “Take Action” into use this week. I hope you will be more flexible and feel great about it! -Deanna

  23. Deanna, I love the quote from Tao Te Ching! So very true 🙂 And to answer your questions, I think it is fair to say we have all, at some time or another, been in a situation that we could have handled better. As I was reading, I was embarrassed more for the lady who absolutely did make herself look like a lesser person, than I was for the Instructor! That woman should be ashamed of herself! It’s not for me to pass judgement on, but I do agree that she could have waited until class was over if she felt the need to say something that bad! It was a substitute for crying out loud! If you are unhappy, the great thing about life is having a choice. She could have chosen to adjust, or chosen to pump up her own moves, and if she was that bothered she could have chosen to leave.

    I would have been doing the same thing as you, trying to smile and make eye contact more, to give the sub a little bit of a boost when it seems the whole room was coming down on her =/ I vote for flexibility too!

    • El Michelle…I just love your comment, it rings with such truth! You and I are aligned in many ways. I really appreciate your wise words and that you are here! Keep coming back to read, grow, and share! 🙂 -Deanna

  24. Bottom line….Being flexible, in your mind and your body, allows you to lead a healthy life!

  25. There are so many twists and turns, that if you are not flexible then you will not survive.

  26. I couldn’t agree more-the ability to be flexible & adaptable build our resilience, reduces stress & opens us up to the possibility, magic & wonder that comes from letting go of the illusion of certainty. Plus it makes us a heck of a lot more pleasant to be around as your example illustrates!

  27. You absolutely have to be flexible to survive in business and in life. Great lesson!

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