WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE INTIMIDATED BY DIFFICULT POSES?
Next, try to move in the direction of the pose. Just explore if it’s there for you. If you experience pain, back off and do something different.
Do your own thing friends…and PATIENCE! It’s really important not to rush the process of learning any pose, regardless of the difficulty level. And equally as important, is to not compare your pose to anyone else’s version of the pose nor judge yourself along your journey of mastering the pose. Every pose takes practice and the best way to approach a challenging pose is with an open mind, safe movement choices, breathing, and practice, practice, practice! Be dedicated to the foundation of the posture by building strength, flexibility, and all the necessary foundational tools to express the posture fully as you’d like to. A really fun way to enjoy the journey is to take a picture of yourself at the beginning of your approach to the posture. Document your practice over time and when you finally reach the expression of the posture you’ve been hoping for, take that picture, and then review your timeline. It shows your growth, your dedication, and encourages you to stay mindful as you continue to approach the pose.
Poses may be difficult if we don’t have the range of motion in joints or motor control or strength to access them. This is not a bad thing because every physical body is different. In yoga it is important to learn to recognize what poses feel like in our individual bodies and know how to do part of a pose or use props to help access a pose. Instructors can help guide this process and encourage this process in students. As an instructor I feel it is necessary to help a person feel confident about his or her abilities wherever he or she is on that journey. Over time as our joints gain more motion and muscles grow stronger improving our motor control we will gain improved ability to move into different poses. Bottom line: be ok with looking different than the person next to you in class. Avoid injury. Embrace what your body feels in a pose and that’s where the work begins no matter what props or modifications are in place. Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions.
Something I like to keep in mind when working on difficult poses is “anything worth doing is worth doing badly”. You have have permission to be bad at something. That is what that drew me to yoga, it really is about your journey and no one else’s. We all have different bodies, experiences, skills, knowledge etc that we bring to our practice, and if you keep working at something you will continue to get better. So take it easy and breathe through it.
I think the best way to practice yoga is with an open mind. When a difficult pose comes up, refrain from negative inner mind comments, and focus on the positives. There are MODIFICATIONS for almost all poses, so…. grab those yoga props before class to prepare! Set your intention to keep your mind open and excited for anything that comes up in your class. Also, ask your teacher after class for some helpful tips on poses that are difficult for you!
For me, the practice of yoga is about the process and not the attainment of a particular posture or pose. I often share that it took me four years of a solid dedicated practice to be able to do forearm stand or pincha mayurasana. In those four years, I learned a great deal about dedication, commitment, softening in the effort and most of all patience. When you start to explore more complex postures, try your best to see what you can learn about yourself during the experience instead of focusing on doing the posture “right”. When we let go or release the expectation that everything in our lives has to be perfect, we start to experience all the joy that the everyday can give us.
If you have any questions you would like answered by our in-house yogis, leave us a comment and we’ll add it to our list!