“If we do chair pose one more time, I’m going to scream!” Have you thought of these thoughts in your yoga practice? If so, you’re certainly not all on your own. I’ve had the same experience as every yoga teacher I’ve met or any student I’ve had. We each have our yoga moves that we can’t handle. However, how we tackle those challenging yoga postures sets us apart from the rest of the class.
There are many strategies to deal with challenging yoga poses. We can avoid them, fight them, or relax into them. When you don’t do challenging poses and your body you ca unable to develop in your practice. If you keep a hold of anger and frustration while you work through challenging poses, the tension can keep you from being conscious of your breathing and movements, and you may even hurt yourself.
The most effective way to handle challenging poses is to release your opposition to these poses. Through many years of teaching and practicing yoga, I’ve discovered four effective and practical ways to tackle challenging yoga postures.
Breathe Through It
There’s a certain feeling of confidence and accomplishment from looking at the poses you don’t like and sticking with them. If you can get by taking a couple of breaths of the most challenging posture, you can get through everything. When faced with stressful or difficult circumstances, keeping our breath in check or taking fast, shallow breaths is normal. If you’re in a difficult posture, tune into your breath, take a deep breath, slow it down, and remain in the moment.
Try, Try Again
We often dislike poses that we find difficult or uncomfortable. Doing it regularly is one of the best ways to be more flexible or stronger in any pose. Take a vow to take your most difficult poses consistently and follow your breathing when you practice.
Build Up to Tough Poses
Sometimes, our anatomy hinders us from certain postures. There may be a feeling of tension, stretches in the soft tissue, or even compression — the sensation of being trapped. While compression doesn’t mean it is negative, it is an excellent signal to eliminate the “perfect pose ” expression.
In the event of physical discomfort, ease off slightly. Implement modifications and the yoga equipment to try some preparatory or strengthening exercises until you’re ready to experience the full performance of the pose or simply concentrate on the positive aspects of the posture rather than the physical aspects.
Learn From Your Resistance
Have you ever been to a yoga class and felt something emotionally released that made you angry or cry? Our bodies store unspoken emotional and psychological traumas that we’ve kept hidden in yoga. Yoga can bring us to our feet and shine the light on what’s stored in ours.
Finding these triggers and hidden emotions can be uncomfortable and painful; however, it can also help put us on the road toward healing. If a difficult pose illuminates an undiscovered issue, note it. You can then complete your practice, and then you will be able to tackle it after you have left the mat.
Remember that yoga is about learning to be aware of yourself physically and mentally. Instead of letting resistance keep you back, use it to push you ahead. Be aware of your body’s limitations and work backward, perhaps by using props or other preparatory poses to find an alternative way. Examine your inner self to determine if your displeasure with a pose stems from trauma or another hidden problem. Find peace in surrender and be open to the lessons your least-loved poses will try to show you.