The body and mind are ever-changing and some days you just can’t even. Know the feeling? There are various reasons why we struggle some days more than others; a bad night’s sleep, a challenging day at work, or an injury, for example.
Perhaps the body (and mind) are not prepared for the asanas being taught, or you simply need some modifications or props to help you into the pose. There’s nothing worse that wandering into a yoga class full of people breezily practicing Pincha Mayurasana when Dolphin pose feels like your limit.
If that sounds like you, here are the worst things you can do if you struggle in yoga class.
1. Force Yourself to Push Through and Risk Injury
Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Take your practice to your personal limit, where ever that is on any given day, and leave it there. Always speak up if you don’t want any hands-on adjustments to help you go deeper into a pose, and be ready to ask for modifications and use props to enter into variations.
“Most injuries in yoga are brought about by ambition or inattention – usually both. Ambition in a posture takes many forms: holding it a prescribed length of time, trying to stretch as far as someone else, unconsciously reaching for remembered levels of flexibility, or trying to achieve or reproduce psychic states.” – Joel Kramer
2. Leave or Lie Down in Savasana
That scenario I mentioned above? That actually happened to me. Early on in my yoga journey, I wandered into an advanced class by mistake and a dozen or so people were casually floating up into headstand and forearm stand. One guy even looked like he was made for Peacock pose.
Believe me, my first instinct was to walk out, but I’m glad I didn’t (partially because the drop-in class cost me an arm and leg). Instead, the strap and block became my best friend during that class, and I got familiar with Child’s pose whenever I needed to back off a little.
3. Compare Yourself to Other People in the Class
Do you find yourself looking around and thinking, “that person’s head is closer to the ground than mine”, “that person’s back bend is deeper than mine” or “my leg is so much higher up than everyone else’s”? Then you probably aren’t focusing and paying attention to the breath, the energy and the feedback from your body.
Yoga is more than asana and yoga is not a competition—neither with yourself nor with others. As Joel Kramer said, “If your attention and interest are not in the body, you are not fully present in the posture.”
4. Put Yourself Down
There is very little point to feeling dejected. Your practice is what it is and there is more to yoga than just the physical postural practice.
Instead, focus on breath work, energy, awareness, feedback and the other wonderful aspects and benefits that yoga offers. This is a great opportunity to practice Aparigraha, or non-attachment, by releasing any expectations and judgments about your practice.
Have you been in this type of situation before? What are your tips for anyone who feels like they are struggling through a yoga class?
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