Yoga pose breakthroughs (part 1)
While practicing all those special yoga postures, there are always yoga postures that seem too challenging. Maybe they don’t seem to change already for a long time. Or yoga postures where you do not even know where to start. Or maybe you have an injury that gets ‘in the way’. Then working harder is usually not the key. So let’s check how to work smarter.
Therefore, I have several recommendations to create breakthroughs in your yoga postures. In order to give you enough information to really get started, I will divide these over a number of yoga blogs. The first recommendation is about the difference between working from something and working towards something.
Recommendation 1: Working from where you are instead of towards
Often if we want to be able to do a certain yoga posture, we are only focused on creating a figure. In a way such as quickly wanting to tick off a to-do list. Or like wanting to achieve things that we think others expect from us to be successful.
However, the yoga postures are there to help us. To receive therapeutic benefits. For body, mind and spirit. And sometimes the figure that one has in mind is not consistent with that concept. That does not mean that I say that you shouldn’t work for a yoga posture. On the contrary. However, I do believe that it is about working with your body instead of against it.
To work from where you are now. Therefore it is important to be able to accept where you are now (in the posture). Because the alternative is that you have resistance to it. And the paradox is that through emotional resistance you get even more of the same and that keeps you exactly at the same place.
Because of the resistance you are not focused on WHAT IS possible. For example, if you for example focus on that you cannot yet balance in standing head to knee (Dandayamana Janushirasana) with your forehead on your knee, there are in general two options. Or trying to skip steps (such as keeping your thigh muscled contracted and your belly pulled in) or giving up.
If you try to skip steps, you will create a story in which it doesn’t work over and over again. Thereby you create the emotional habit and expectation “how it is for me in standing head to knee”. If you try to avoid the posture, you also don’t accept what you already can do. (Of course I do realize that taking a rest sometimes is the best thing you could do for yourself. I trust that you know when that is the case. And that you know when you are creating a story.)
Instead, can you truly receive the yoga posture? With everything that comes with it. Without guilt. From a place of acceptance. The physical challenges, but also the emotional challenges and your thinking patterns. So that you have the freedom to create new possibilities. And the challenges where you are working with will probably also teach you something that will also help you off-the-mat.
For example, Triangle pose (Trikanasana) suddenly became a big (painful) challenge for me when I worked with a knee injury some years ago. Mainly because I tried to skip steps at first. Because otherwise I would be confronted with my ideas about what others might expect from me. And with my own expectations. It changed when I started to focus on the therapeutic benefits of the posture. I found out that I could do the set-up. And that I felt that I was training my leg muscles there very well, which in turn provided stability for my knee joints. Which was exactly what I actually needed most at that moment. Just like learning to accept myself, including all my challenges. And because I no longer triggered the injury any further and at the same time actually created a better support system, I was able to do much more quickly. Feeling that I was doing something that really helped, caused me to have less resistance and fear over time. It even worked so empowering that I started practicing yoga in this way all the time. And still this approach helps me well.
“Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.” Søren Kierkegaard
What you actually prevent with this approach is yoga bypassing. While you might wonder why you would even want to avoid the transformation that truly receiving the yoga postures could give you. What happens energetically when you work from something (instead of towards) are the next steps:
- From being unconscious about how your body functions exactly in a yoga posture, you first become aware. That can feel like contrast, a challenge. Maybe different than you would like to experience.
- From consciousness, you could go to acceptance. Acceptance about how your yoga posture looks like at the moment. What you think about it, what you think others might think about it; these are all judgments. Judgments that you may let go.
- From acceptance, you can go to embracing it. To give it your unconditional love. This may sound a bit woolly, but if it isn’t the case yet, the chance for 'spacing out' is much more likely. For example, like freaking out by focusing on all kinds of 'what if' scenarios from a place of fear.
- From unconditional love it is easier to connect with your intuition. So that an imaginary light will shine above your head. And to feel yourself what your next logical step is. And focusing on that will help you further in your yoga posture.
- The more often you practice and apply this, the more will change. Which will also give you more confidence. And that trust will help you with your next challenge you encounter. Because now you know how to handle this.
Soon more tips will follow to realize breakthroughs in your yoga postures. To be continued ... In the meantime, enjoy working from where you are in your yoga postures.
Enjoy your Habits© today with love and light!
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