“The very pose you are avoiding is the one you need the most.”
If you are like me, there is a pose (or set of poses) that you avoid like the plague during your yoga practice. For me, it was inversions. There was just something about being upside down with my legs in the air that scared me. I would scroll through Instagram and look on wistfully at all of the amazing instayogis in their Forearm Stands, Headstand, Handstands, Finger Stands, etc. But when it came time for me to get inverted during class, I couldn’t do it. I just stayed in Downward Facing Dog until my instructor told us to move on to the next set of poses.
But if you want to grow in your yoga practice and grow as an individual, you have to go for those poses. And here are some steps to get you there.
1. Get With Your Yoga Instructor
Before going into any pose that you are unfamiliar with, it is best that you ask your instructor to demonstrate it. Ask what parts of the body the pose engages, where you’ll feel the stretch, where you should put the weight. You don’t have to be a professional to do those “advanced” poses, but you don’t want to go into it completely unaware.
2. Go Through Your Practice As Normal
Focus on your breathing. Set your intention for your practice. Make sure you really focus on the warm up, you’ll definitely want your muscles to be prepared for a new pose. To really get your mind on a positive note, do a couple of poses that you know you feel the best in. Maybe it’s Warrior II, King Pigeon, or Tree Pose. Do something that you love.
3. Get Out Of Your Head
Before you go for it, stop overthinking the pose. Stop telling yourself that you can’t do it! You will most likely not be able to execute the pose 100% “correctly,” but you will be learning and growing.
4. Go For It
Go for your arm balance. Climb up into that headstand. Stretch deep into that backbend. You don’t have to do it perfectly the first time; you just have to start it. If you fall out of the pose, get back into it. If you don’t have the strength for it, keep doing variations until you get it.
It might take you a couple of weeks, a couple of months or even a year. But yoga is not reaching your toes or standing upside down on just your pinkie. Yoga is learning things about yourself on your own, individual journey.