At some point, every yogi goes through hard times while trying to master an advanced yoga pose. These moments can be pretty challenging to the body and mind combined. Suddenly, you have reached a level where the gap between your abilities and your goals seems quite big.
The good news is that all the answers you’re looking for, the simple solution to your “problems,” can be found nowhere else but in yourself!
First of all, let me tell you that we’ve all been there! Reaching this milestone only means you are passing from an Intermediate to an Advanced Level as a yoga practitioner. And it is no coincidence that you are losing faith and feeling disappointed.
The whole point of yoga is to progress not only physically, but to grow mentally and emotionally as well. Being an advanced yogi means you have mastered the art of letting negative emotions go and have learned to be humble and happy in every situation.
So stop forcing everything and be happy where you are, and both your body and mind will progress at their own pace.
The second thing you need to do is to strengthen your body. These advanced yoga asanas are a combination of a calm mind and a strong, healthy body. Once you have cleared yourself from all negative thoughts, you have to start doing some strength training.
There might be a chance of this limiting your flexibility, BUT, if you end every workout with a yoga practice, I assure you, you’ll be just as flexible but twice as strong!
If you’re an intermediate to advanced yogi, you already have a strong body used to isometrics (holding a steady Plank Pose, for example), so what you need is more dynamic training.
Good dynamic training workouts are HIIT (high intensity interval training) or TRX suspension training (which uses your own body weight). This will help make you feel more stable in challenging poses and eventually allow you to master them.
Start noticing your own breath when you go into an asana. There is a scientific study that has proven that in hard times, we hold our breaths. So I know you think you breathe, but when you actually start paying attention to it, you’ll find out that you aren’t!
I myself have been practicing yoga for 13 years, and yet, I still find myself inhaling, holding an unstable handstand, thinking about everything else but my breath, and then exhaling as soon as I get out of the pose.
As soon as you start to force yourself to breathe long and deep inhalations and exhalations during asana practice, you will see the difference! Both your mind and your muscles settle down when you do so, and you feel as if you were born in this pose.
Do you know that athletes have to imagine themselves winning and reaching their goals before a competition? It’s called Autogenic Training. You visualize your goal, you visualize yourself doing it, you feel yourself doing it, and then you just do it!
They say that seeing yourself succeeding in something is 50 percent of you actually accomplishing your goals. So before you go into an advanced asana—visualize yourself doing it, contract your muscles, and imagine everything about the situation: how you breathe, how you feel.
You’ll be amazed by the impact that this real-life autosuggestion has on your reality!
Every asana has a variety of ways to approach it. Watch every single video on it you can find, read every single explanation of it by different instructors, and do not stop until you find the easiest approach for you to be able to do it.
For example, if you are trying to do Side Crow Scissor Legs, you might struggle for months trying to enter rom Side Crow Pose just like your favorite instructor suggests, and end up disappointed. On the other hand, transitioning from Revolved Lunge Pose may give you the results you seek.
So even though you fancy one instructor, don’t barricade your mind and leave out other options. Different people have different views and approaches to a goal, and this includes you—so only through deep research and practice will you find your way.
You actually trick yourself into the pose, and then, once you learn to hold it, you can approach it differently.
This is the key to everything in life! Practice every day, and you will only get better at it. Always be positive and open-minded, and you will be rewarded for your patience!
You have reached a difficult moment in your practice. Approaching it the right way will leave you extremely satisfied. You will find yourself doing things you have never imagined. All the power is in you, you just have to find it and unleash it. And never forget—why DOYOU?
Image Credit/Yogi: Maya Bahchevanska
by Maya Bahchevanska - Maya is a certified yoga instructor and passionate practitioner. After 13 years, she founded The MOVE Gym in Sofia, Bulgaria and her favorite style is Vinyasa because it corresponds to the dynamism of the modern world.
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