get past your yoga plateau
posted: June 23, 2010
Feeling stuck? Let go of your fear and jump into something new
I’ve been practicing for over 10 years and have been teaching (RYT200) since 2003. Yet I still cannot break my plateau – I’m so comfortable in intermediate classes and I’m so connected with my spirit – or at least I feel it, but maybe I’m wrong – but I’m stuck in my practice. I cannot let go of my fear of handstands and headstands and other ‘flying’ poses. Arm balances, I’ve got zero issue with and I LOVE playing around, so I’m eager to get to that point with being upside down as well. How do I let go of that fear? For the past 2 years I’ve been working hard – I’ve always had a good amount of upper body strength but I have weaker abs and chronic low back issues (degenerative disc disease since age 12), which I think are a huge factor – and I still can’t get past the hump. I’m trying not to let my ego get in the way, but it’s so difficult when I’ve been practicing for so long and feel so comfortable in all other parts of my practice. Is it just not meant to be, or do I need to stop focusing on the physical and get more into the meditative part of it?
A comment for Grace – reading your profile, I am in complete awe of you. What wonderful work you’re doing with your practice!!! That is my dream… someday! – Nicole
a yogi answers
Thank you so much for your comments. I know how challenging it can be when we feel we’ve hit a plateau. It can be hard to push through it, and sometimes it is much more challenging to let go and remember to enjoy our practice for what it is. I have always liked to change things up, so I don’t get stuck in a comfortable routine. I am a big fan of exploring new classes, for different teachers will inspire me to break a cycle.
I haven’t practiced with you so I am not sure what you have tried or what preparations you have done in order to explore inversions. Have you tried anything against the wall? A great exercise is to place your hands on the floor – shoulder-width apart – and walk your feet up a wall, so that your body is in an L-shape. This will help you overcome the fear. You can then work toward lifting one leg straight up to the ceiling, and then switching sides. Doing some workshops in inversions will help you as well.
If you suffer from a degenerative disc disease, it is likely playing a role in your practice, so you must remain patient and be kind to yourself. Try to relax and enjoy your practice and don’t be afraid to pursue different aspects of Yoga, particularly the meditative aspects of the practice, for this alone may teach you many things about your asanas, and some mental blocks you may have encountered along the way.
There is so much I would like to ‘accomplish’ in my physical practice, but I really wanted to explore other things. Nothing prevented me. I was benefiting so much from yoga that I felt I should use that in other realms of my life. I am fully dedicated to supporting my community, and would encourage all to explore a yoga practice of service, yoga-in-action. There is so much one can do! It helps to start small and to be as specific as possible, and never be afraid to reach out to your community. It is about changing the outlook from: “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I be of help? How can I be of service?” If you are looking for some resources, take a look at www.offthematintotheworld.org for some inspiration!
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