If you have a home yoga practice, it’s important to consider what poses you are doing on a regular basis. There should be a balance in your home practice, a mixture of all types of asanas, not just eight or ten of your favorite poses. Think about the poses that make up your home yoga sequence and, also, what poses are not in the sequence. Is there a particular yoga pose that you are avoiding when you practice?
The Difficult Yoga Poses
Each of our bodies is different due to both genetics and our own habits and routines. We all have a yoga pose or two that seems particularly difficult for us. It may be a seemingly simple pose like baddha konasana, bound angle, or one that is more challenging like parivrtta trikonasana, revolved triangle. It’s easy to avoid the poses we don’t like when we do yoga at home. We all want to feel like we are good at yoga or, at least, making progress. We feel less successful when we are struggling with difficult poses.
Setting a Goal with your Home Yoga Practice
One way to improve your form in challenging poses is to set a goal. Though it is often said that yoga should not be goal-oriented, consider setting a goal that is about effort, not results. Your goal might be that you will practice a particular pose at least once every day for a month. If you follow through, there is likely to be a noticeable improvement.
Practicing Similar Yoga Poses
One way to approach your difficult pose is by practicing other poses that have the same shape. An obvious example is paschimottanasana, the seated forward extension. If that is your difficult pose, spend some time with uttanasana, the standing forward extension. The two poses have the same shape, but different orientation, standing versus sitting. Often, one form will be easier for you than the other. Working intensely on the easier pose will begin to help you with the more challenging pose.
Ask a Yoga Teacher for Help
If you are having a particularly hard time working on a yoga pose, ask a yoga teacher for guidance. During a regular class, you may get some help with the pose, but there is probably more than your teacher has to offer. Asking them before class about a pose gives them a chance to pay particular attention to what you are doing. They may come up with some new insight or suggestions that will make a difference for you.
We become stronger and more effective in yoga by confronting challenges and working through them. You should have fun with your yoga practice, but make sure you are not ignoring all of the poses you don’t like. Pick one to work with; it will make you a better yogi.