This article was originally posted here on Nora Benian’s blog, but I loved it so much, I wanted to share it with you.
As the years progress in my yoga practice…I’m still a “baby” in the practice by many standards, having practiced it just shy of 10 years, but I have definitely –and still do–push myself to reach goals in my yoga practice….usually surrounding what postures I want to be able to “master.” Yes, I know yoga is much much more than Asana (or postures), but the physical practice is what drew me in, and it is the daily reminders (sometimes dose of humble pie) that helps keep me coming back to the mat.
In Nora’s post, she talks about how to reach your Asana (or posture goal) and goes deeper than just the drills or strength or openness required…She goes deep down to the tissue…where the issue(s) can be hidden. Have a read and let me know what you think!
It isn’t always about achieving the posture but rather what you heal and learn along the way.
Sure, It’s fun and exciting when you have worked your way into being able to do something once seemly impossible to do. But there are many interesting details about yourself that are revealed as you acknowledge your weaknesses and your attitude toward challenges.
When practicing yoga asana we are expelling old energy, toxins, and beliefs about life as we move past previous limitations. We are also getting stronger and more flexible which leads to developing better concentration and mental focus as well as being more open-minded.
The method to advancing in asana is to do it everyday with the intent to at least maintain what you have developed. There will be days when you have a little extra strength or determination to take it a step further or hold it a little longer. This will move your edge. There will also be days when you need to take it easy and nurture the needs of the body, giving it time to repair and not push so hard.
Remember your nervous system pays for it when you push beyond present limitations. Your structural tissue does too, but that repairs much more easily than the nervous system.
So listen carefully and be sure to not let the ego overtake your body’s needs or capabilities that day.
It is hard to admit you have fallen back in strength or flexibility, but you can build it back slowly with daily practice.
Also very important to know is that you have to be psychologically ready to release the holdings in the body that are still carrying fear or trauma. For the body to willingly let go of these holding you must be dealing with the inner clean-up of these issues. Inner work of facing your fears or forgiving the pain that you have had to endure due to another’s actions must be done. This takes self-inquiry, compassion toward yourself and forgiveness of the causes of these experiences.
It does help to know that your soul grows and becomes wiser with each and every challenging experience that you have surpassed. Without these difficulties we would remain stagnant and fearful our whole lives with very little growth in our spiritual development and advancement in our understanding of the life we live.
After all, knowledge is power and power gives us the strength to experience more, thus leading to more growth. With each level of understanding achieved the darkness is replaced with the light helping us to see the world and our lives more clearly, full of awe and peace knowing we can handle the next life challenge thrown our way.
It has been said that, we are only given the challenges we need to help us up to the next level.
That is how we should approach our asana practice. The yogic poses are meant to clear the blocks in the flow of energy through our Prana nadis or energy channels to help us feel peace. Then we have a lack of distractions from the discomforts in the body and an abundance of energy flow so we feel good. By feeling peace we can meditate longer, coming to places within ourselves that are revealing information and insights into life and our circumstance helping us make peace with the souls who are placed in our lives to challenge us to grow.
Complex yet simple. Emotional recovery is what gives us strength as any negative feelings sap our energy keeping us weak. So to be strong we must forgive, let go, and love even the difficult to love and you will advance in your yoga practice.
But how does that advance our asana practice?
Well, once we have let go psychologically to our sufferings and blame of the cause and learned to see that it had some benefit to our growth, then the body let’s go of the holding related to the issue and voila you can suddenly get into that back bend, crow, headstand or splits which you have been trying forever to get into.
SO, keep on practicing, keep an open mind, develop the ability to open your heart and grow!!
I’d love to invite you to come practice with us here at Thrive Yoga and Wellness where we have 40 + classes each week to help you feel, grow, and achieve the goals you have made for yourself (whether it in asana or self-care.) We also have a ton of free content on our Youtube Channel where you can get to know several of the teachers here at Thrive and practice a variety of yoga styles all from the comfort of your home. If you’re looking for something a little more intense and sure to help you build strength, be sure to check out our library of special online videos designed specifically to strengthen you through yoga! I can’t wait to see you on your mat!