No matter where you are in your yoga practice, you should always strive to push yourself. When a new pose doesn't come naturally, it's so easy to worry about what we look like, who's around us, why we can't balance, why we're so bad at yoga, etc. It's time to check your ego at the door and be kind to your yogini self!
Yoga is a practice that strives to connect the body and mind. When you're beating up on yourself, do you think you're going to finally land that crazy Crow? No way! When you release those thoughts and just go for it, you're much more likely to make it happen. Here are four things to remind yourself if you start head tripping about a new yoga posture:
- The beginner's mind in yoga is sacred. Yoga teachers often say that we should all try to have a "beginner's mind." A beginner's mind is an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceived notions about yoga. It has no expectations and goes through the movements without worry. If you want to nail a pose you've never tried before, keeping — or attempting to keep — a beginner's mind is a great concept to consider.
- There's always an alternative. After practicing for years, I still fall out of standing postures that normally feel like no biggie. After trying a few times, instead of stressing out, take an alternate route. I promise you when a teacher says, "If you need a breather, just go hang in child's pose for a bit," they mean it. If you're coming off a super stressful day, you might need a little more time to get acquainted and connect with your breath than someone who's just been hanging at home. A sweet, juicy child's pose always makes me reconnect with my breath, or a strong, solid mountain pose always makes me feel grounded.
Keep reading for two more ways not to stress about new poses.
- Be cool with where you're at. The last thing you ever want to do is beat yourself up about a posture you can't seem to hold. When we tense up and stress out about a specific posture, we're actually hindering our ability to move through our practice. This isn't just for beginners; it's for everyone! No one who does a gorgeous Locust Scorpion or Hummingbird just woke up one day magically being able to do it. It takes a lot of strength, balance, and confidence.
- Falling can be awesome. OK, so it's not that awesome if you're tucked in too tight between two other people. But, if you've got ample space to try and fail, you should absolutely go for it. I once had a fantastic instructor who would get so excited when he heard a loud thump in the room; it meant people were pushing their limits and trying new things. If you want to try a new posture, but are afraid to take the plunge, quietly raise your hand and ask for your teacher to give you a quick assist. If you're already in class, you might as well take advantage of one of the best resources available: your instructor.
Any other advice to share? Success stories of letting go of the head trip? Tell us below!