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Let me start with a story here. A girl walks into her first yoga class. At the beginning of the class, the first few basic asanas are a breeze for her. Since she is mildly athletic, she feels confident. Unfortunately, the instructor begins to add other postures that require more flexibility. As she glances around the room, she sees everyone else not having any trouble. While she was still trying that particular posture, she noticed that the class had moved on to the next one. She tries to keep up, while wishing she had chosen a spot closer to the exit. This would prove to be her first and last yoga class.
If that thought has ever crossed your mind that yoga isn’t for you or you are not progressing in your practice, you might not be getting the whole picture.
You can figure this out when you’re holding your breath in transition or while in the posture. While you are holding your breath, you are also tightening your muscles. This is in contradiction to yoga. Try breathing through your belly and release any tension in the body, while you are holding a posture. Allow your body to open out, while breathing deeply. Do not try breathing using your chest, else you will only do shallow breathing, which will make you tired really fast.
Stop comparing yourself with the pictures you see, and how everyone else does it. Everybody is different and has different capabilities. I have often seen people drop out of yoga, because they think they are not ‘flexible enough’. This is like saying “I need to be fitter to go to the gym”. There is no poster perfect posture. Do what is comfortable for you.
Props are a great way to assist the postures — be it blocks, bolsters, yoga bands, pillows, chairs, blankets etc. When I am teaching online classes, I usually make my clients use whatever furniture or items I see around them. The body posture becomes better and it eventually aids in grading to move away from the props. Of course, you should do what your body is capable of, but props are a great way to increase your body’s vocabulary.
In almost every class, I say “You need to start somewhere to get somewhere”. Be patient and kind to yourself; also to your mind and body. It is almost impossible to think you can do dynamic postures, if you don’t have the flexibility and strength in the first place. Consistency is key, so be patient with yourself and strive to create self-discipline around your practice.