Guest Author - Tracy Webb
It seems fairly common for many yoga practitioners to find that their practice has reached a plateau. Something feels stuck, and no progress is being made. With some even reporting that they are not receiving the benefits they expected from their practice. This can lead to a sense of failure and more often than not the practice gets dropped.
If this has happened to you, check how you are performing the postures. Some of these checks include:
* What is my mind doing?
* Am I holding my breath?
* How am I feeling?
Asking yourself these simple questions assists with bringing the mind back to the posture. When you explore the above, it is possible to unlock a depth of strength and stamina from within.
What is my mind doing?
Asking yourself this question brings your attention back to the present moment. All to often, we can be caught in thoughts and not present to what is at hand. When the mind is scattered, it is more challenging to regulate the breath and stay attentive. and to be aware of what we are doing. Everything happens on automatic pilot.
When the mind is distracted, there is a tendency to rush through things, and become unaware. When in posture and the mind is distracted, the discomfort that is felt physically is symbolic of the discomfort in the mind. Once we are able to focus the mind and attention, all tasks become easier and simpler to complete.
Am I holding my breath?
Many yoga postures require us to hold certain positions for several breathes, some for several minutes. If we are not breathing properly, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the postures.
It is important to breath at your own pace and rhythm, whether you are being asked to perform long deep breathing, breath of fire or short sharp nostril breaths. When we follow our own rhythm, and focus the mind on the posture, it is possible to find a space between the breath and the posture that allows you to move into the pose more effectively and calmly.
When you hold the breath during a pose, you block the oxygen from flowing and create a panic in the body. Breathing naturally and in your rhythm frees the panic, and creates flow in the body and it's movements. This allows for more flexibility to increase the stretches and to move into the posture.
How am I feeling?
Asking this question opens the awareness up to include how we are feeling in our body and in the posture. If you are feeling tense or anxious, it is likely that the breath is not regulated. If you feel calm and relaxed, it is a sure sign that you are in the flow and functioning well.
Becoming tuned in with yourself during yoga is of great important to how well your practice will progress and the amount of benefits you will receive.