What To REALLY Work On During Your Practice

By Bethany | May 06, 2018 | practice yoga

     Tonight was a very special night for me.  I had a client come to her first hot yoga class!!  I can't even tell you how proud I am that she even showed up.  And you know what? She did great....tight hamstrings and all!  I’m just beaming with pride, right?!  I looked over and asked several times if she was good and she smiled back.  There was a time when she dropped back into child’s pose, took a few deep breaths and then picked right back up.  Having had the opportunity to introduce her to yoga and then witness her first yoga practice in a group setting, I’m so excited I can’t even focus on my own practice!!!  Before I know it, we’re bringing it down to the mat for savasana.  We rise...Namaste....class over.  

     I excitedly walked up to her after class and said “Sooooo, how was that?!?!”  Her response threw me off guard.  “That was so humiliating!  That was like high school athletics all over again.  I probably won’t ever come back.”

     Was she not in the same class that I was in?!?  How could she not see how good she did?!?!  I was so confused.  Maybe I missed something!  What I missed was everything going on in her head!        

So here’s a list of what to work on during your practice. :)

  •  Get out of your head and into your body:  “I’m the only one struggling....Why is this so freaking hard...Everyone can see me fumble around my mat...This is pointless....Holy crap I just fell....This is so embarrassing!”  <---- THAT is being all in your head.  When you recognize that’s where you are, deepen your breath and get back into your body.  Start with your feet and work your way up.  Tune in to how the pose makes you feel.  Where is there tension?  Where is there ease?  And when emotions or "stories" (i.e. high school athletics!) come up, just notice them.  You don't have to believe everything that pops into your head.  You also don't have to judge yourself for what does come up.  Just simply observe.  Some thoughts are flat out lies.  Some (like this example) reveal to us where we are still struggling.  After that class, my student should have realized there are some things from high school that she hasn't let go of.  I think that's golden!  Because now she can do something about it.  
  • Be okay with where you are today:  You are different on different days.  Some days you need to go all out and some days you need to modify.  Either way, be okay.       
  • Your pose is not going to look like her pose:  Our bodies are different.  There are scientific terms like compression, where bone on bone hit and will not allow you to go as deep or as far as Susie Q over in the corner.  It doesn’t mean she’s better at the practice than anyone else.  It also doesn't mean you shouldn’t be in class.  We start our practice at different times and then factor in pre existing injuries, it's just plain silly to compare your practice to anyone else's in the room. 
  • What anyone else thinks about you is none of your business:  If you think anyone is judging your practice (which they probably aren’t, but maybe), remind yourself of this....what they think is none of your business.
  • Cut yourself some slack (every now and then):  It's just yoga.  So what if you can't stand on your head after 1 month??  This is a life long practice.  So sit back and chill out.  It's going to be a loooooong bumpy ride if you're already worrying about things you can't do.  And I'm not judging.  I deal with this too.  I've been practicing 5 years, I should be able to jump into crow…and land it….every single time.  But guess what, I don't.  Beating yourself up won't get you into the pose any faster.  So cut yourself some slack. (every now and then).    
    Peace, Love & Namaste :)

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