Feeling Stuck? 4 Tips For Success In Your Yoga Practice

Like all difficult things that are doable, yoga attracts a certain sort of person. This sort of person I am referring too comes in all shapes and sizes, and this sort of person is sometimes called an “aspirant”. Even the most devoted aspirant can feel stuck and unmotivated to step on the mat or meditate.

Here are four suggestions for aspirants who want to succeed in their pursuit of goals in the practice of yoga.

Accept where you are right away, without judgement

Whether we are stressed out, frightened or inflexible, or whether we are injured, unhealthy, or hungry for teachings and growth, we all arrive to the mat carrying things about ourselves that we may not like too much, or that we simply want to work on. Being clear on what those things are is as important as not judging yourself for carrying them.

Yoga as a path and practice does not set limits on personal growth and self discovery. So the next time you decide you are a disaster or a mess, just reorient. These discomforts you have are actually treasures. They are your own entry point into the practice. Without upsets and problems, an aspirant would have nothing to solve or reach for. Use what you no longer wish to be burdened by to determine your goals on the mat, and rejoice from there as you approach facing and solving those problems everyday on the mat and beyond.

Enter your practice with goals unburdened by expectations

If you set a goal in yoga, it’s important not to drown that goal in your own expectations. Preconceptions of what it looks or feels like to accomplish goals you set are not helpful. It’s certainly important to understand your goal and see yourself reaching for it, but if you’re really honest with yourself, you do not know what it will actually be like for you to reach your goal until it is actually reached. Allow yourself to grow into the training, enjoy the process without expectation, and you’ll slowly achieve your goals in an organic, natural way.

Draw confidence from honesty

Consider your own physical and mental constitution. Consider your talents. Consider your own strengths and weaknesses. Consider your most primal attachments and aversions. It’s a tall order, for sure, but being honest with yourself is the first step towards personal growth and understanding.

I compare these various considerations to eating. You’re probably careful about the food you intake. Not only that, but you probably also have a favorite flavour of ice cream. I’m using food because it is an easy example. You know how good that special flavour only you like happens to be. But not everyone likes the same flavours as you do, and you know what? That is perfectly okay. The simple fact that your joy does not necessarily have the same origin as the joy of another is all the more reason to heed your ability to be confidently honest – and your success on the mat depends on this. You have to acknowledge your unique body, talents, abilities and limitations accordingly, and think of it no differently than you would think about those “flavours” that bring you joy.

Yoga is about cultivation, so you do not want to be cultivating anything that does not have any honest benefit to your overall well being or your own joy. Get clear on what will and won’t bring you joy, and bring that awareness to the mat, along with everything else that constitutes your practice

Also, be on the lookout – personal inner and outer growth will occur naturally as a result of your practice, so as you go further along your yogic path, you might start liking a completely new selection of flavours!

Find your own pace

The struggles you encounter in your yoga practice are not against other people. In yoga, there is no finish line in class you have to cross, and you do not have to be better or worse at asana than anyone who surrounds you. Yoga is about self growth and personal awareness.

Directly comparing yourself to other aspirants and practitioners can be a dangerous and counterproductive activity. We all enter into the practice of yoga from a different position. The distinct positions we all occupy in life bring entirely unique concerns to the mat, and therefore they deserve specialised, individual attention.

Do not hurry yourself on the mat. Every moment you spend doing something on that mat with all your awareness and capacity concentrated and invested is time spent getting closer to your goal. But goals in yoga do not have any deadlines. Their completion depends as much on due diligence as they do on your own physical constitution, your own mental habits, and many other factors. Explore your practice and carefully arrive at a pace that works for you.

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Nicholas Ratliff

Nicholas Ratliff is freelance a visionary artist, writer, researcher, and educator that has been formally studying Asian Classics and independently analysing Esoteric subjects for fifteen years. His areas of interest include Astrology, Amatuer endeavors in Comparative Religion, Ancient History, Yoga practice, Meditation, Creativity, Imagination, Healing, Therapy, Human Potential, Journaling, Qi Gong, Tibetan Buddhism, and Nonviolence. He currently resides in Santa Cruz, California where he continues his research projects, studies, and provides educational and astrological consultation for students and clients of all ages.