That pose... you know the one I'm talking about. It's the one that makes you cringe whenever you hear the teacher say its name—the one you were hoping they might forget this time, or just remove from the sequence altogether. It is your most dreaded pose.
So what can you do to let go of some the anxiety that the mere thought of this pose induces?
Here are 3 tips to help you bring more peace and harmony to your practice, by helping you learn to love your most dreaded pose... or at least not hate it so much.
Do you tense up each time you get into this pose? Identify the places in your body where there's tension and send your breath there, inviting those areas to soften. If that's not helping, try backing out of the pose just enough, so that you feel the tension release. This is your home base—where you can feel safe, supported, and at ease.
From here, you can begin to gently shift and settle a little bit deeper into the pose each time to you come back to it. Even if its just the slightest bit, you're opening up your tissues, increasing your flexibility, and getting better at this pose each time you try it—without the mental anguish.
2. Get some support.
No, I don't mean you should call up your friends and start complaining. I mean get some blocks, bolsters, a strap, or whatever it takes to support your body and your limbs. Options for using support will vary from pose to pose.
If you're not sure where to place the blocks, just ask your teacher. Using support can help you find your home base. Finding those places where you feel comfortable, and where you don't, is all a part of tuning into your body and meeting it where it's at in any given moment, rather than trying to force it to be somewhere else. Possible side effects include feeling more comfortable in the pose while simultaneously deepening and strengthening your practice.
3. Be kind to yourself.
In yoga, we practice compassion. Each time you come to the mat, you have an opportunity to extend compassion to yourself. You can do this by practicing self-care, and letting go of self-criticism. Don't be so hard on yourself for not getting into the pose as deeply as your mind would like you to. Instead, try being grateful for what you are able to do by accepting yourself as you are, while still allowing for room to grow. After all, this is yoga practice, not yoga perfection.
These tips should help you stop dreading that pose so much. Before you know it, you'll find that you're home base is shifting, as you gently increase your flexibility, body awareness, and compassion toward yourself (and others!). Who knows, maybe one day you'll even start to like that pose.
Photo by Ali Kaukas