We commit ourselves to self-development and make ambitious plans, but sometimes there are unforeseen situations in our life when something happens and changes our normal routine. We come across different barriers to the practice of yoga, from the physical disorder to the banal boredom. However the important thing is not what happens to us, it is how we respond to our failures. Yoga recommends us not to wait for the “right time” and continue to practice. You can always turn defeat into victory. Let us see what are the barriers to our practice and how can we deal with them.
Usually, physical indisposition is a barrier to yoga practice. If we suddenly get ill, it is better to forget about our usual practice rhythm for a while. Even if we feel like a hero and want to take care of ourselves, we should still see a doctor first. Then follow the doctor’s advice, restructure the practice, taking into account the recommendations on what exercises can be performed and what are contraindicated.
Yoga never substitutes medicine, although it perfectly complements it. After recovering, the intensity of the practice can be resumed by listening to the signals of the body. It is important to always remember that Yoga and pain are incompatible!
If there are contraindications to performing physical exercises, but you cannot think of a day without practicing, then other types of yoga can be done. There are sound vibrations, breathing observation, Visualization yoga, meditation — these are just a few of the existing types of yoga available for practice while you have limited mobility.
The most important thing in Yoga is a feeling of happiness and joy from practicing. If we do not feel joy from letting ourselves and from overcoming ourselves, then this is not yoga. It may be anything else, like fitness, gymnastics, aerobics, etc.
First of all we need to learn to experience joy of the process itself, from the feeling of owning our body. It does not matter whether the body is flexible or not, it is still ours, and we must treat it with care and love. Therefore, it is very important to let the body work and relax during classes, closely monitor our feelings and make sure there is no pain.
Even if we cannot practice now but we are willing to do it, it is already a victory! Success in yoga is measured by a steady habit of practicing. The desire to get back to practice arises only through the acquired positive experience.
Here are some tips how to overcome physical discomfort effectively:
- When you are not feeling well, when the movement is severely limited, it is recommended to just lie down on the mat and relax.
- There is a recommendation in yoga to practice at the same time in the same place. Even if we cannot practice one type of yoga, we can always replace it by another. In this way, we will accelerate the processes and achieve positive results.
- We can practice at half pace or mentally. This, in itself, is a strong practice of Visualizaiton yoga which gives excellent results. We can use the power of our imagination to change ourselves and our world.
- Change the attitude towards the practice. Think about what benefits you can get from the classes.
- Studying of the ancient treatises is Yoga of Studying. If there is no physical ability to practice, use this time to develop the mind. This is work from the subtle to physical. The body develops the mind, but the mind also develops the body.
Lack of willingness to practice
Sometimes we have natural pauses in our practice. It happens even with the best habits. What do we do when we get fed up of brushing our teeth? We may skip it several times, but we understand that we need to start doing it again, otherwise there will be unpleasant consequences.
Yoga recommends to develop an understanding of where we have to force ourselves, and where we can let it go. If we force ourselves all the time, it will fail or begin to resist. If we indulge ourselves all the time, it will result in laziness and inertia.
Yoga and violence are incompatible. Yoga is relaxation as well as tension. We are straining the body so that it is better to feel relaxation afterwards.
Some practitioners after some time may have a slowdown and a steady reluctance to practice. This does not mean that something is going wrong. There is such a concept as a mechanism for obtaining pleasure. Pleasure hormones are produced in response to any pleasant action and thereby form a pattern of behavior.
As soon as the programmed pattern reaches the limit, it becomes necessary to form a new one. This requires strength that needs to be taken somewhere: change your schedule, give up bad habits, change diet. It is not always easy to do, because the previous habits were formed by ourselves and took a long time of hard work. Our fellow yogis and yoginis play a great role in development of our habits.
Regular meetings with people who are happy to help and prompt in difficult times are very inspiring. We all have our own way of life, but perhaps someone else was also in a similar situation. They have already done these mistakes and understood what was the reason. We just need to give them the opportunity to share this knowledge with us.
Life is yoga itself
Yoga is not finished when we have completed our practice on the mat. There are as many types of yoga as there are manifestations of human life. There is a proper time to each type of yoga. If the time for physical yoga has not come yet, there are many others to inspire us and move us forward on the path of self-realization.
The only criterion is our expression of will to make any process of our life a practice. When we listen to the music it is Nada yoga, when we sing — it is Mantra yoga, dancing is Rita yoga, meditating is Jnana yoga or Meditation, etc. Wherever we feel harmony, there will be yoga. Is this not a victory to live in joy and harmony with yourself and the world around you?!
When life challenges us for strength and it is not possible to practice the usual types of yoga we should pause. Remember that this will also pass. Let yourself relax, catch your breath and redirect your strength in a parallel direction leading to the intended goal. Having regained our strength, we can resume practice. After all, Yoga is a very kind system! It gives a lot of tools so that we can turn any defeat into victory!
Open Yoga. The window of opportunity is open!
Author: Julia Namrata.
Chief Editor: Mirra
Project curator: Kerigona
Translators: Eugene Savitar, Teya Sweet, Alex Vijaya