There are enough moments where I see a photo on Instagram of an amazing variation or new asana done by an absolutely beautiful and talented yogi, and my first thought is usually “I need to try that!". I have a whole album in my phone with asanas I want to work to achieving. I like to try these new asanas, most that include challenging my flexibility since I know it’s my strong point. Even though many times trying new things in my practice excites me, a small part of me is afraid that I might push myself too far that I might end up hurting myself.
It’s easy to look at a photo or video and think “that’s easy” when you see how gracefully it’s been executed. But it doesn’t always go that smoothly! I’ve tried many asanas that just end in frustration and about 20 minutes looking up prep poses to practice. I’m guilty of wanting to just do something like bounce to get into the splits when i'm just an inch or two off the ground so I can achieve it now! (Biggest No-No!) But I know that’s very dangerous, and you should know that too.
NEVER RUSH YOURSELF.
There are many people who make the mistake of really pushing themselves too far when they first start out with yoga or when practicing a new asana. I know that feeling, when you so desperately want to achieve an asana, you get frustrated and upset that you haven’t gotten it. It’s easy to forget that this is a process that can take a lot of time and work.
The thing is, I'm no expert. But it doesn't take one to tell you that you MUST listen to your body - especially if you're practicing on your own.
It's always good to have a little challenge. I personally believe if it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you. But there is a huge difference between challenging your abilities and pushing yourself past your limits.
I've seen many yogis warn people about things they shouldn't do. Staying safe and staying within what you body is ready for is extremely important. Support, focus, balance, flexibility and strength are all things we need to consider when working on our practice. I wouldn't just push my leg behind my head if I hadn't warmed up or ever tried it before. That's what we have prep poses for.
One asana especially, the splits. I talked in my last post about how using the Lets Start Yoga e-book has really improved my flexibility and helped me progress. This was not done overnight. And even when I started on the guide, I had already achieved the splits, It just wasn't straight and my hips were not squared. That's what I learned though the help of Lets Start Yoga.
And now imagine if the best your flexibility allowed was a low lunge. I can easily say you are not going to learn the splits in a week. Probably not even a 1 month, maybe not even a year. Our bodies all work differently. Flexibility was my strong point and I got my hips to touch the ground (comfortably, i.e. no pain at all) after 4 months of stretching for splits.
This photo was from yesterday (27/06) I warmed up with the splits flow I normally do and after 5 minutes let myself comfortably get into position, then i worked on adjusting to square my hips as much as I could. After 9 months of practice I'm still a work in progress. It could be another 9 before I finally get my splits where I want it to be.
I used to believe those "Learn the splits in 7 Day/10Days/30 Days" videos but honestly they never actually taught me anything that truly did wonders for my practice then left me angry at the end for still not getting it in time. I wanted fast results but I know what's better is to get good results after having a proper practice instead of some half-assed method that could just end up hurting you in the end; especially if you're a complete beginner.
Progress looks different for everybody but the important thing to remember is that your body will progress at it's own speed. Let it take time, it really doesn't matter if you've been practicing for a few days, few weeks, months or even years!
The beauty in it all is being able to take your time and get there when you are truly ready.
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