All too often I have people come to me with questions about injuries they’ve sustained but can’t seem to heal through their yoga practice. They talk to me about the different styles of yoga they’ve tried, the different teachers, the various props they’ve used, but still their body is in pain and doesn’t seem to be progressing.
Whilst there are many reasons for why a person may not be progressing in their practice, through my experience I’ve concluded that there are two fundamental reasons which must not be overlooked:
1. Not being shown the correct technique for each and every asana
2. Not performing the right sequence for your body
Let’s break these down a little.
Not being shown the correct technique for each and every asana:
It is a huge mistake to think we can just half-heartedly perform an asana. There are crucially important, safe ways to mount, dismount and hold an asana. If, however, these steps are not followed then it’s likely you could be doing more harm than good to your body. Whilst an asana can feel strong and challenging, it should never feel painful or uncomfortable. If this is the case, then stop. On the flip side, some people perform asanas with poor technique for many years before experiencing the consequences. Shoulder problems, knee problems, wrist problems, tension headaches…. These health concerns and more can begin developing over time with repeated poor practice. This is why I’m so big on proper technique. Without it, yoga can be counterproductive to our bodies and progression will never happen.
Not performing the right sequence for your body:
No two people are the same. We all have different areas of strength and weakness. Our environments differ, our mental health differs, our beliefs differ... We are all unique with unique needs. With this in mind, it’s important to understand that every asana is not for everyone. Looking at both the physical and non-physical body, an asana that may be very powerful for me and have extraordinary healing benefits when practiced correctly could be very disruptive for another person. It may leave them feeling agitated, unable to sleep, aggravate an existing injury… This is why I’m such a huge fan of private yoga sessions and Mysore style classes (where you come to class but practice your unique sequence under the guidance of your teacher). Your practice is tailored to you and your specific needs to make sure you’re progressing and healing rather than regressing and harming.
So if you’re someone who feels you’re not progressing in your practice, first look to the experience of your teacher and the level of care they take to bring you into and out of each asana. Also consider looking for an opportunity to work with someone one on one for a period of time to deeply assess your needs and ensure you’re doing what’s right for you. You can then apply this knowledge to future led classes to avoid further aggravation.
Be sure to share your experiences with yoga and any troubles you’ve found with the practice. I’m more than happy to offer suggestions to assist in areas where you feel you’re a little stuck.
Sending huge hugs and love to you all.