When it comes to developing and progressing in our practice, we’re basically guaranteed to have to deal with some pretty big obstacles. After all, yoga is about continuous growth — not the pursuit of perfection.
If you’re finding yourself struggling to maintain your practice, or if you simply just need a little something extra to restore your passion after falling into a bit of a rut, consider some of the following common yoga obstacles and what you can do to blast right past them so you can continue on improving as you enjoy the journey.
Nothing really compares to practicing alongside other yogis with a teacher leading the class, and even though classes are relatively inexpensive, they don’t always fit in everybody’s budget. But that doesn’t mean practicing is out of the question.
If you have internet access, you can find endless amounts of free yoga resources including video tutorials, video workouts, articles, photos, and even online communities. You can get a complete practice in just by searching for videos on YouTube, or connect with real yogis (including teachers) by following and interacting with them on Instagram. And of course if you don’t have internet access, you can always pick up a few yoga DVDs for pretty cheap from almost anywhere!
Lack of Time
A typical yoga class may be 75 or 90 minutes long, but that doesn’t mean you have to be willing to carve out that much time on a daily basis to focus on your practice. Even if you have as little as 10 or 15 minutes, you can still make your practice a daily habit.
Whether you choose to do just a few morning sun salutations to build heat, a quick seated sequence at your desk after sitting all day, or a long restorative pose to calm your mind and body at the end of the day — it all counts. Focus on your intentions rather than how much time you have.
Minimal Strength or Flexibility
Not everyone has the strength or flexibility to be able to perform every pose perfectly, and for many, even common ones — like upward facing dog, plank, or chaturanga — can be a struggle to do. And that’s perfectly okay.
Wherever you are in your practice, there are always ways to modify poses so that they’re easier on your joints and muscles. Try cobra pose instead of upward dog, or go to your knees for plank and chaturanga. Pushing past what your body is capable of doing could cause pain or injury, in which case, you’ll need to read over the next section!
Pain or Injury
Depending on the type and severity of pain or injury you may be suffering from, you may be able to modify your practice so that it works other parts of your body that are are in good shape to work, or so that it supports healing and relaxation for the body part that needs time to recover.
After getting the A-OK from your doctor to keep up with a modified practice, you can do your own research or ask your yoga teacher about some proper modifications designed to help you avoid aggravating your pain or injury. Even if that means shifting your practice to a restorative one for the time being, it’s worth it if it relaxes you and supports recovery.
Finally, perhaps one of the ultimate most common obstacle to yoga is the lack of motivation that sets in from becoming frustrated by little to no progress. Whether you want to be able to perform a perfect handstand flawlessly the first time, or just sink a little lower in your warrior poses without feeling like dying, it can be really demotivating to feel like you’re getting nowhere.
The solution? Keep going. As long as you’re being consistent, tailoring your practice to your needs, and working on maintaining proper form and alignment without getting caught up in wanting to progress quickly, you will make progress in time. It may not show at all on a day-to-day basis, but give it a few weeks, months, or even years or consistent practice and you’ll get there.