Are These Things Holding Back Your Yoga Practice?

1) Wondering if you are doing it right... As long as you don't feel pain, you are doing it right. Everyone will feel different things in poses and there really isn't a right or wrong. You will feel stretching and strengthening, that's normal. It's more important to start and keep on going - forget about anything else! (I repeat, unless you feel pain - then pull back!) All you have to focus on is being better than you were the day before. And by that I mean focusing less on what's right or wrong, more on how your body feels as you move through poses and more on taking the time out for yourself each day.

2) Thinking too much! I always hear, "am I supposed to feel a stretch here or here?" All of our bodies are shaped differently, some people sit more than others, some people are more flexible.

Be confident in your ability to do what feels right for you.

It may take some time to let go of the thinking mind but it certainly doesn't take too long so be patient. When you get there, allow 'real life' and the to do lists to slip away for the time you are on the mat and this, my friend, is what yoga is all about.

Most common question - Breathing!

You may not be ready to inhale when the teacher says to and sometimes you may find that you aren't breathing at all! No problem! Your body is smart and it will do what feels right subconsciously.

3) Comparing yourself to others It's natural to look around in a class to see how other people are doing things but the moment you begin to compare yourself with someone else you are missing the whole point of yoga. I have said many times that "yoga is not a competition." I'd like to rephrase that...

It's a giant competition to be less judgmental of yourself on & off

the mat than you were the day before!

If you are going to compare anything...see how much more you can let go of the thinking mind today than you did yesterday. Step out of the mind and listen to your body, where you feel a stretch, areas of tightness and what feels good for your body that day. Breathe into areas of tension and tightness. Where the mind goes, energy will follow.

4) Being hard on yourself about your weight, fitness level or what you ate that day! Just stop it right now! As The Yoga Sutras say "yoga calms the fluctuations of the mind" so allow it to happen. You need different tools to do yoga than you need in your regular life. I can imagine some of you giving me that look with a twisted face thinking "easier said than done Bridget!"

Did you see my video where I was frustrated about 2 lovely ladies saying they were too fat to do a pose? One claimed to be the size of a whale (though looks pretty darn good to me.) Watch it! I shared how I used to stare at my fat rolls until they got smaller because you don't start taking yoga classes because you are already fit and flexible.

5) "I'm too tired to do yoga" and "I am busy and I have no time" So was I. And guess where that got me!? Bigger than I wanted to be and miserable! Sound familiar? This one really gets me going. If this is not you, skip down to number 6! 

If this is you: the reason you are tired is that you aren't doing enough (or anything) for yourself!! Yoga and qigong (mindful movement) literally give you energy. See this message. Allow the magic to happen. If you are a parent and think that you are taking time away from your children (was a former excuse of mine) then get them involved. And if they won't do it with you, then your family will see you taking care of yourself. You will be teaching them what caring for yourself looks like, how to live healthy, be committed and stand by your word. Relationships improve when you take care of yourself, by the way!

Some people are looking for a sign to get back into yoga. If that's you - this is it. We all have 24 hours in a day - some find the time for it and others find excuses...

6) Suffering from chronic pain, fibromyalgia, ME, other chronic illnesses etc and NOT taking control of your mind and body About 95% of people come to yoga & relaxation because they suffer from anxiety, depression etc or one of the things I've listed above. 

You've got two choices: do nothing or take back control where you feel like there is no control.

If you knew how much your physical body was affected by negative thoughts, you would never think a negative thought again. When we experience chronic pain, we can spend all that time thinking 'oh yup, here it is again, when did I take medicine? I wonder if there is something else I should take. Maybe I can sit differently. Is this ever going to stop? When is the last time I saw the doctor?' And on...and on... and on... I know. I did it. And if only I knew that changing my breathing could greatly reduce the symptoms, and I was in control, not the chronic condition.

I've got a solution that is free, only takes 5 minutes a day and you can do it in pajamas. 

7) Not understanding all that yoga is! A daily yoga practice helps with: - forgetfulness    - preventing you from getting colds often - helps you make fewer mistakes - eliminating the need to constantly check your phone

Sound completely nuts?! Yoga isn't only about the poses. There is so much more to it - creating space in the mind to spend less time with a busy mind, breathing using the body and not the upper chest, and taking the time to think about how your body is moving creates new pathways in the brain which leads to a whole new lease on life. When you commit to a daily yoga practice, you feel a freedom that you can't find another way. One common thing among yogis is saying things like 'yoga heals' or 'yoga saved my life.' Practice it daily for 3 weeks and you will see what I mean! It doesn't take going to classes to feel the benefits. There is SO much great yoga online.

Our years on this planet can be less busy and more full of joy if we take the steps to make it that way. Yoga doesn't prevent bad things from happening in life but it does give us an outlet to shift the negative energy and it allows us to take time to focus on other things than the past and the future.