Be the Master of “Your” Pose

complicated yoga pose
I teach yoga. I take yoga classes as a participant. I have my own yoga practice. I go to yoga trainings. I write about yoga. I’ve been practicing for a long time. So as you can imagine, I occasionally get asked how do I (meaning them) do that pose (insert the most twisted/complicated pose ever) or I’m told that they want to master a pose (again insert complicated pose) in 3 months.

I have to say to those who seek the complicated pose that it is great you are excited about mastering a pose. Heck, I have those moments too. But I do want to say that is not what yoga is about. I know, I know…you don’t want to hear that. Still going to tell you.

Yoga is going to be a unique experience for each individual who practices it. We all have different body types as well as various conditions/issues going on. There will never be the perfect expression of a pose. The pose will be expressed differently on everyone. If you have an opportunity to see a whole class pursue a pose, you will know what I’m talking about.

However, if you are dead set on mastering a pose, I do have some useful pointers to help you on your journey.

1. Do a proper warm up first.
2. Have props available. (Blocks, straps, wall, chair…)
I say this because you’ll need them. Consider alignment. Shoulders need to be stacked, wrists under shoulders, knees tracking toes… Props help with that. They also reduce injury because you are likely reaching to far out of your Range of Motion (ROM) and thus you pull something. Use them to avoid pulling something. Additionally, they can be your support as you gain strength. Also, forget the idiotic mindset that props are a sign of weakness. Using them is a sign of strength and that you are listening to your body.
3. Yoga is a Journey, not a Destination!
Each pose has precursory poses or starting points to help prepare the body. Know what these starting points are. Poses also have breakdowns and or steps involved before the final expression. Additionally, you may have to stay in a phase for a while so you gain strength. There is no timeline. Don’t set one!
4. Yoga is a Practice, not a Perfect!
You aren’t going to master a so called pose in a day. Some do come quicker than others. However; even if you do master it, you will have days where you struggle with it. A lot of times this is due to lack of focus which might be caused by any number of things.
5. Even if you do master the pose…
Know this…it is a process, a journey. There is always going to be another expression of that pose or another pose to master. I call these poses your “pose nemesis.” I’ve also have learned that you can struggle and work on a pose for a very long time and then one day it just comes to you and you’ve got it. Kind of like riding a bike.
6. Work on your focus AKA “Dristi” and never hold you breath.
7. Ask a teacher to help you with a pose.
8. Internalize this.
Yoga is not a competition whether with yourself or with others. If you can internalize this concept, you’ll have a more enjoyable experience.

Now apply these concepts to your Pose X. Eventually, it will come to you, but it will be your expression, not necessarily the magazine’s or those you see on Pinterest.

The only job where you start on top is when you are digging a hole.

~ Anonymous

Happy Practicing,
~ Kristen

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8 Responses to Be the Master of “Your” Pose

  1. I’ve definitely experienced the weeks of struggle followed by the “aha” moment in several areas of my life. Sometimes you just have to put it away for a while if it’s frustrating, then it comes easier 🙂

  2. Awesome work. I absolutely loved Be the Master of Your Pose | yogapracticewithkristen.
    I hope you do not mind me saying this but it reminded me
    of posee that I learned about on an alternative internet-site.

  3. Incredible. That was a good read. I will social bookmark
    this web site for later. I like your style.

  4. mlovesyoga says:

    Powerful post! It seems so simple but yet so difficult to always keep in mind that yoga is a long and never ending journey. Mx

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