When you’re doing well in your yoga practice, nothing feels better. Every morning is a new opportunity to embrace the unknown, to advance your skills, and to heighten your awareness of body and spirit. Every movement is fresh and inspiring.
This phase of power and prowess, however, always seems to come to an end at some point. I know I’ve been there all too many times: the dreaded plateau. Your movements and poses seem clumsy and bland. Your mind keeps wandering. And as you self-reflect, you berate yourself unkindly for not being more in tune with your body and spirit.
For many, a plateau is due to a lack of challenge. It can also simply be due to boredom for some or distraction for others. No matter what the issue, though, there are certainly things you can do to wake up your spirit and remind yourself that “this too shall pass.” In fact, I have to remind myself of this often. Fortunately, it does get easier the older I get.
If you’ve hit a yoga plateau recently and are looking for ways to reignite your yogic spirit, I want to offer these 4 tips. With varying degrees of success, I’ve used all of these tips myself over the years. I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me.
Accept plateaus as inevitable.
There is beauty in yoga’s continual renewal. I know it can be difficult to think about now — while you’re in the throes of a plateau — but if you can realize that success in your practice will return, you’ve already won. In other words, accept that plateaus in your practice are normal and inevitable. Every yogi has them — even those who are fully dedicated to their practice.
When you can accept this, only then can you fully move on to the next phase of your journey.
Enhance your mindfulness.
I’ve noticed that one of the things that’s often missing in my practice is the way my mind connects to my body. It’s so easy for me to get lost in another world when I should be focusing on my practice. I think about the past — good times and bad. I think about the future — what I have to do that day or week, what I should be doing, what could happen, what could go wrong. Sometimes, to be honest, I just think about absolutely anything as a way to get my mind off of what I’m doing.
Why do I do this? I don’t really know. Often, I think it’s boredom. But more frequently, I think it’s fear. The fear is usually from something else that’s going on in my life, but it manifests in my yoga practice because yoga is such a quiet, solitary activity. You can’t hide with yoga, which can be frustrating. Of course, it’s also what I love about the practice.
The answer to this mind wandering is mindfulness. We have to release our monkey mind (the part of us that wants to jump quickly from subject to subject) and focus on the moment. Breathe with the moment. Be in the moment. Only then can we reconnect with what makes yoga so beautiful.
Alleviate pain and soreness with CBD oil.
Recently, I had the terrible experience of having a pinched nerve in my neck, which I believe was due to a day of air travel followed by a horrible night’s sleep on a bad pillow. The first few days after this were full of excruciating pain. I couldn’t do yoga, let alone get out of bed.
After seeing a chiropractor, I was able to get some relief, but I still had residual pain for several days. During this time, I was desperate to get back to my yoga routine.
It’s not that I would call this a “plateau,” per se, but it was certainly a time when my practice was lacking, and I was looking for a solution. In the end, the only way I could do my practice was with a topical CBD oil I procured from a well-established Detroit dispensary. I would apply the oil before and after I practiced, and the effectiveness was amazing for both pain and inflammation.
I found myself thinking about people who deal with pain routinely — more frequently than I do. For those with daily pain struggles, this pain can definitely be a deterrent for furthering your practice, which is why I ultimately recommend looking into CBD oil as a viable, non-invasive, non-medical solution.
Start journaling about your practice.
Reflection is a powerful tool for many, including myself. Lately, I’ve started journaling before and after I practice, and doing so has produced rare insights that I never would have known about otherwise.
When I journal, I tell myself that I only have to write one sentence — about anything. It doesn’t have to be intense or profound. This gets me going, and inevitably, I write more. Later, I like to return to what I’ve written. Rereading my yoga journal gives me even more insight into my practice and allows me to reflect in a unique way that’s totally new.
I hope these tips are able to help you on your yoga journey. I know that hitting a plateau can be frustrating, but as you can see, there are many things you can do to release these stagnant phases and deepen your practice at the same time.
- Self-Care; How To Create A Healthy Routine For Yourself? - November 30, 2021
- Yoga Teacher Training Retreats 2022: my Recommendations - November 30, 2021
- How Surfing Improves Your Mental Health - November 29, 2021