For some, it’s a familiar scenario in yoga class. We’re moving into Tree Posture, we exhale and lift our toes to adjust the soles of the feet. One foot comes up to the inside of our thigh and … over we go! We try again … and again but it’s just not happening. Finally, we resign ourselves to the fact that it’s just not going to happen in this yoga class and find ourselves in some approximation of the posture looking a bit awkward and feeling somewhat deflated.
I’ll let you into a secret – you’re not alone! You’re probably not even alone in that yoga class you’re attending! In fact, even the most seasoned yoga practitioners fall out of a balancing posture from time to time, some more than others.
Mental Attitude in Yoga Class
The first and perhaps the most important thing we need to deal with in any yoga class is our mental attitude. Our fear of failure and how we deal with it.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchill
Learn Yoga in 8 Weeks
- 26 Postures
- Introduction to yogic philosophy
- Basic meditation
- 3 styles of yogic breathing
- A potted history of yoga
Ready to stop 'doing' Yoga and start learning Yoga?
The first thing we need to know in any yoga class is that it’s not really a failure if we’re prepared to try again at some point – this wobble is just a part of the journey. A bit of what’s necessary in order to achieve our balancing goal. You may not be in the right frame of mind right now, but have another go tomorrow and the next day and see what happens.
The thing is, muscular strength in your feet and ankles is only part of the picture, the main element in a successful balancing posture is your mental focus. If your mind is all over the place, we don’t stand a chance. So you see unless we let go of the need for success and the reaction of berating ourselves after each attempt, we’re never going to be able to balance. This is why it’s much easier to achieve balancing postures in the privacy of your home, than in your yoga class.
Top Tips for Balancing Postures
- Steady Breath: Focus awareness on your breath. Nice strong, even breaths will help you maintain your composure in a yoga class. You can even count the seconds – this really helps with focus.
- Steady Gaze: Focus your gaze on a non-moving point ahead of you. If you’re in your yoga class – do not focus on another yoga – if they fall, the chances are you will follow!!
- Straighten up: Use your inhale to straighten your spine. Have a sense that you’re being drawn upward from the crown of the head.
- Fake it till you make it: Use a wall, a chair or a small child (that’s a joke – don’t use a small child!) to help you balance – make the connection to your prop light and slowly ease away. Keep your focus on your breath and your gaze and before you know it you’ll have let go of the prop and not even realise it!
- Modify: If you’re in yoga class and it’s really not happening for you, just modify the posture. Remember that yoga class is as much about mental focus as physical posture. Much better to retain composure and enjoy your practice so just change the posture to suit your needs. If you’re in tree, put the sole of your raised foot on your ankle and touch the floor with your toes. If you’re in flying warrior just lift slightly…you get the picture.
I hope this has been of some help to you. If you’re interested in learning more, I’m always happy to speak to you. Why not take a look at our 8 weeks Beginners Course. This covers everything from the ground up!