10 ways to fail at asana practice

Getting tired of having a successful asana practice?

Get right into these bits of advice, it’ll soon put you on (the wrong) track.
1. Treat the asanas as a performance which must be right no matter what
Point is to practice from a place of loving kindness, the moment it becomes about absolutes you’ll leave that place

2. Obsess about the asanas long after you’ve finished them
Did you not read the fine print about being in the moment?

3. Push down, push away all feelings which arise as a result of moving into the pose
Hmm.. lost touch with the holistic aspect of the practice?

4. Label difficult emotions, thought as un-yogic
All thoughts and feelings welcome on the mat, grasshopper. Some you want to take up residence permanently and others you encourage to move on

5. Fake the pose, desperately hang on while praying that the teacher will end the pose soon
The pose has been long over for you the moment you’ve entered that space. Time to explore how you got there in the first place?

6. Become really angry at yourself for not being able to do the ‘full’ pose
People are different and that means it’s OK to do what you can do

7. Beat yourself up by going into should,must,ought. i.e. saying things like ‘after x years of practice, surely I should be able to do this pose by now’
The practice is now, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it. Just encourage yourself to be present and to let those negative feelings go as they arise. The point of the practice is to eventually catch them before they arise and then let them go. If they have already happened, it’s OK, just back off and find another way into the pose

8. Ignore your intuition
Still not reading the fine print?

9. Rationalise your feelings away when a teacher gets you to do a movement which doesn’t feel right
You’re really not reading the fine print, aren’t you? Most teachers will welcome this as a chance to learn from your feedback.

10. Do the asana from a place of fear, lack of self worth
Easy to say that you shouldn’t do this, not so easy to be fully in yourself in a positive place. Part of the fun though..

11. Imagine that because you can / can’t do an asana that it means something
That’s true for around 100 people in the world, the ones who make a living as yoga models or who make DVDs. The rest of us, it just gets in the way. The point of asanas is just to practice, enjoy it as much as possible and then get on with the important things in life.

OK, that wasn’t exactly 10 ways, but just treat the 11th point as a bonus.

Good luck!

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© Kevin Saunders, Yogaground 2011

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