You might be wondering – why is yoga so hard? And how do I make it easier?
At first… it’s not clear how to do the poses correctly – let alone feel comfortable to perform them “good enough.” And it’s quite normal to feel overwhelmed or frustrated at the beginning (but yoga is great for mental health).
However… we’re here to help, with our easy-to-follow yoga tips. In this article, we’ll explain why yoga is so hard, and how to make yoga easier – so you can relax and feel MUCH better knowing it becomes a walk in the park.
Why is yoga so hard? Can I make it easier?
It’s perfectly normal for yoga to be a little hard at first – everything in life is hard at first! You can make it easier by improving your posture, learning a simple breathing technique, using props, and making a few easy mindset changes. Here’s how you do that.
1. Realize your mind & body isn’t “used” to yoga
Remember – anything new (and worth pursuing, especially with a desired goal) will have obstacles. This includes both mental and physical.
While yoga might seem “laid-back” to some people… there’s actually an adjustment period, where your body needs to get in rhythm. You might have some tightness and soreness. You might have some muscle stamina issues. And this can cause mental hesitations and confidence issues.
Once again, shifting expectations can help a lot here. Let’s dive into practical solutions as well:
2. Improving your posture will make it easier
While it is true that yoga doesn’t require a ton of strength… it DOES require a decent posture.
Poor posture can lead to pain and injury – both during and after yoga practice. Plus, poor posture can make it difficult to achieve the correct alignment in various yoga poses (due to a lack of strength and muscle stamina). Improve your posture and watch how much easier it gets.
There are a number of simple exercises that can help to improve your posture – and many of them can be done at home with little or no equipment. With a little time and effort, you can help ensure that yoga is more comfortable and enjoyable for you.
3. Realize anxiety and difficulties are perfectly fine
Almost EVERYONE had difficulties to start – and it’s totally okay. There are difficult poses to learn, which requires some mental and physical discipline . It’s perfectly normal to feel some anxiety and “mental friction” at the start.
Accepting these feelings (and realizing they were never a big deal) can take a HUGE burden off your shoulder.
Over time, the anxiety will lessen and the poses will become easier. You’ll feel much more comfortable in your form, routine, mistakes and “awkward” situations.
With practice, you will develop the strength, flexibility, focus & confidence needed to practice gracefully – so don’t be discouraged if you find it tough at first. Just keep working at it… and you’ll eventually get there. You’re probably closer than you think.
4. Use props
If you’re struggling with a particular pose, don’t be afraid to use yoga blocks, props and accessories. These types of yoga equipment can help you achieve the correct alignment and make the routine easier.
For example – if you have trouble reaching a certain pose (due to lack of strength, balance or flexibility), a yoga block will help support you going 70-95% of the way. That means you do NOT have to fully extend and complete the pose – you only need to go a portion of the way.
5. Try “Diaphragmatic Breathing”
The best breathing technique for yoga is diaphragmatic breathing. It’s a deep-breathing technique that engages the diaphragm, a muscle located at the base of the lungs.
This type of breathing helps to fill the lungs with air and oxygenate the blood. It also has a calming effect on the nervous system, making it ideal for use in yoga and meditation.
To practice diaphragmatic breathing…
- Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Place one hand on your belly and inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your stomach to expand.
- As you exhale, slowly contract your stomach muscles and imagine drawing the breath up from your belly to your chest.
- Repeat this process several times, focusing on the sensation of the breath moving through your body. With regular practice, you will be able to achieve a deeper level of relaxation and focus in your yoga practice.
6. Don’t hold your breath
Another common mistake people make when practicing yoga is holding their breath. This can happen when you’re trying to hold a difficult pose or when you’re feeling anxious. Holding your breath will only make you feel more stressed and will make it harder to focus on your practice. Instead, take deep, even breaths throughout your practice.
7. If yoga is hard, don’t push yourself too much
It’s important to challenge yourself when practicing yoga, but you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. If you’re constantly pushing yourself to your limits, you’re more likely to get injured or just become frustrated. Instead, listen to your body and only do what feels comfortable.
8. Warming up before practice will make it easier
Warming up before yoga might do the trick for you. That’s because warming up gets you in the flow – before the routine even starts.
This can have a large impact on your mood and confidence level. A simple warm-up routine with basic stretches can help loosen up your muscles, prepare them for the practice ahead, and even prevent injuries. Many yogis buy yoga gear and equipment to help as well.
9. Relax your “comparison” thoughts
One of the biggest reasons why yoga is so hard is because people tend to compare themselves to others. When you’re in a yoga class, it’s easy to look around and see how everyone else is doing and feel like you’re not good enough. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your own practice and progress.
And if you haven’t “dove deep” into meditation yet… start by seeing if you prefer meditation or yoga.
10. Modify poses to make yoga easier
If a particular pose is too difficult or uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to modify it until it feels better for you. There’s no shame in modifying a pose; in fact, many experienced yogis still do it from time to time.
11. Relax your jaw and face muscles
Tensing up your jaw and face muscles can actually make it harder to focus on your breath & relax during yoga practice. So if you find yourself getting tense… see if there’s a “mindset shift” you can make, in order to help relax your face and jaw.
12. Don’t take it too seriously
Yoga is supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, – there’s no need to take it too seriously. If you’re constantly worrying about whether you’re doing the poses correctly or not, you’re not going to enjoy your practice.
Instead, try to relax and have fun with it – along with checking out these beginner yoga essentials to help guide your practice.