For some of us learning advanced or challenging yoga poses can be a freeing, fun and liberating experience from the get go, but for many of us, they can bring up fear, doubt, and even self defeating thoughts and emotions. Most of us know the feeling of exploring say, handstand -- getting up, almost balancing, then before you know it, you fall, and you feel embarrassed, ashamed and like never trying it ever again. You wonder why you would even try something so out of your reach. This brings us to why we do yoga. We come to our practice for many reasons of course, but ultimately, we are trying to create union with the divine being within, complete acceptance of who we are, and yoking of mind, body, spirit.
If you are on a path of exploring more advanced yoga asanas, the practice of self-acceptance and self nurturing is vital for going deeper into the practice and actually attaining the poses you desire. It is a wonderful way to put Ahimsa (non-violence) to great work. When we choose to go deeper into our physical practice, we can either use it as an opportunity to cultivate more love in our hearts, and more compassion for the self. Or we can use it as a way to feel defeated, overwhelmed and even inadequate. So when you are learning a pose, and you fall out of it, or just barely get it or not at all, it is important to always be grateful, accepting and joyful about what your body is capable of and what it is not.
For me personally, my body was somewhat naturally flexible when I started the practice, but I had no strength. Learning more advanced postures brought up so many emotions; a necessary process, so that I could move past anything that was blocking me or keeping me from feeling a complete connection to myself. For me, even just finding out how to move and work with my body was challenging because I never really had any interest in physical activities until I found yoga. It took many hours of practice, patience and surrender to learn more challenging postures, and the journey will always continue. Yoga is infinite in that way. Building the strength to do poses like inversions, arm balances, and even challenging transitions was humbling to say the least, but on many levels it was vastly empowering.