Surviving Frustration in your Yoga Practice


Usually, going to my karate class is a stress reliever. I almost always leave feeling better no matter what kind of day I have had. But once in awhile I get incredibly frustrated.

This happened on Monday with a specific technique we were learning. It just wasn’t gelling for me. I kept missing details and repeating the same mistake. I was working with someone stronger, younger and (at least in my mind) better! And the more frustrated I got, the worse I became it seemed.

Have you ever experienced anything like this in yoga class? Crow pose is one that can bring on frustration for me. “I’ve been doing yoga for years. Why can’t I get it? Why can “everyone” but me do it? Forget it. I hate this pose anyway…”

Some thoughts on dealing with frustration:

1. Notice the Experience but don’t let it swallow you up!

If you feel irritated during class, it may not be the yoga that is causing these feelings. But the practice may bring these emotions to the surface. The next time you feel yourself becoming frustrated, don’t suppress the feelings. Simply observe them. Then bring your attention to your body and your breath. Think about why you might be feeling this way. Then let the “why” go and just sit with the feeling itself. Observe without judgment (I know, easier said than done…!)

2. Remember that everyone struggles with something. There will always be someone “better.”

We all have struggles. And sometimes it seems like things come easily to others and not you. Comparing yourself to other people will only cause self-doubt and more frustration (I know!) Follow your own path. Stay connected to yourself. And you will get stronger and better. Or maybe just less concerned about whatever it is that is bugging you!

3. Laugh, it’s only yoga.

Don’t take it too seriously! Try and cultivate a bit of lightness in your practice. Smile and have fun. If you fall out of tree pose, laugh and just get back in. Act like a kid! When my boys fall trying to do something it usually ends in hysterics. When the laughter subsides they just try it again with an attitude of “Whatever…”

4. It’s not “unspiritual” or “un-yogic” to feel frustrated.

… or angry, or any other emotion. Ghandi said, “It is not that I do not get angry. I don’t give vent to my anger.” In other words it is not the anger itself that is the problem but how it is expressed. Being on a spiritual journey does not make you immune to negative emotions. But your practice does help you choose how you put these things out into the world.

Practicing yoga is a journey. It’s okay to struggle with things. It’s okay to feel so-called negative emotions like frustration and anger. Notice these things when they come up and then move on.

Check out this Yin Yoga sequence. This quieter style of yoga has really benefitted me in times of stress or frustration. It’s a great way to show yourself some love 🙂

How do you deal with frustration in your yoga practice? Just leave a comment to let me know your thoughts.

Photo courtesy of ISOtob

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