How to overcome self-limiting beliefs in your yoga practice
Almost everyone has self-limiting beliefs or ideas of some sort. Yep, even that person who you look at as the blueprint of living the best life, the most inspirational yoga practice, the best relationship – they all experience limitations.
Oddly, the first step in overcoming limitations is accepting that you have them.
Here are a few ways to work through your limitations (whatever they may be) and discover your true potential.
Recognising the difference between Self-limiting beliefs and respecting our boundaries
A limiting belief is a negative thought pattern we tell ourselves about who and how we are consistently enough that it limits us into thinking we are incapable of moving past it to greater things.
I am not strong. I am not good at making new friends. I am not brave enough to try new things.
Respecting our boundaries is acknowledging that we have certain limitations and that pushing past them would do us more harm than good.
I have an injury that means backbends are painful. I am hyper mobile and have to be careful with arm balances. I have pins in my ankles that make lunging too deeply in warrior postures uncomfortable.
Separating Ourselves From Perfection
In class, we try and separate ourselves from what we think a posture should LOOK like and align that focus with what it FEELS like. Trust me, when I look across a room at 15 people all practising the same asana, there is not one of you that looks the same. NOT ONE! Take away the idea of what you think the perfect posture looks like, take away the goal of head to knees and hands to feet and the comparison of how the person on the mat next to you looks.
Soften your gaze, take a deep breath, bring that awareness to what you feel, and then feel your way into a space that feels great.
Your body is capable of some exceptional things. When we limit ourselves to just validating the visual of our bodies, then we miss out on some of the best bits of our practice – everything beyond the physical. In class, we describe asana as the outward expression of the internal sensation, and when we bring that focus to the internal, that is where yoga magic happens.
How do we do it?
Warning, all of these things require us to let go of that ego a little and accept our limitations in order to move past them.
You are not too inflexible to practise triangle (limiting belief), but due to the structure of your anatomy, you need a block to make it feel right in your body (respecting boundary).
You are not too weak in your arms to practise down dog comfortably (limiting belief) but due to your tight hamstrings, you need to bend your knees to allow for extra space and take excess weight out of your hands (respecting boundaries).
Make it work for you
You are not incapable of mediation because of your busy mind (limiting belief) but because you lead a busy life then perhaps guided meditations are more suitable for your mindset than silence (respecting boundaries).
Try to see your yoga practice not in the mind frame of what you can’t do. Every time you find yourself questioning your ability or judging yourself and limiting your experience with doubt, take a step back and ask, ‘how can I make this work for me?’.
Once you do, you realise you can take on anything!
Read more blogs below or check out our calendar page for info on our Yoga retreats UK or our Yoga Holidays abroad! Thanks to Amy Williams yoga teacher for this blog we hope it helps you overcome your self-limiting beliefs!