Do you have a yoga goal? Want to get into a scorpion, handstand or the splits? Want a beautiful backbend, to start meditation, or do more pranayama? There are something that tend to divide people as to whether they are a positive or a negative. Personally, I think that having a specific goal in mind is a massive positive and can transform your practise. Having a yoga goal helped me to work hard, be consistent and stick with my practise.
Having a goals helped me finally managed to establish a solid daily practise, as it was something to motivate me to get on the mat when I didn’t really feel like it and gave me somewhat of a clear path forwards. I came to yoga through injury, having quite a complicated and painful shoulder problem. The muscles round my right shoulder were incredibly tight, but also very weak, the joint was massively unstable, leading to dislocation and an enormous amount of mental and physical discomfort. I got the idea in my head that I was going to be able to do Scorpion, or Vrschikasana. Now this might seem like a crazy idea, as I was so far from that point (I couldn’t even hold my arm out straight), the pose really stuck in my head as an embodiment of sthira/sukha, strength without rigidity, flexibility without instability. I though that maybe, just maybe if I got there, I could be strong and pain free.
And so I worked and worked and worked. It took me a very long time to be able to get into a forearm stand, and its only over the last few months that I have been able to hold it with control, but its really given me such a sense of achievement.
Setting a goal can also be a positive as it gives you something to track, measurable progress. Take some pictures along the way, sometimes you feel like you have got nowhere but have come so far! Thats actually why I started my Instagram in the first place and its great to be able to look back on old pics.
Of course, your goal doesn’t have to be physical, it could be to establish a self practise, to take 10 minutes a day to meditate, to be more mindful or to do more pranayama.
The precautions I would advise would be:
1)Be kind to yourself. If you don’t get there as fast as you would like, I know its hard but don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t quit, keep working and it will feel even better when you get there. Because trust me, you will get there.
2) If your goal is asana focused, make sure you still remember to balance it out, to counterpose.
3) Listen to your body. Always. Don’t overwork and hurt yourself. You will only feel stupid when you do. Trust me, been there and done that and I’m still paying for it slightly.
One of the things I love most about yoga is that you are never done. So yes, I did what I set out to do, but actually discovered so much more. I learned so much about my body and myself, and also set out to become a teacher. These days I’m working on pressing to forarm stand (probably why my abs and obliques are so sore today!) and my lower body flexibility, which is seriously lacking (splits I’m coming for you).
So, how do you feel about yoga goals? Do you have one? If so, let me know what is it and how you get on! Also, if you live in the Aberdeen area and have something in mind that you would like to work on, feel free to get in touch to arrange one to one classes.