We have a recommendation for one way to catapult your practice forward. Work on a power pose after class is over. By a power pose, we mean a difficult asana that you would like to master, like an inversion. Actually it doesn’t matter which asana it is or how objectively difficult it is, what matters is that you are interested in it and that it sits a little bit outside of your current skill level.
After class is the best possible time to work on a challenging pose because your body is all warmed up and you’re as flexible as you’re going to be that day. You’ll bring the risk of injuring yourself way down and you’ll have that extra flexibility to make the pose doable. Obviously it’s tough to summon up energy for more yoga after lying on your back in dead man’s pose, but if you change your expectation going into the session, consciously planning on including power pose time as an integral part of your practice that day, you’ll reserve some of your psychic energy for the endeavor and it won’t seem as bad.
Once you start down the path of mastery on the pose you are working on, you’ll be pumped when its name is called during a session and you’ll feel really good about being able to go deeply into a pose that was impossible for you before. Another consequence might be that you start to notice a gap between your power pose and the rest of your practice, which could compel you to systematically improve other poses too.
From a mindfulness perspective we usually think of comparison in a negative light since it’s a form of judgment. But what really matters is the attitude you cultivate behind your comparison. If you feel inspired, excited to keep reaching beyond yourself to improve your practice because you saw you could do it with the pose you worked on, then this is using a higher mental capacity in a healthy, joyful, self-actualizing way. When you take on this sort of attitude, where you’re pulled forward by what you love rather than driven by what you fear, you can treat your ability to compare and contrast as just another tool in your tool belt to help you reach Self.