If you’re like most people, you want to see progress with your yoga. Over time, you want your muscles to be stronger, fitter, and capable of doing more.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. You hit what people in the industry call “a plateau” and it can be hard to break through it.
Usually, lack of progress isn’t your body’s fault. Often, it has to do with training errors and mistakes. Let’s dive right in.
1) You’re Burning Out
The endurance to see yourself through yoga sessions doesn’t occur when you are training. Instead, it’s something that happens afterward when your body is at rest.
Unfortunately, a lot of people who do yoga often get burned out. They exceed their body’s capacity to repair. And they wind up stalling in their progress. The trick here is to listen to your body and obey it when it says that you need a day off. You’re not being lazy. Instead, you’re engaging in deliberate rest to accelerate your recovery so that you can get back on your mat faster.
2) You Gave Up Too Quickly
Don’t expect yoga improvements to come immediately. It actually takes the body a surprisingly long period of time to adapt to the stress of exercise. For instance, it takes around six weeks before muscles will even begin to consider growing in size. And it may take up to six months to improve baseline fitness to a higher level.
That’s because the process of gaining fitness is complex and involves restructuring major tissues in the body. Some people adapt quickly. But, for the vast majority, adaptation only comes slowly and progress is painful. That, however, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. If practicing yoga for 18 months makes no difference, then, and only then, should you legitimately hang up the towel.
3) You’re Using Body Weight All the Time
There’s nothing wrong with using bodyweight. It forms an important part of your yoga routine. However, you should ideally be using free weight equipment as a supplement in the gym to build your strength. That’s because free weights ask your body to engage more muscles. It’s a more holistic form of exercise than using a guided machine where the resistance only comes from one direction.
4) You’re Restricting Calories
Yoga requires a surprisingly high amount of calories. People imagine that it is a gentle form of exercise, but anyone who has done a power sequence will tell you that it’s much more intense than that. You often windup sweating. Thus, restricting calories is usually a bad idea. The trick here is to come up with a plan. You want enough calories to get through your yoga session, but not too many so that you feel bloated all the time.
5) Your Diet Sucks
Whenever you do yoga, you need to ensure that you have your diet dialed in. Eating junk food and expecting that to translate into the physique of your dreams is unrealistic.
Where possible, follow these rules:
- Eat sources of lean protein – beans are a great option.
- Make your meals more appealing – don’t just eat chicken, rice and broccoli for every meal.
- Eat a wide variety of foods so that you keep things interesting and give your body all the things that it needs to recover rapidly so you can quickly get back on your mat.
6) You’re Not Committing to Your Practice
Pushing through plateaus requires giving your yoga sessions everything you’ve got. That way, you can send signals to muscles telling them that they need to grow fast to keep up with the demands that you are placing on them.
If you’re taking breaks to chat to people on the phone, then your progress will slow. Try to make your sessions a moving meditation. Avoid distractions and just be at one with the flow.
7) You’re Not Breathing Right
So long as you’re breathing in and out correctly, you’re doing yoga – or at least, that’s what instructors like to say. But so many of us forget to breathe and smile while we’re in challenging positions. And that’s why progress can come to a halt.
When doing yoga, concentrate less on the movements themselves and more on your breath. In yoga, the aim is to create a moving meditation that makes you feel powerful. So, the more you can tap into that state of mind, the better. Keep track of your breathing and never let it go.
So, there you have it: some of the reasons why you might not be seeing progress in your yoga practice. The trick with yoga is to stick with it and turn it into a moving meditation. And most importantly, enjoy it! Your body is working hard for you!