How to Get Past Plateaus: Part 3 of Overcoming Yoga Roadblocks

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | February 27th, 2009 | 2 Comments
topic: Fitness, Personal Growth, Yoga

12_2Can’t seem to progress in your yoga practice? … Doing the same poses day in and day out without any tangible “movement”? It’s the dreaded plateau — “a phase in mental or physical development during which little headway is made.” But don’t fall into the trap that you are stuck and going nowhere!

In this part 3 in my Overcoming Yoga Roadblocks series, I want to give you some insight to help you if you’ve hit a yoga plateau.

Mentally, a plateau can stagnate your drive to continue your practice — as it is seemingly filled with inertia and brings along with it a plodding boredom. Many students will jump ship, fearful that the seemingly slow progress they are making in their poses means they are “failing yoga.” Far from it!

A glacier moves too slowly for the eye to detect — but the force of the ice carves the earth as an unmatched spectacle of art. Look at this as a time of stability and a necessary phase of growth. Here’s another analogy: In nature, plateaus end as they transition into steep faces of mountains. In yoga, choose to think of your plateau as a preparation of your mind and body for your next ascent!

Here’s a reality check … I practiced handstands for 10 years, kicking up against the wall and bouncing off, or having a friend or teacher hold me. Then suddenly on the 10th year + 1 day, my determination paid off; I finally “stuck it,” no wall, no helper, just me and my very own center of gravity turned upside-down at last!


Use this time to appreciate steadiness and sure-footedness; before you know it, life may throw you a curve ball, or a cliff! Life is full of change — but if we were always in a whirlpool of exploding expansion, we’d have no way of taking inventory and gaining perspective on where we’ve been or where life is heading. Plateaus allow us to adjust to the new altitude, while strengthening and readying ourselves for any oncoming obstacles.

Survey yourself. What are the chief complaints you have about your practice? Is there a way to use the negatives to see a bigger picture for growth? From that new view, you will overcome the huge hurdle of feeling that your practice is weighing you down as opposed to buoying you up.

I wish you all the best and I welcome your personal stories and comments.



  1. What a great post! I think right now when winter’s crawling to an end yet spring still seems so far away, people can become even more discontent, or discouraged. Thanks for this advice to stop and look at the bigger picture while it is available to us.

    Courtney | February 27th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. [...] Bodies do not always communicate in simple language terms. Sometimes our bodies conjure concrete images. At other times, ghost-like apparitions pass in and out of our conscious mind. And still others are strong words that nearly punch you in the face (see an interesting message I had in Overcoming Yoga Roadblocks). [...]

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