difficult yoga pose

The Poses You Hate the Most, You Need the Most

Published on October 11, 2018

“If we do chair pose one more time I’m going to scream!” Have you ever had thoughts like these during your yoga practice? If so, you’re not alone. I have too, and so has every teacher I know and every student I’ve taught. It seems we all have at least one yoga pose we simply can’t stand. But in my experience, it’s how we deal with those difficult yoga poses that sets us apart from one another.

There are several ways to cope when facing tough yoga poses: We can avoid them entirely, resist against them, or relax into them. When you avoid poses that challenge you, you’re not allowing yourself to grow in your practice. And when you hold onto anger and frustration as you practice tough poses, that tension will prevent you from being fully present with your breath and movements, and you might even injure yourself.

The best way to deal with difficult asanas is to let go of your resistance to them. Through my many years teaching and practicing yoga I’ve found four practical and effective ways to work through difficult yoga poses.

1. Breathe Through It

There is a certain confidence and sense of achievement that comes with staring down the poses you hate and staying with them anyway. If you can make it through a few breaths in a difficult pose, you can make it through anything. In stressful and challenging situations, it’s common to hold our breath or to take quick, shallow breaths. Instead, when you’re in a hard pose, tune into your breath, slow it down, and stay connected.

2. Try, Try Again

We tend to hate the poses we find hard or uncomfortable. The best way to become stronger or more open in any pose is to practice it often. Make a commitment to practice your most hated poses regularly and to be guided by your breath when you do.

3. Build Up to Tough Poses

Sometimes our anatomy is what limits us in certain poses. We might feel tension, stretching in our soft tissues, or compression—the sensation of being stuck or jammed. While compression isn’t necessarily bad, it serves as a good signal to let go of the ‘perfect’ expression of the pose.

In the face of physical discomfort, back off a little. Introduce modifications or yoga props, try some preparatory or strengthening poses until you’re ready for the full expression of the pose, or just focus on the energetic aspects of the pose rather than the physical ones.

4. Learn From Your Resistance

Have you ever taken a yoga class and experienced an emotional release that caused you to cry or become upset? Our bodies store unexpressed emotions and trauma that we’ve been suppressing, and yoga tends to open us up and shine a spotlight on what we’ve hidden inside.

Uncovering these hidden emotions and triggers can be intense and uncomfortable, but can also set us on the path toward healing. When a difficult asana shines a light on a hidden issue, make a mental note of it, finish your practice, and you can work to address it once you step off the mat.

Remember, yoga is about getting to know yourself physically and mentally. Instead of letting resistance hold you back, use it as a tool to propel you forward. Understand your body’s limits and work backward, maybe using props and preparatory poses to find a different path. Look inside to understand whether your frustration with a certain pose is due to trauma or another hidden emotional issue. Find peace in surrender, and accept what your least favorite poses are trying to teach you.

Share with


Our Latest

Yoga Articles
  • Benefits of Chanting Om

    9 Powerful Benefits of Chanting the Om Mantra

  • gratitude breathing exercise

    Elevate Your Spirit With a Gratitude Breathwork Practice

  • Hot Yoga at Home

    Can You Practice Hot Yoga at Home?

  • Saying Thank You to a Yoga Teacher

    12 Ways to Say Thank You to a Yoga Teacher

  • Yoga for Thanksgiving

    Yoga for Thanksgiving: 10 Asanas for Gratitude

  • Siddhis

    Siddhis: Definition, Types, Tips and Dangers

  • Spiritual Health and Wellness

    12 Yogic Ways to Cultivate Spiritual Health and Wellness

  • Bhakti Yoga

    Bhakti Yoga: the Yoga of Devotion

Remove Ads with a

Premium Membership

Viewing ads supports YogaBasics, which allows us to continue bringing you quality yoga content. Sign up for a premium membership to remove all ads and enjoy uninterrupted access to the best yoga resources on the web.

Explore More

Yoga TipsAdviceArticlesPracticesBasicsTechniques

  • CBD for Yoga

    6 Ways CBD Can Improve Your Yoga Practice

  • comfortable yoga clothes

    Tips To Dress Comfortably While Practicing Yoga

  • yoga pose for balance

    The Best Yoga Poses to Build Better Balance

  • morning yoga stretches

    18 Morning Yoga Stretches and Poses to Start Your Day

  • daily yoga practice

    The Importance of a Daily Yoga Practice

  • gentle yoga class

    Gentle Yoga: Definition, Benefits and Styles

  • yoga goals

    26 Yoga Goals to Expand and Deepen Your Practice

  • Skillful Yoga Student handstand pose

    8 Qualities of a Skillful Yoga Student

  • Ways to Realign Your Chakras

    11 Ways to Realign Your Chakras

One response to “The Poses You Hate the Most, You Need the Most”

  1. Larryfal Avatar

    Yes, I agree…but it is so hard to put your advice into practice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Erin Bourne Avatar
About the author
With the soul of a yogi, the heart of a punk rocker, and the mind of a scientist, Erin is not your average yoga teacher. A lifelong learner with a background in Exercise Science and Education, Erin is obsessed with all things movement and anatomy. She has studied advanced yoga and pilates, myofascial release, and dynamic neuromuscular stabilization, all of which she brings into her teaching and writing. She is an E-RYT500 and has been a yoga teacher for 10 years and a teacher trainer for six years. Read more by Erin here at Yoga Basics or in Australian Yoga Journal.
Yoga Basics