Ashtanga Quotes,  Teaching Ashtanga,  Yoga Philosophy

Phases of a Yoga Practice: Don’t Get Stuck in The Struggle Phase

Krishnamacharya described yoga as the process by which the impossible becomes possible and the possible over a long period of time becomes easy. The place where many practitioners fall off the path is when they try to go straight from impossible to easy-Kino Macgregor


Phases of a Yoga Practice 



Break Through


Then it repeats


Characteristics of the Struggle Phrase

Seemingly no progress

Stuck on a hard pose

Lost excitement or enthusiasm for practice

Feelings of anger and frustration

Diminishing returns from the practice



Phrases Often Heard In the Struggle Phase

“This yoga is not for me”

“This pose is not for me”

“My body is not made for this pose”

” I just can’t seem to get on my mat these days”

” I am thinking of quitting yoga”

“I will never be able to do this”

“What is wrong with me?”

“Why is this taking so long?”

“I am switching styles of yoga”


“If your going through hell, keep going”-Winston Churchill


The only way out of the struggle phase and into pose mastery is through practice. When many people enter the struggle phrase, they do the exact opposite. They practice less or stop all together. This only gets you stuck in the struggle phrase.  Dig down and keep going. The breakthrough is coming.

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail


  • Arie Broek

    So true… doing mysore practise now for a year and ” stuck” in marichi’s… that’s when the yoga begins!! There is so much to focus on in the previous asanas.
    Strive fir perfection in every moment, that is, give it all attention and effort that you can give it. The breakthrough Will come. On and off the mat. You can’t pollish without friction, no self inquiry when all is going smooth. When I take a step back so much has changed the last year. Fysically, mentaly.. spiritualy.. look at the benefits and not the asana you are stuck in. Just show up and oractise. All will come in time. Maybe not the next asana, but the benefit of you effort is much more than the next asana. There is always a next asana … more asanas then one can ever master. Focus on the benefit and let that be your driver. Then you Will see that getting stuck isn’t possible

  • Arun Srinivasan

    Exactly what I needed today. Being obese and wanting to be a good yoga practitioner aint easy…Hope the impossible will not stay impossible.

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