13 Yoga Obstacles: How To Overcome Them

Written by:

Joanne Highland

Published date:

Estimated reading time:

Ever found yourself on a yogic journey, in a yoga pose, struggling to maintain balance on this yogic path, and wondering why meditation is so hard for your mind? You’re not alone

We all face obstacles in our yoga practice. 

These obstacles, as outlined in the Yoga Sutra, can make the yogic journey challenging, making it difficult to stay focused and present on the yogic path. Despite this, meditation can help overcome these hurdles on the mat, and in your life.

But here’s the thing: understanding these obstacles in your mind is crucial, especially when something stands in your way. We have reviewed the 13 yoga obstacles below so you can learn more about them and how to overcome them.

Why? Once you grasp the obstacle impeding your yogic journey, you can start working towards overcoming it with understanding and knowledge.  So let’s dive into this together, as a practitioner – exploring these obstacles and their impact on our understanding of the mind and path in our practice.

The 13 Yoga Obstacles

  1. Health issues; This includes mental illnesses that can hinder the practice of yoga.
  1. Apathy; Feeling lacking motivation to fulfill one’s duties and responsibilities in yoga.
  2. Self doubt; Questioning one’s capabilities or having uncertainties about the outcomes of practicing yoga.
  3. Carelessness; Being heedless or lacking persistence in maintaining a yoga practice.
  4. Laziness; Experiencing inertia of mind or body due to the dominance of laziness and lethargy.
  5. Overindulgence; Developing attachments and excessive indulgence in things which can distract from the essence of yoga.
  6. Illusionary perceptions; Having visions or premature certainty about progress in yoga leading to expectations.
  7. Failure to progress; Not achieving the stage or accomplishment in one’s yogic journey despite efforts.
  8. Instability; Facing challenges related to maintaining stability and permanence in yogic accomplishments and stages.
  9. Sorrow; Dealing with emotional pain during the practice of yoga.
  10. Depression; Experiencing sadness due to desires that may affect one’s focus on yoga.
  11. Body tremors; shivering sensations in parts of the body during certain yogic practices.
  12. Irregular breathing patterns; Disturbances in breath retention (kumbhaka) causing breathing due to agitation.

Identifying Physical and Mental Hurdles

Common Physical Barriers

Yoga obstacles ain’t just about the mind. Your mind and body can throw an obstacle in your concentration, hindering your ability to hit that perfect pose. Some common physical barriers include:

  • Lack of flexibility
  • Limited strength
  • Past injuries

Don’t let these stop you! Yoga is all about working with what you have.

Mental Blocks

Now, let’s talk about mental health. Ever felt like your own worst enemy? That’s because our minds, as practitioners on this path, can create some severe yoga obstacles too, regardless of the state a person is in. Here are some examples:

  • Fear of failure
  • Self-doubt
  • Lack of focus

Sounds familiar? You’re not alone, buddy!

Body-Mind Connection

Here’s the kicker: a person’s physical and mental hurdles are intertwined on the path of life – like spaghetti and meatballs! 

They shape the mind and state of being, and the body. Struggling to nail a pose? It could be because of a mind block limiting the potential state of a person’s path. Feeling anxious? It might affect your sense of balance during practice.

Remember, overcoming yoga obstacles and fear is more than just stretching it out on the mat – it’s also about stretching your mind to embrace its full potential as a person, and in your body. This state of mind is crucial for success in our lives.

Role of Pramada and Samshaya in Yoga

Pramada (Indolence): A Slippery Slope

Ever tried holding a yoga pose but gave up halfway through? That’s indolence (also known as Pramada). It’s the lazy bug that bites a person’s mind when you’re just not feeling it. But here’s the deal:

  • Indolence can slow down progress.
  • It makes mastering poses harder.
  • It breaks the focus and increases the fear of failure.

So, how do we beat Pramada?

  • Set small, achievable goals.
  • Keep a regular schedule.
  • Mix things up to keep it interesting.

Samshaya: The Silent Killer

Samshaya (or Doubt) is another sneaky obstacle in your yoga journey. Ever thought “I can’t do this pose” or “I’m just not a ‘yoga’ person”? That’s doubt talking.

It might not seem like much, but doubt can:

  • Lower confidence.
  • Hinder learning new poses.
  • Lead to quitting prematurely.

But don’t sweat it! Here are some strategies to kick doubt out:

  • Focus on the journey, not just the goal.
  • Celebrate small victories.
  • Seek support from fellow yogis.

In short, don’t let indolence and doubt turn your yoga mat into a battlefield!

Overcoming Egoism: Another Common Problem

To overcome this obstacle, it is important to understand Egoism. The Ego is a construct of our individual intellect and not our true essence. By recognizing that the power of consciousness does not belong solely to ourselves, we can begin to dissolve this limiting sense of “I”. 

Here are some practical tips that may help you overcome egoism:

  • Cultivate self-awareness: Observe your thoughts, emotions, and actions during practice without judgment or attachment. This will help you not to identify with them.
  • Practice humility: Recognize that each person has his or her own path and avoid comparing yourself and your life to others. Accept where you are in your practice without seeking validation or approval.
  • Let go of expectations: Let go of any preconceived ideas about what your yoga practice should look like or what progress you should be making. Focus on being present in each moment rather than striving for external achievements.
  • Connect to something greater: Tap into a higher purpose beyond personal benefit by dedicating your practice to something greater than yourself, whether it is gratitude, compassion for others, or connection to divine energy.

By adopting these practices consistently over time, you will gradually transcend selfishness and experience deeper states of connection with yourself and others on the yogic path!

Overcoming Distractions and Carelessness

Spotting Distractions

Yoga obstacles like distractions or bad thoughts pop up uninvited. You’re in your zen zone, then boom! Your mind wanders off to the grocery list or work deadlines. Identifying these potential distractions is key. They could be:

  • External: Noise, uncomfortable room temperature, or an itchy yoga mat.
  • Internal: Hunger, discomfort, bad thoughts, or mental laziness.

The Cost of Carelessness

Carelessness during yoga is a recipe for disaster. It’s not just about losing focus but also risking injuries. A careless stretch here, a lazy pose there – hello sprained muscle! Understanding the risk of carelessness helps you take yoga seriously.

Staying Focused and Careful

Here are some techniques to maintain focus and avoid carelessness:

  • Mindfulness: Stay present and keep the bad thoughts away during your yoga session.
  • Preparation: Clear your practice area from distractions before starting.
  • Pacing: Don’t rush through poses. Take time to execute each pose with care and consciousness.
  • Patience: Yoga is a journey, not a race.

Remember that overcoming these yoga obstacles is not about perfection, it’s about progress. So the next time you roll out your mat, leave distraction and carelessness behind and embrace ease and enthusiasm instead!

Navigating Misplaced Priorities in Practice

Misplaced priorities can throw a wrench in your yoga sessions. They might make you focus more on the physical aspects, forgetting that yoga is also about philosophy and inner peace in our lives. This false knowledge can lead to an ineffective practice.

  • The practitioner’s attention is diverted away from important elements.
  • Less time is spent on meditation and breathing exercises.
  • The process of reaching each stage becomes harder.

Balancing life responsibilities with consistent practice is another challenge. It’s easy to let work or family take over your schedule, leaving little room for yoga.

  • Set specific times for practice and stick to them.
  • Make yoga part of your daily routine , like brushing your teeth.
  • Remember that even a short practice session is better than none at all.

Setting proper priorities related to yoga practice can help you overcome these obstacles:

  • Understand the true philosophy of yoga: it’s not just about flexibility or strength, but also mental clarity and self-awareness.
  • Keep track of your progress: This will motivate you to continue practicing regularly.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself: remember that every practitioner goes through this process at their own pace.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to navigate misplaced priorities in your practice effectively.

Addressing Physical Illness and Cravings

P8JNfVwCh0IaVglnuVD78Bi9BS9nH4w4yZQXSzFJSqi YvrUro qsWmyVb0AszMQ0SYs jqLFBeBipgb5846oLXCdnM462lYQRSKiyJB76dYJ1JvOhGoNP5Ey4gxp7cQhNOIXq5R0zgPh ZPRQ82WAY

Navigating a physical illness might mess with your yoga routine. But you don’t have to let it!

Dealing with Illness

Physical health is crucial for yoga. A disease or condition can be a real bummer, causing pain that makes even the simplest poses feel like climbing Mount Everest. But don’t throw in your yoga mat just yet!

  • Try gentle stretches instead of complex poses
  • Listen to your body; if it hurts, stop!
  • Seek professional advice if needed

Remember, yoga is not about enduring pain. It’s about balance and feeling good. So, try to embrace the ease!

Managing Cravings

Cravings can also be an obstacle in maintaining a healthy lifestyle supporting yoga practice. You know what I’m talking about – those midnight ice cream raids or uncontrollable chocolate cravings!

Here are a few tips:

  • Drink water before reaching for snacks.
  • Opt for healthier alternatives like fruits or nuts.
  • Practice mindful eating.

Adapting Your Routine

Health challenges and cravings got you down? No sweat! Adapting your routine is key.

  • If you’re feeling under the weather, take it easy.
  • Got a sweet tooth? Schedule a treat day.

Remember, everyone has off days. The trick is not letting them derail your journey towards better health and well-being!

Utilizing Inspiration for Obstacle Management

Harnessing External Motivation

Yoga obstacles? No sweat. Look around. There’s inspiration everywhere, a source of motivation to overcome challenges. A picturesque sunset, an uplifting song, or stories of people conquering their fears. 

These can all fuel your determination to navigate through yoga difficulties.

Positive Reinforcement and Yoga

Don’t underestimate the power of positive reinforcement in your yogic journey. Reward yourself after each successful practice session. It could be as simple as a pat on the back or a favorite treat.

This creates an association of positivity with overcoming yoga obstacles.

Personal Goals as Inspirational Tools

Do you have personal goals? Use them! They’re not just targets but also inspirational tools for managing yoga obstacles in our lives:

  • Set clear and achievable goals.
  • Keep them visible during practice.
  • Remind yourself how each pose brings you closer to these goals.

Remember, every difficulty is just a stepping stone towards your goal.

So there you have it! Inspiration isn’t hard to find if you know where to look. Whether it’s from external sources, positive reinforcements, or personal goals, use it all to conquer those pesky yoga obstacles!

Wrapping Up: A Conclusion on Yoga Obstacles

t3X21bPWyqf1eZEYgL0YM1V5Egc8azP4AwrWleADrXgmB2e69M8kbs8fOqgov1SgNFphiWrENHwDk3X lTOXnkmv0znznZ0usbM5SNrMMmVuSM3k05LtuoRZzAlpzgze u7s2Ipe0QoGvAHNZU5o q8

Alright, we’ve journeyed through the various obstacles that can throw a wrench in your yoga practice. From physical hurdles to mental mind games and even those pesky cravings for a midnight snack – we’ve covered it all! The key takeaway?

Embrace these challenges as opportunities for growth. Remember, yoga is not just about nailing that headstand; it’s about selfdiscovery and personal development.

So what’s next? Keep on keeping on! Don’t let these hurdles knock you off your mat. Instead, use them as stepping stones towards becoming a stronger, more balanced yogi. Now go ahead and roll out that mat! 

And remember – when doubt creeps in, kick it out with a warrior pose!


What if I’m not flexible enough for yoga?

Don’t sweat it! Yoga is not about being super bendy. It’s about connecting with yourself and finding balance. With regular practice, flexibility will come naturally.

Can I do yoga if I have an injury?

Absolutely! Just make sure to consult with your doctor or physiotherapist before starting any new exercise regimen.

How often should I practice yoga?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. Some people thrive on daily sessions while others find three times a week works best for them.

Is there any special equipment needed for yoga?

All you need is a good-quality yoga mat. Props like blocks or straps can be helpful but they’re optional.

I’m feeling frustrated because I’m not progressing as fast as I want to in my poses, what should I do?

Remember, yoga isn’t a race – it’s a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Try focusing less on achieving perfect poses and more on how you feel during your practice.

What comes along with these yoga obstacles?

Yoga obstacles often lead to feelings of frustration and physical challenges, but overcoming them results in personal growth and improved practice.

Persistence, patience, and consistent practice are key to overcoming these challenges and enhancing flexibility, strength, and mental clarity.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
About Joanne Highland

Joanne Highland is a 500-hour certified yoga and barre fitness teacher. Originally from the central coast of California, she attended the University of Southern California, graduating in 2007 with a degree in music and a minor in health promotion. Follow me: Instagram | LinkedIn | Personal Website

Leave a Comment