Choosing the right type of yoga is always important, but no matter what you choose, there’s always the risk that you could be making some big mistakes. Find out which common mistakes make yoga less effective, particularly if you’re a beginner.
Avoid the worst yoga mistakes in order to get the most out of it, whether you’re looking for the physical benefits or for reducing stress and getting in touch with your body.
1. Pushing Too Hard
Listening to your body is one of the most important yoga teachings, so don’t force yourself when you’re not getting the results you want. Pushing yourself too hard will lead to injury, and that usually happens to yoga practitioners who are ignoring their limitations. Not everybody is limb enough to reach the more difficult positions and you pushing yourself too far is a mistake.
2. Skipping the Warm Up and Cool Down
One of the worst yoga mistakes is jumping into it and finishing up without the proper cool down. Even if yoga is much more than just a workout, your body needs to be eased into it and allowed to properly recuperate afterwards. Doing difficult positions without a warm up increases the risk of injury, while the cool down allows you to return to your regular breathing patterns.
3. Eating Before Doing Yoga
A full stomach is never recommended before yoga, whether you’re practicing it at home or in a class. You can have a small snack if you’re really hungry, but remember that blood flow that your muscles need during yoga will be redirected to your stomach for digestion. Try to eat an hour before doing yoga and keep the portion small.
4. Holding Your Breath
Even though your natural instinct is too hold your breath when you’re attempting to do a challenging pose, this is also one of the worst yoga mistakes. The reason to keep breathing is the fact that your muscles need oxygen and depriving them of that makes it harder. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
See also: What Is Aerial Yoga
5. Trying Advanced Poses Too Soon
If you want to show off how great you are at yoga, you’re missing the point of this physical and mental practice. Forget about rushing flashy poses. You need to take it slowly and really master the foundational poses in order to have the strength and the balance to practice the more advances ones with a lower risk of injury.
6. You Get Distracted
Making sure that your mind and body are in sync is very important in yoga. Going through the moves on autopilot while your mind is wandering is counterproductive and one of the worst yoga mistakes. Focus on the present in order to get in touch with how your body feels. When you get distracted, poses will become harder to achieve and you won’t get the same benefits from it.
7. Avoiding Discomfort
Pain is definitely a red flag when you’re practicing yoga, but mistaking discomfort for actual pain and avoiding won’t get you very far. Discomfort is only temporary and it’s a necessary step when you’re pushing your muscles in new positions. You can minimize it by taking it slowly, but you can’t get rid of it altogether unless you stick to just a few basic poses.
8. Ignoring Medical Conditions and Symptoms
Some advanced position can be truly harmful if you’re ignoring their potential for injury combined with a medical condition. One of the worst yoga mistakes is to try poses that could be detrimental to your health. The head-stand is one one of the most obvious examples, and it’s not recommended for anyone who suffers from migraines, high blood pressure or illnesses that affect the spine, like spondylosis.
9. Paying Attention to Others
When you’re in a yoga class, focus on yourself and the instructor and forget about anyone else. Comparing your progress to others is a really bad idea and it can lead to frustration if you feel like others are doing much better than you.
10. Placing Your Mat at the Front of the Class
One of the worst yoga mistakes you can make when you’re taking a class is trying to place your mat in the front section. Being in the back means that you’ll always see the instructor. If you get upfront, you’ll have trouble when your instructor starts moving around.