Yoga mistakes are actually more common than most people care to admit. In fact, some people make many of these mistakes unknowingly. But that’s okay. We’ve all made a few errors in our learning process. The most important thing is making sure they don’t become a habit. And that’s why we have prepared this brief guide on some of the most common yoga mistakes people make and how you can easily avoid them.
1. Holding Your Breathe
Yoga poses and transitions are usually accompanied by certain breathing techniques. You will notice your teacher blending all the transitions and breathing techniques effortlessly, but it is not always easy. It can take months or years to master. Many beginners make the mistake of holding their breath entirely. This affects your experience and can be dangerous, especially if you have other medical conditions like heart diseases.
Monitor your breathing closely, and don’t stop yourself from breathing when your body demands it.
2. Pushing Your Body Beyond its Capacity
Chances are you will find yourself in a class of people with different fitness levels. Yoga teachers may also make certain poses look easier than they are. It’s upon you to listen to your body and decide whether it can handle certain poses and intensity. Don’t be embarrassed to accept that you cannot hold a certain pose just yet.
3. Comparing Yourself To your Neighbors
Comparison is the thief of joy, and it can also be harmful in yoga classes. The pressure to appear as fit as others is very common in yoga classes. The desire to impress your teachers and colleagues can also push you into doing what your body is not yet ready for. This can result in injuries. Comparing yourself to others also hurts your self-esteem.
Always practice yoga at your own pace without worrying too much about what the next person is doing or thinking. You are free to challenge yourself to do better but don’t overdo it.
4. Accommodating Interruptions
Be intentional about your desire to do yoga by preparing for your yoga sessions and making sure nothing comes between you and your practice.
One of the most notorious distractions you need to avoid is technology. This is particularly a problem if you are doing yoga at home where your TV, iPad, and smartphone are within arm’s reach. Remove these interruptions from your yoga training space.
Kids can also be a distraction. To stop them from interfering with your classes, plan ahead and make sure they are occupied with something or someone else as you enjoy your sessions. You could also schedule your yoga sessions for when your kids are at school or asleep.
You can enhance your experience with different approaches. One great way of stepping up your yoga game is by creating a dedicated yoga space. If you have enough room or budget, create a place with nothing but your yoga clothes, yoga mat, and maybe a sound system.
5. Entertaining Inconsistency
Consistency is something every yoga student has struggled with at some point. It is understandable to miss a class at times, but it should never become a habit. So, how can you deal with inconsistency? Well, you may want to join an active class that meets regularly. This can be a challenge, though, due to covid-19 restrictions in some countries. In such cases, you can avoid large groups and just meet up with a friend or two. You can also recruit your spouse or partner.
If none of that is possible, consider signing up for online classes or yoga groups where students connect virtually and practice together.
Having that extra person helps create some accountability which will limit your inconsistency. It will also make the sessions more engaging.
6. Looking Up During Yoga Poses
Another very common mistake among beginners and intermediates. While keeping up with your teacher is important, make sure you don’t spend too much time moving your head up and down. Also, watch how you lift your head when you’re trying to look at the teacher to avoid straining your neck.
You can limit these movements by paying extra attention to the instructions given by the moderator. Let your ears do the work and focus on alignment and transitions. If you’ve been practicing yoga for some time, trust your experience and let it guide you.
7. Obsessing Over Perfection
Yoga should sway you from perfectionism to acceptance. Don’t beat yourself up for not replicating every movement and position your teacher or friend does. This only serves to hurt your esteem and confidence. Again, practice yoga at your own pace and give yourself time to grow.
8. Wearing Inappropriate Clothing
Do I need to wear yoga clothes when I’m practicing at home? Yes, you do! One, it brings the mood and helps you maintain your focus. Second, yoga clothes facilitate seamless movement, something your pajamas can’t do.
Hopefully, the above list will help you eliminate common errors and improve your overall yoga experience and results. And never hesitate to consult your teacher when you are struggling. Don’t suffer in silence.