9 Yoga Mistakes That Beginners Must Avoid
Yoga takes practice — no one starts as an advanced student! Here are some tips to help you get ahead of the pack.
Holding your breath
Most beginners forget to breathe, yet it is the foundation of yoga. Focussing on breath connects the mind and the body. It allows yogis to silence the chatter in the head and focus on the present moment. But most beginners hold their breath unconsciously when trying to keep up with the teacher or when pushing themselves to do a perfect form or when lost in thoughts. When you notice the shallow, labored breath, slow down and shift your attention to your breathing. As you master the movements and get comfortable, your breath will smoothly guide you through the postures. When your breath directs you, you’ll enjoy your sessions rather than struggle through them.
Trying to do it all
Beginners are always excited to get started. Often, this excitement leads them to try all the different poses without mastering any in particular. But before you go to the advanced variations, binds, and balances, make sure you can do some of the modified poses correctly. This allows you to build your strength and proper alignment. You need to build a strong foundation before advancing. Practicing at a beginner’s level will give you the strength you need to move to the advanced poses. You should take at least eight beginner classes before group yoga workouts. Yoga is meant to be a lifelong practice that progress through the more you practice. Doing everything too soon beats the purpose of the exercise.
Going for a perfect pose instead of a perfect feeling
While it’s good to get the pose right, it’s equally important to enjoy the exercise. However, this is rarely the case for beginners. You’ll often see a beginner shaking with a tense face trying to replicate the teacher’s pose. Trying to get a pose right while feeling uncomfortable might cause more harm than good. Every yoga pose should elicit comfort and a relaxing feeling. So relax, breathe, and concentrate on the feeling. Don’t be distracted by other students around you —instead, listen to your body and allow yourself to move naturally.
Not disclosing medical conditions
Many beginners opt not to disclose their health challenges to their yoga teacher because they think it will prevent them from participating. Keeping this a secret can lead to more harm than good. If you are working with an experienced, knowledgeable teacher, telling them your condition in advance will allow them to customize safe poses for you.
Not being consistent
Yoga is a practice that needs consistency to experience its many benefits. You can’t reduce stress, boost mental clarity, get stronger, find balance, and increase flexibility in one week. It’s an ongoing process that gets better with time. To get the transformation you are looking for, commit to continuous practice. The best way to stay motivated is to measure your progress. When you see improvement, you’ll be inspired to keep practicing.
Pushing too hard too soon
Consistency is great. But be careful not to go overboard. Pushing yourself too hard too soon might cause an injury. As stated earlier, listen to your body and know when it’s time to take a break. Always be gentle to your body, and when the need arises, take a day off.
Not taking care of your wrists
Bearing your entire body weight on your hands can be a tough order, especially for yoga newbies. If you are positioning your hands the wrong way, chances are you’ll experience wrist pain. Those who are already used to push-ups and planks might find it easier. Yoga is the last place you want a wrist injury since the practice is meant to enhance your body mobility, not worsen it.
To help you have a better session:
- Start with warm-up activities that prepare your wrists beforehand.
- When doing downward dog, spread your fingers widely.
- Practice distributing your weight evenly in your palms
- When you start feeling pain, stop.
When in a yoga session, occasionally look at the class and see how different everyone’s form is for the same pose. This shows that perfection is irrelevant in this space. We are all different, and therefore, we can’t all have the exact same posture for yoga poses. Don’t be out of breath because you’re struggling to make a posture look exactly like the instructors’. There are poses you’ll easily do, and there are others you’ll struggle with. Don’t sweat it. Take time to practice and don’t beat yourself up when you find it extremely hard to perform a pose.
Not being in the right mindset
Yoga beginners sometimes entertain limiting thoughts that they’re not good enough. These limiting beliefs can talk you out of trying, as you are always expecting failure. Turn that around and be competent where you are.
As a beginner, it’s okay not to know all the poses. It’s okay to make mistakes. You might get tired fast and often let your mind wander. These are challenges that most newbies go through. You are not alone! So, instead of talking yourself out of the challenging poses, give it another try. Be a competent beginner and commit fully to the practice.
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