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11 Common Yoga Mistakes You Might Be Making And How To Avoid Them

Yoga, the ancient practise for mind, and body harmony is an amalgam of breathing exercises, meditation and poses that direct your body and mind towards relaxation. From improving your physical health to your mental health, practising yoga is undoubtedly good for your overall health.

Regular yoga practice can help reduce lower back pain, arthritis, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia [1]. In addition, some of the major benefits of regularly practising yoga are increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardiovascular and circulatory health, improved athletic performance etc.

Besides the physical benefits, yoga also has several mental benefits, such as creating mental clarity and calmness and increasing body awareness [2].

Common Yoga Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

The practice of yoga is peaceful and refreshing for the body. Like any exercise, you can take steps before, during, and after a class to ensure you have a positive experience.

Here are the most common yoga mistakes you could be making and how to fix them.

1. Eating before class

There is no doubt that yoga is better without a full belly! Of course, you don't have to have an empty stomach but avoid eating a big meal. Instead, eat light and healthy, like a salad or a green smoothie [3].

2. Rushing it

The goal of yoga is to be mindful and focused on breathing and other exercises. Do not hurry through the class, but rather enjoy it and allow it to be a mind-body connection.

3. Not using yoga props

Yoga props got a bad rap for some reason. It is widely believed that using a yoga block or yoga strap is not a sign that you are a 'good yogi.' Not at all - practising yogis love to use props because it helps them explore their bodies and go deeper into poses.

4. Forgetting about your breath

Keeping your breath in check keeps you safe. Observe how your breath reacts to your movements. If your breathing becomes strained, you are pushing yourself too hard. So long as you can breathe naturally and easily while you are practising the poses, chances are you are not overdoing it [4].

5. Pushing too hard

Pushing yourself too hard in yoga can have negative effects. The beauty of yoga is that you can go at your own pace. Every pose can be modified - for example, if you don't need to do something like vasisthasana (a side plank), you can release your bottom knee as an alternative. Despite your level of energy, you can still practice yoga - just adapt it to your energy level [5].

6. Pushing yourself too quickly

The desire to progress during your yoga practice is natural. So, when you find a boundary, you should gently approach it but not push it because if you push your body too much, you can scare it, and your body will react by protecting itself and the boundary. In essence, this means it will tighten up more, and the boundary will be further away next time. As a result, you are likely to become less flexible and tight and at risk of becoming injured. In addition, pushing yourself regularly can lead to injury after a few years, and healing will be more difficult [6].

7. Skipping the warm-up

In warming up, you introduce the body gently to what you want it to do. There are different ways to warm up - by engaging in specific warming up exercises and increasing circulation to bring heat to the body. Alternatively, you could warm up by doing the more basic poses first and gradually building up to the more advanced poses. Preparing the body minimizes the chances of overstretching.

8. Skipping the cool down/relaxation (Shavasana)

After a class, you should take the opportunity to balance what you have achieved. We soften what has been strengthened through counterposes, bring stability back to an area we have loosened, etc. This is the part of the class where you absorb the benefits [7].

9. Forgetting to clean your mat

Though you might be exhausted, spare a few minutes to clean your mat with a natural cleaner. In yoga studios, which are full of sweat and bacteria, we put our hands and feet on our mats, which applies to at-home yoga practice as well [8].

10. Looking at the screen suddenly

Gyms and public classes are closed, so people have been taking online classes, including yoga. Don't suddenly stop in the middle of an asana and stretch your neck or head towards the screen when you have the laptop in front of you on the floor and are following the oral instructions, as this may result in a strain or a sprain.

11. Wearing clothes that are too tight/too loose

In yoga, the movements are meant to be free-flowing, so anything that is figure-hugging or too loose will restrict them. Choose something that fits well but isn't too tight.

On A Final Note...

Yoga is a calm and relaxing exercise that can not only bring internal peace but also improve your physical wellness. Keep in mind to not rush it, engage consciously and let your mind and soul benefit from it.

Story first published: Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 15:22 [IST]
Read more about: yoga yoga benefits
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