Yoga is a wonderful practice that comes with many benefits for your body and mind – if done correctly.
It can help you destress, reduce inflammation, help with chronic pain, and improve your sleep. These are just a few of the many advantages that a yoga practice can have on your mental and physical well-being. However, you can only really reap the benefits of yoga if you’re practicing the right way.
If you’re thinking about starting a yoga practice, there are some common beginner yoga mistakes that you should know about.
Keep reading to learn about eight beginner yoga mistakes and how you can avoid them!
1. Holding Your Breath
Focusing on your breathing is one of the most important parts of yoga practice.
Many beginners are so preoccupied with trying to nail a pose that they completely forget to breathe. While yoga is about the physical movement of your body, it is also about connecting to your mental and spiritual self. Paying attention to your breath is the best way to bring yourself to the present moment and connect to yourself.
If you are taking yoga classes, a skilled yoga teacher will pick up on your lack of breathing and remind you to do so.
2. Overexerting Yourself
If you’re a yoga newbie, you probably want to get in the yoga studio and keep up with the teacher and the other seasoned yogis. But yoga isn’t about that. It is a deeply personal practice that will look very different for everyone.
When you are first starting out it may be tempting to push your body and overexert yourself to try to nail every pose.
Instead, you must honor your body and respect its limits. Not only does pushing yourself too hard go against the purpose of yoga, but it can also cause injuries.
3. Yoga on a Full Stomach
This is another common mistake that beginner yogis make. A full stomach can affect your metabolism and leave you feeling bloated. It can also affect your practice and your stamina.
Before a yoga class, eat a light and healthy snack instead to give you fuel for a productive practice but avoid bloating.
4. Limiting Yourself to Advanced Yoga Positions
There are many different types of yoga and a multitude of poses. Each type of yoga comes with its own set of poses, some of which are more or less advanced.
Many beginners often want to breeze through the basic poses and skip straight to the more advanced poses. But yoga is about the journey, not the destination.
Focusing on the basic and beginner poses helps you build a foundation and strength in your mind and body. This will be the foundation upon which you can slowly build up to more advanced poses when your body is ready.
Additionally, trying out advanced poses too hastily can lead to injury. If you haven’t practiced yoga before, you can be more prone to injury if you don’t move through the basic movements first.
5. Comparing Your Practice with Other Yogis
This is a very common mistake and it can be detrimental to your practice. As previously mentioned, yoga is a personal practice. Your progress is yours and shouldn’t be compared to anyone else’s.
When you’re sweating bullets trying to hit that pose, it’s common to look over at your neighbor and envy their effortless posture. But staying within and focusing on your own mind and body is how you can make your own progress with yoga.
Instead, if you look to your neighbor, ground yourself and wish them well in your heart and mind.
6. Forgetting Your Alignment
Alignment is one of the most important facets of your yoga practice.
It might surprise you to know that alignment doesn’t look the same for everyone for each yoga pose. There are modifications and variations depending on your body type, flexibility, strength, and range of motion.
Some people will need props, some will need adjustments, but it is important to know what alignment is right for you.
As a beginner, it may be beneficial for you to take private yoga classes to personalize your practice. This can help you understand the alignment that suits your particular body.
7. Placing Your Mat in the Front Row
As a good yoga student, you grab your mat for yoga and hit the front row to soak up the teacher’s knowledge. You think that as if by proxy you will be able to absorb their flexibility and technique.
In fact, as a beginner, you should stick to the back of the class instead.
This will help you be able to see what the class is doing. Instead of trying to find the teacher from an awkward pose, you have the view of many more people to help you.
8. Avoiding Props
Some people think that using props is cheating in yoga. This is simply not true. Props are wonderful tools to use in your yoga practice to help you with each pose.
As previously mentioned, alignment will look different for everyone and props can help you achieve the alignment right for your body. Props can also help with pain and discomfort.
Grab a prop for a more mindful practice.
Avoiding These Beginner Yoga Mistakes
Yoga is not a one-size-fits-all type of practice. It’s fun, meditative, therapeutic, and even silly at times. Although yoga will look different for every individual, these common beginner yoga mistakes are best to avoid if you want to get the most out of your practice.
Be sure to breathe, respect your body’s limits, practice foundational poses, focus on your own body, and sit in the back of the class. Remember to have fun with your practice and appreciate your body for all it does for you!
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