Top 3 Common Mistakes Made By New Yoga Students

Mistake #1: You Compare Yourself To Other Students.

Yoga classes attract a wide range of people with different physical abilities and emotional issues. In a class, it is tempting to compare your downward dog pose, for example, with other students doing the same pose. Generally, when you compare, you lose your focus and may even start to put yourself down or, heaven forbid, feel boastful and proud of how good you look in the downward dog pose!

Solution: Stay focused on your breath.

Yoga is a personal journey. Your yoga class is your “me time” and an opportunity to relax and let go of the constraints of work and home life. Some days your body will feel more open and flexible and you can touch your toes in the seated forward bend; on another day, you may have a stiff back and your body refuses to move into the pose. By staying focused on your breath and being aware of what is going on inside your body, you can reduce the likelihood of comparing yourself to others.

Mistake #2: You Rush Through
The Poses. It is tempting to go straight into a pose and forget to make sure your body is correctly positioned. For example, in the triangle pose you fail to make sure your feet and hips are in correct alignment and just rush straight into the pose and stretch your arm above your head. Whilst this may look correct, you run the risk of injury and do not get the full benefit of the posture.

Solution: Take your time.

All yoga poses consist of getting into the pose, being in the pose and coming out of the pose. It is essential you take your time to get into the pose, to correctly align your body, slowly breathe your way into the posture, remain there for at least 5– 10 rounds of deep breathing and then slowly come out of the pose. For example, in the triangle pose, take time to make sure your feet are correctly positioned before you get into the full pose and align your hips as you move into the pose.

Mistake #3: You Get Frustrated and Annoyed With Yourself.

Most basic yoga exercises (asanas) look deceptively simple and easy to do. Consequently, a lot of new students expect to be able to go straight into the “perfect pose.” However, if you have never exercised before, lead a very sedentary life or spend most of your time at a desk using a computer, your body becomes stiff and inflexible. The expression “use it or lose it” applies to the human body. Over the years your body adapts to the demands made on it. Yoga exercises require you to stretch and move your body— although yoga is gentle, this can still be a shock to your body. You realize just how inflexible you have become over the years. I often see students get cross with themselves and moan, “I used to be able to touch my toes” as they struggle to position themselves in the forward bend pose, or have trouble raising their arms above their head as they prepare for the seated forward bend pose.

Solution: Be gentle and accept your body as it is today, not how you imagined it to be 2, 5, or even 10 years ago.
You are a living organism and, if you haven’t exercised for a while, your body will be stiff and inflexible. With time, patience and regular practice, you will notice an increased range of movement and ease in your body. For example, one of my students, aged 73 years, can now place his hands just below his knees in the seated forward bend. When he first started yoga, his back and hamstrings were so stiff he reached just to his mid thighs. That is a massive increase in his range of movement and ease in his body when walking and out and about with his grandchildren.}

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