So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and go ahead and try yoga. You have heard about all the ways it can benefit your mind and body and you want to see how it can help you achieve your mental and physical goals.
The first thing you should be aware of, is that yoga is kind of an art form. As such, there are certain general rules that should be adopted to make sure you are doing everything correctly to achieve optimal results and avoid injury.
With that in mind, here are some rookie mistakes you won’t want to be making when you do your first yoga session.
#1. Holding Your Breath
When beginners start out with yoga, they may be concentrating on getting their bodies into difficult poses. As a result, they may hold their breath without even realizing it.
However, the whole point of yoga is to breathe. Breathing promotes the free flow of energy and the release of stress and tension and that’s what yoga’s all about.
If you find yourself holding your breath, it means you’re trying too hard. If you find you are out of breath, take a moment, regain your breathing and rejoin the class.
#2. Not Using Props
As opposed to Pilates and other exercises, many people feel that yoga should be done without the use of props. They may feel that using props is a sign of weakness. However, using the right props can help you achieve the proper poses and avoid injury.
There are many props that can be used in yoga, so you get the most out of your workouts. These include blocks or blankets that prop you into seated poses and straps that help you reach your feet or bind your hands behind our back. These will be effective in helping you go deeper into your pose to get the most from your exercise.
#3. Improper Positioning with Downward Dog
The downward dog is a basic yoga move and it’s likely you will be introduced to it during your first workout. However, despite its seeming simplicity, there are several things that you can do to cause injury and make this pose less effective.
For one, make sure your spine is straight. If your spine is curved, it will put more weight on your shoulders and wrists increasing the risk of injury.
Wrists can easily get injured when you are in the downward dog position. To minimize the chance of becoming injured, distribute some of the weight onto your legs so you won’t be relying solely on your wrists. You should also spread your fingers wide and press down on your knuckles so your entire hand is supporting your weight.
#4. Improper Positioning with Up Dog
Up Dog is another beginner pose that is often done improperly. The exercise is done by pressing your hands on the floor and sliding the chest forward. Then come up on the tops of your feet and lift your kneecaps while tucking your tailbone.
Lift your chest and press away from the mat with your hands. Relax your shoulder blades away from your ears. Press down through your knuckles and rotate your forearms and lift your chest.
Common mistakes made while doing this exercise include the following:
- Curling the toes instead of being on the top of the feet
- Keeping knees on the floor instead of lifting them
- Crunching or dipping the lower back
- Elbows faced forward instead of inward
- Crunching shoulders up towards the ear
#5. Low Plank
The Low Plank is a strong pose that can cause injury if done incorrectly.
To make sure you don’t get hurt, here are some common mistakes to avoid.
- Collapsing on the floor with no control
- Positioning elbows to the side instead of close to the rib
- Letting the tops of the shoulders dip below the elbows
- Putting hands by the ribs instead of in front of the shoulders
- Lifting or dipping from the hip to disrupt the smooth line of the back, hips and legs.
Now that you know what mistakes to avoid when you do yoga, when will you be taking your first class?