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3 Yoga Mistakes You Might Be Making – and How to Stop

By January 6, 2017Move

I recently obtained my 200-hour yoga teacher certification, and if you’ve talked to me ever, I’ve probably mentioned yoga (Don’t worry, I have other interests, too). In my last few months of teacher training, a lot of students have talked to me about their own yoga insecurities and I have picked up on little mistakes I see during class. Also, I believe yoga is a pretty misunderstood form of movement. Lots of people tell me they want to get into it, but are intimidated. 

And all I want to do is make it less intimidating and make you love yoga. Ready to give it a shot? Here are three common, easily-fixable mistakes to avoid. 

Mistake #1: Thinking you have to be x to do yoga.

The one thing that people always tell me about yoga is that they can’t do it. Why?

  • “It’s for flexible people.”
  • “It’s not a real workout.”
  • “I can’t relax.”
  • “I’m not strong enough.”
  • “I’m too big.”
  • “I won’t pay $330 for fancy yoga clothes.”

Some people are flexible, but not all that strong. Some people are strong, but not all that flexible. Doing yoga can help with both of those, and it will look different for different people. There are modifications you can take for all sorts of limitations or areas of discomfort. Don’t have super strong shoulders? Take chataranga dandasana on your knees. Can’t bend into a full wheel? Try bridge pose. You always have options in yoga! 

And you totally don’t need to buy Lululemon clothes. Just wear comfy workout clothes you can move in.

Mistake #2: Sacrificing good form to bend more.

 

A photo posted by Ellen (@myuncommoneveryday) on

Since a lot of people think yoga is all about being super flexible, a lot of people who come to class think that if they can bend more, they should. That’s not always true. If you’re locking out your joints, clenching your jaw, or pulling your shoulders up to your ears, maybe ease back a little. And if any pose hurts, stop. #commonsense

Mistake #3: Skipping savasana.

I confess: I used to be this person. I just worked out, so why would I want to lie around and nap? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Let me yell this at you: NO. Savasana, or Corpse Pose, is not a waste of time. And, frankly, even though you’re just chilling out on your mat, it’s not easy. Just telling yourself to relax doesn’t always work, and that’s exactly what you’re practicing in savasana. You spend most of your workouts, and even most of your yoga class, focusing on your body. This is the time to focus on your mind. You need a strong mind and body as you move through your daily life, so just hang out on your mat for a couple minutes at the end of class and quiet your thoughts.

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Author Ellen Slater

Ellen is a second year economics major at the University of Chicago, and she is originally from Columbus, Ohio. Her favorite things include writing, hockey, Ohio State football, tea, Diet Coke, photography, cooking and baking, yoga and running, and food and fitness in general. She talks a lot about all of these things on her blog, My Uncommon Everyday. She considers herself a connoisseur of pizza, nut butter, and dark chocolate.

More posts by Ellen Slater

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