Yoga is a beautiful discipline, and yogis can be beautiful students and teachers. But, all too often, we forget sometimes that the practice that unites teacher and student can be muddled by what yoga was created for in the first place: the control of our ego.
Whether as a student or a teacher, we must understand that yoga is not only a sacred activity upheld by prestige and respect, but that it is, ultimately, an invitation to forgive ourselves and love others while we still have them in this short, short life.
We highlight below 15 common mistakes yogis make.
1. Judging yourself
There is always a room for standards when it comes to yoga, but many forget that “yoga” comes from the root word that means to, essentially, “become yoked” with an experience—happy, sad or neutral.
In our real practice, the poses that we see the teacher do, or the poses that other students are able to follow, may not be the poses that our own bodies are able to do (for reasons that are many)—and that is really okay.
It is time that you acknowledge that the limits of your mind and of your body and set your burdened spirit free.
2. Ignoring the Savasana pose
This pose is also known as a “corpse pose”. This is a pose that is often taken to be at the end of yoga practice and one that is associated with relaxation.
But, many people do not value this pose because it is too easy or too trivial. By letting yourself do the savasana, you will teach yourself how to fundamentally relax in your head, shoulders, trunk, legs, hands, and feet—there is no yoga if there is no release.
3. Not letting go (of air)
Many people love to hold their breaths during a yoga pose for a variety of reasons, but mostly because they think they are proving to themselves that they are able to hang with the intensity of the practice.
Learn to let go of your held breath and breathe in and out naturally. The difference you will feel by doing this is a leap in improvement.
4. It is not (just) a cardio workout
Yoga is not swimming, spinning class or military service—and it was never meant to be.
Physically, it is meant to be a daily practice, it is not a workout, it is working in the stretches and poses so that you learn to relax your joints, muscles, and tendons—sweating is a bonus.
5. It is not a fashion show
Wear loose and appropriate clothes for stretching, moving and relaxing. This is not a runway competition or a Cirque Du Soleil rehearsal session, it is yoga class.
6. You don’t have to do it every day
And that is the truth, especially in yoga. If you allow yourself space and time to learn the poses with the right amount of relaxation and grace in each given session, your body will learn to adapt even when you are not doing the practice—quality over quantity.
7. Excusing yourself in doing certain poses
It is true that yoga is not a competition, even within yourself. But, if these weird looking poses that are difficult and annoying reflect the zigzagged, jagged and frustrating positions we have in life, then you should learn to challenge yourself with these poses—life will annoy you less as a reward.
8. Doing the class with an empty or full stomach
A hungry stomach or a full belly is not a good thing when practices begin. It is always a good idea to learn what subtle amount of food you can have so that you are appropriately fueled for poses to come.
9. Going to yoga for all the wrong reasons
Yoga can often be treated as a social event purely or for even more reasons with malicious intent. Do not be like this and treat the practice with respect as you would a temple or a church. You will find more self-respect in the process.
10. Arriving too late and rushing to class
This is more of a pet peeve to a given reality. People will be late, sure. Lateness disturbs the harmony of classes very much, so do not let it start with you.
11. Not using yoga props
We do not have to be tough when we are doing Yoga, that is not the reason why it was created. So, leave your ego at the door and embrace what yoga blocks can give you when it comes to flexibility increases and a good massage as well—your hamstrings, in particular.
12. Hygiene matters
Cleaning your yoga mat, cleaning yourself and better hygiene overall is important for reasons that are beyond bacterial and illness related. If you are able to impose that much discipline and self-worth for your hygiene, such respect will be mirrored in your poses.
13. There is no perfect pose
That is to say, there is no standard pose that will benefit everyone. Yoga, by the method, is about appropriation and finding a stretch-pose for you. So, learn to break down and a yoga pose and learn it in segments, at an intensity that is comfortable for you—that is the point, right?
14. Ask help and guidance
Not limited to pride, we can be quite proud of not asking for help. The teacher can offer much guidance if you allow them to. It will be quite wise of you to learn from them, indeed.
This is not the same as having fun, but an invitation to something more important and far deeper. In yoga and in life, smile because you are happy to be alive—yoked in the egg of life.
It is hoped that this has been of help to you in your yoga journey, and in your journey to be a happy human being—Namaste to you.
By Ryan Canon
I am Ryan Norwood Canon, an article writer for almost a decade and co-founder of getshape.org. As a well- versed in fitness, posting blogs about a healthier lifestyle and quick tips to a body fit to help people achieve their body goals is truly my passion.
My real concern is, I want you guys to be more confident of yourself.
Practice yoga know, and learn from your mistakes!
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