If you have recently started to practice yoga, you may be quite surprised at how your body and mind responds when you practice. Yoga is a form of personal development. Regular practice stretches your body and opens your mind. To get the most from your class, it is essential you avoid these yoga mistakes, often made by new 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, for example, your downward dog pose with other students doing the same pose. Generally, when you compare you loss your focus and may even start to put yourself down or heaven forbid, feel boastful and proud on 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 time 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, reduces the likelihood of you comparing yourself to others.

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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, you 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 and then slowly breathe your way into the posture and 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 – right heel in line with your left arch.

Mistake #3 – You Get Frustrated and Annoyed With Yourself – most basic yoga exercises (asanas) look deceptively simple and easy to do. They are. 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 working 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.

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, you’re body will be stiff and inflexible. With time 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.


Mistake #4 – You Miss The Final Relaxation Exercise – most yoga classes finish with the ‘Final Relaxation’ – a chance for you to lie down on your back in savansa (the Corpse Pose) and your yoga teacher take you through a deep guided relaxation. The Final Relaxation can last anything between 2 – 10 minutes. Many students, often due to other commitments, skip the Final Relaxation and leave the class. As a Yoga Teacher and yoga student, I feel the Final Relaxation is the most important yoga pose of your session. It gives the body a proper chance to fully relax and allow the energy released to settle and be absorbed into your body.

Solution: Schedule your yoga class at a time that allows you to complete the class and relax completely. The Final Relaxation/Corpse Pose is the basic pose of relaxation. It helps to release tension from the body and calms and rejuvenates your mind and spirit.

Mistake #5 – You Think Yoga Is Just A Form Of Exercise – many new students do not realize that the way yoga is practiced in the west is only one path of yoga. There are different styles of yoga, which suits different personalities – e.g. Ashtanga Yoga and Sivananda Yoga are two very distinct forms of yoga. In addition, yoga has a whole historical and philosophical foundation, known as the Yoga Sutras (The Eight Limbs of Yoga.) which underpins the yoga exercises you practice in your class.

Solution: Take time to study the philosophical and spiritual side of yoga. Sign up for a course which covers the wider psychological and practical aspects of yoga. Visit other schools/styles of yoga – there is a wide choice – from Iyengar Yoga to Bikram Yoga to Bhakti Yoga – there is a style and form just right for you.

If you are new to yoga, take your time, relax, and enjoy your special form of relaxation. With patience, love and care you will gain a tremendous amount from this ancient practice. Namaste.

"And now I would like to invite you to claim your Free Instant Access to my Special Report "Yoga Exercises and Breathing Exercises to Ease You Into Your Day" when you visit http://www.yogainspires.co.uk/pages/ntathusfreeyogaandmeditationtips.php – Start your day with a smile, a relaxed body and a more peaceful mind." From Ntathu Allen – Sivananda Yoga Teacher and Registered Polarity Therapist.

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