Remember as always, to have fun and don't take life too seriously ;) Happy reading!
1. Holding your breath
Breathing is the basic foundation of a yoga practice (and life!) and controlling your breath can help connect with your body. However, a lot of yogis begin to hold their breath during difficult or challenging postures which creates a tension in your body. This is pretty much the exact opposite of what you want to achieve in a yoga class. Breathe normally. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
2. Getting ahead of yourself
Remember yoga is a personal practice. In a packed room full of other yogi's is can be easy to get sucked in to doing poses you are not ready for, potentially leading to embarrassing falls or (worse) injury to you or to others. There is no need to follow more advanced students or instructions into another more challenging pose. You've probably noticed that Yoga poses are sequenced together in a way that each part prepares you for the next. So focus on your own practice and experience level and try to perfect each stage of a posture first before moving on to the next stage (regardless of everyone else!) Don't worry, you'll get there...
3. Making any excuse you can to avoid doing a particular pose in class
We've all been there, having a great day in a class and then all of a sudden the teacher says a pose or type of pose that you absolutely hate. Your mindset changes and worry kicks in and everything gets a bit negative. It's normal that we have certain postures that we like / dislike more than others, but don't let this dislike change your practice. In most cases the poses we avoid or dislike are actually the ones we need to work on the most. That's why you may find them more challenging or difficult or sore to do. These are ones your body really needs. Use this as a challenge to push past your barriers so one day in class you won't actually hate the pose...you'll nail it! :D
4. Comparing yourself to anyone around you...
This is a big no-no. Focus on yourself, show up, and practice. It's that simple. Don't worry about what somebody is doing in front or next to you. Who cares if today you can't hold a handstand, but last week you totally could. How 'well' we think we do in our practice is not the point of yoga. Enjoy each breath, enjoy every moment of focus and self-reflection whilst you practice and that is it. We all fall sometimes, we all have good days and bad days - why should that be different for yoga?
5. Getting stuck in a rut, or just not trying anymore.
It's easy to slip into habits, and although your yoga practice should form part of your routine, you don't want to be switching into auto-pilot every time you practice. The yoga world is HUGE and there is no need to get stuck in a rut, practicing the same poses in the same sequence repeatedly. Granted, some styles of yoga like Ashtanga and Bikram do involve a set sequence, but this means you have an opportunity to try and push yourself a little bit more in each pose. Don't just stop where you always stop and say 'this is my limit', every now and then, give it a try - you may surprise yourself by how far you've come. You can even take advantage of the many different styles of yoga that exist, and are probably available at your studio. If you always go to Bikram, why not try a Vinyasa? Or perhaps you usually prefer Yin, but every other Monday you try out an Iyengar class. After all, variety is the spice of life!
6. Skipping the Savasana
There is nothing in the world that can't wait just few minutes for you to finish your yoga practice. Relax! Everything is under control. You've no doubt heard it before but this really is the most important part of any class, this is where the magic happens. This is 5-10 mins of your day you can totally dedicate to you. This is where your body and mind can truly absorb and accept all the great things that have just happened during your class. If you just walk out of the class and catch the number 53 bus home, you don't get to feel that magic, you don't get that time to have peace. The savasana seals in your practice makes it worth it. So do it!
7. Stepping on someone else's mat
Just don't do it - it's not hygienic and it's simply rude. Most yogis treat their mats as a personal sacred space. Treat other people’s mats and their space with respect and always walk around them...
8. Coming to class with a full or empty stomach/little hydration
Like any form of physical exercise you need to be properly prepared for it otherwise you'll fail to get the best results. If you turn up to class after eating big meal, then not only will most poses be uncomfortable, but also your practice will be less effective - your body will funnel blood to your stomach, leaving your muscles shortchanged of the energy they need for a good practice. On the other side though, turning up with an empty stomach before your class will leave you drained, light headed and with very little energy to practice. Your last meal before practice should ideally be 2-3 hours beforehand but if that's not possible (because you go to the 6.30am class) then some fruit or cereal should do the trick. And lets not forget about proper hydration, especially if you love practicing in hot rooms. You'll need to properly hydrate about an hour before your class. Remember once you start to feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated! Oh, and alcohol isn't counted as hydration!
9. Forgetting to smile during your practice
Okay, we get it - sometimes yoga can be really hard. However, taking yourself too seriously can make things seem more difficult as your body stiffens and becomes frustrated. Take a breath, smile when it's something tough and enjoy the challenge! If you fall, at least you've tried. Every time we fail we are one step closer to success. When your muscles are shaking, its because they're excited!
10. Wearing the wrong clothes to your yoga class
Okay, we all know the standard advice for a yoga class is 'wear something comfortable that you can move in', but there's a lot more to it. For example there's no point in wearing a cotton based item to a hot yoga class, as you'll wish you hadn't. Apart from it becoming laden with sweat and weigh you down, it's very likely going to become transparent (and no-one wants that). It's definitely worth investing in good quality items that have good quality fabric and will last and put up with the unique stresses yoga clothes get put through (not forgetting the regular washing!)
Also, we know some yoga clothing items can be more expensive than other sports apparel on the market, but it's important to understand that yoga clothing was built for yoga (sounds obvious, but it's an important fact). Most premium brands like the ones we sell have a 4 way stitch fabric (rather than just a 2 way stitch of most sports apparel) making them stronger and far more opaque as the fabric can stretch 4 ways (up, down, left and right)
So that's it! 10 things we probably have all done and mostly still do. But it's easy to fix. Essentially, relax, have fun, focus on your own practice, don't get in a rut and eat and dress appropriately! Simple! xx
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