Who hasn't admired the graceful lines that an accomplished and trained yogi effortlessly creates with her or his body? (In case you haven't, check out this beautiful Instagram account.)
Let's face it, though. We are worried about looking like this:
A sloppy yoga posture, as embarrassing as it might look, can lead to more serious problems. It helps to have an excellent yoga instructor with a sharp eye, but there are some things you need to take care of by yourself. Luckily for us, Sandeep Agarwala, head of yoga at the Ananda spa resort near Haridwar in Uttarakhand, points out for our benefit some common mistakes that yoga beginners make.
Mistake 1: Lack of a proper goal before starting yoga
Keep a clear goal in mind when starting yoga. Most of us start yoga with short term goals like weight loss or back pain issues. Yoga practice should have long term goals: a person needs to recognise why he's starting yoga, and how it will help.
Mistake 2: Ignoring medical conditions
When a person begins yoga practices he/she should also be mindful of any medical condition that they have, such as high blood pressure, and select practices accordingly. All practices are not meant for every person.
Mistake 3: Incorrectly sequencing asanas
Many beginners start yoga with the help of a DVD or a book, or end up going for a few classes, and then occasionally attempt what they remember at home. But it is important for the right sequence to be followed for balance and maximum effect. To take a small example: A forward bend should be followed by a backward bend.
Mistake 4: Forgetting to breathe
Not only is it important to breathe, it is important to breathe correctly, which is what most people forget. There are exact moments where your breath should be held, exhaled or inhaled.
Mistake 5: Know what form you are practising
There are many kinds of yoga, such as hatha yoga, power yoga, hot yoga, and aqua yoga. All these are modern versions of yoga and we should ideally first connect with the traditional system of yoga rather than a new version, which usually tends to be more physical in nature.
Mistake 6: Attempting complicated asanas in the first class
For a beginner session, one should always start with the very basic Pawanmuktasana series, in which there are specific asanas for each and every joint and ligament. These asanas help in preparing the body for the next level. Most classical postures need some preparation such as the basic stretching asansas like Tadasana, Tiryaka Tadasana, and Kati Chakasana, or some other preparatory asanas.
Similar to a workout in the gym, one needs to let the body warm up and cool down.
Mistake 7: Pushing too hard
Yoga asanas are not meant to be struggled with, but done comfortably and in a relaxed state of mind.
Mistake 8: Wrong dietary habits
Yoga is not just about exercise. Food plays a vital role too. Unless the body is free of toxins, the results of yoga will not be felt.
Mistake 9: Timing
The best time to practise yoga is in the morning. Many people opt to perform yoga in the evening after work. While that is not discouraged, you are unlikely to reach your full potential as you are already tired.
Mistake 10: Lack of continuity
The biggest mistake most beginners make is giving up too easily. Yoga gives results only when it is practiced consistently.
Keep at it, and eventually, you will end up looking like this:
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