Yoga isn’t just downward facing dog, child’s pose and trying to stay awake during Savasana. It’s a very complicated exercise that works both the body and the mind, engaging and focusing your whole body. Due to the many different facets of practicing yoga, there are many things that you might not even know you aren’t doing right. Keep reading to find out if you’re doing yoga the wrong way.
You’re not thinking about your breathing
As one of the main goals of yoga is to create a flow, harmony and interconnectivity throughout the body, getting into a breathing rhythm is essential. By inhaling and exhaling as you hold or change your poses, you help to create a smooth and connected practice. Further, breathing is so important to yoga that one of the most popular forms of this exercise called Vinyasa is actually named after breathing, meaning “breath linked to movement” in Sanskrit.
Not only does a rhythmic breathing pattern help to provide connectivity for your practice, it also helps to energize your exercise. By inhaling when switching poses and completing more physically demanding moves, you help give your body and muscles more energy to work. By exhaling when stretching your muscles or ending a pose, you help to relax the muscles and mind.
While practicing yoga, paying attention to your breathing pattern also helps you to keep your focus. This will make your practice more calming and productive.
If you’re not focusing on your breathing during yoga, your practice won’t be nearly as productive or effective. Your yoga will turn more into simply going through the motions, which will give you a physical workout, but little to no mental or spiritual benefits.
You’re Thinking About Everything but Breathing
If while relaxing in Savasana you’re thinking about what to have for dinner, your next twitter post, what you’re going to watch on Netflix or your latest projects at work, you’re doing something wrong.
Yoga is intended to stretch and relax your entire body, including your brain. By actively trying to clear your mind and focus on your breathing and your practice, yoga will become much more rewarding for you. Not only will you feel like you’ve gotten in a good workout, but you will feel more mentally energized and focused.
You’re Trying too Hard
If you find yourself struggling to stay in chair pose, or repeated Vinyasa flows are causing you physical discomfort, you’re not doing something right. Yoga is meant to help those who practice, achieve a feeling of calm and whole-body connectivity, along with increasing flexibility and muscle tone. Also, yoga isn’t something you can master in a day; the process of learning new poses and techniques is very gradual and takes time and practice. As you continue to do yoga on a regular basis, your muscles will become more limber and toned allowing you to tackle the more challenging poses. So, if you overexert yourself during your practice, modify the poses to a place where you feel comfortable and eventually work up to the harder stuff.
You’re Not Wearing Yoga Pants
While it’s not required that you wear yoga pants during your practice, you need to wear the appropriate clothing. If you’re wearing clothes that are too baggy, too tight, too revealing, or are simply uncomfortable this can have a huge negative impact on your yoga. The wrong clothes get in the way of completing certain poses, as too much or too little fabric can make it hard for you to stretch and move. Also, if your clothes are uncomfortable, you will tend to focus on that during your practice instead of your breathing and poses.
Whether you’re a practiced yogi or just getting into yoga, there are many opportunities in this complicated exercise to mess up. Whether it’s your breathing, attire, lack of focus or even that you’re trying too hard, doing yoga the wrong way can make your practice highly unproductive.
By coming to class physically and mentally prepared and focused, you could improve your yoga immensely and reap all of the mental and physical benefits of this exercise. So tune into any yoga faux pas you may be committing, and focus on fixing them the next time you hit the mat.
Photo credit: ((carola))