If you’re trying to get healthier in 2022, starting a yoga practice is a great idea. The benefits of yoga are both physical and mental, and it’s easy to add yoga into your daily routine.

While yoga might look easy, there are plenty of mistakes that both newbies and experienced yogis make. We’re here to help you avoid them so you can start your practice off on the right foot.

Read on to learn all about some of the most common yoga mistakes.

1. Resisting Props

Many people who are new to yoga don’t want to use yoga props aside from typical yoga mats. They may think that yoga props are for people who are “weak.” Even people who have plenty of experience with yoga will resist props if they think that they’re “above them.”

Rest assured that using props like yoga blocks and straps doesn’t mean that you’re not good at yoga or that you’re not going to improve.

These props exist to help you. Some people will continue using props throughout their yoga journey while others will discover that they feel more comfortable without them as time goes on.

Many professional yoga instructors continue to use props for certain positions. Props keep you safe and help you progress.

Even if other people in your yoga class aren’t using props, there’s never anything wrong with bringing them into your own practice.

2. Holding Your Breath

It’s common for people to hold their breath when they first start learning how to do yoga, but this directly opposes the point of yoga.

Yoga instructors aim to teach people how to use “yogic breathing” in their practice. This is mindful and meditative breathing that will calm you while you go through your yoga routine.

Yogic breathing helps you establish the mind-body connection that’s so important in yoga.

Not breathing during your yoga practice can be dangerous. If you’re focusing so hard on a complicated move that you hold your breath while doing it, it means that you’re not ready for it. Relax and continue conditioning yourself until you’re more comfortable.

3. Quitting Right Away

While yoga looks “easy” to many newcomers, it can actually be quite difficult depending on the type of yoga that you’re doing (more on that later).

Yoga is a full-body experience. It tests your core strength, your flexibility, and your mental resistance. Some yoga practices will also test your upper body and lower body strength.

It’s not uncommon to feel sore when you first start yoga. You’ll also feel uncoordinated and inflexible. This is normal and it’s not a sign that you should quit.

Instead, continue pursuing yoga. You’ll improve over time and feel better than ever. It’s okay to take breaks as long as you always get back into it. If you’re struggling, talk to your instructor to see if they can offer you personalized advice.

4. Not Trying Different Yoga Types

Did you know that there’s more than one type of yoga? If you find that you’re no longer enjoying one, or that it’s not suiting your needs, why not give another one a try?

Many people start with vinyasa yoga. This is a quick-paced yoga style that’s great for building strength and burning calories without too much impact on your joints.

Yin yoga is more popular for people who do yoga to relax and get more flexible. The slow pace of yin yoga is perfect for beginners or people who are using yoga as a supplement to another high-intensity workout schedule.

Learn more about some popular types of yoga to find the right practice for you.

5. Wearing Improper Clothing

Do you wear the best yoga clothing?

Depending on the type of yoga that you’re doing, you’re going to want to dress for the occasion. You want to make sure that your clothing isn’t interfering with your yoga practice.

If you have long hair, make sure that you pull it out of your face with comfortable clips or a headband. This way, it won’t disrupt you when you’re doing inverted poses.

If you’re doing a more “active” style of yoga, you want to dress in tighter clothing that won’t cause you to overheat. Shorts and leggings are great for yoga because they won’t hang off of your skin. You’ll also want a tight t-shirt, tank top, or sports bra.

If you’re doing a slower style of yoga, you have more flexibility. Many people do slower yoga forms right before bed or first thing in the morning, so they’re in comfortable clothes (if not pajamas).

If you feel like your clothing is impeding your practice, try changing it up!

6. Not Listening to Your Body

Yoga is exercise. If you aren’t listening to your body, you may find yourself getting hurt or burning out. Remember: you’re doing yoga for your health, so pay attention to the signals that your body is sending you.

You should try to be consistent, but if there’s a day where you’re too tired or sore to do your typical yoga practice, honor your body by skipping it or choosing something lower-intensity for the day (like a yoga practice that focuses on stretching and meditation).

Make sure that you don’t do any moves or poses that you aren’t ready for. If your body is in pain, it means that that pose isn’t right for you at this time. Build strength and return to it later instead of trying to push yourself.

It’s okay to feel a small amount of discomfort, but pain is a red flag.

7. Not Learning Proper Form

Speaking of pain, make sure that you learn the proper form before you try different yoga positions. You can learn from instructors in person or from online tutorials.

Some poses look easy, like lunges. Believe it or not, lunges can hurt your knees if you do them improperly. So can planks, downward-facing dogs, cobras, and many other common yoga poses.

Avoid These Common Yoga Mistakes

Yoga is a great way to improve your strength, mindfulness, and flexibility, but making these common yoga mistakes can set you back. If you want a successful yoga practice, keep them in mind so you can catch yourself and make any necessary changes.

At The Center for Health and Wellbeing, we aim to help San Diego residents become their best and healthiest selves. If you’d like to try naturopathic and holistic health for yourself, we’d love to meet you. Contact us to learn more or make an appointment today.