10 Most Common Yoga Mistakes Beginners Make

Common Yoga Mistakes

10 Most Common Yoga Mistakes Beginners Make

What are the 10 most common yoga mistakes that beginners make? One upon a time, I was that yoga beginner that made mistakes. But time went on and I learned the error of my ways so I thought I would share some of my experience with you!

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Common Yoga Mistakes

Mistake 1- Not investing in a yoga mat

My very first yoga class was in a gym that was used for martial arts. I thought, I can just do yoga on the bare floor right? I did not want to invest any money in yoga because I was not convinced that I would love it. Spoiler, I do! I quickly learned that my ability to do yoga was being compromised by my lack of mat.

Not all yoga mats are the same. I have my favs (Manduka, Hugger Mugger paid links). I suggest looking for a sticky mat with some thickness. You want the mat to lay flat every time and to support your joints; wrists, knees, back. You should note the type of the floor that you will be practicing on. If you practice at home on carpet, you will want a mat to support that. Mostly, you will want to feel like you will stay in place in poses like down dog. Don’t make one of the common yoga mistakes of practicing without a mat!

Pick a yoga mat to support your practice!

Mistake 2- Don’t skip the modifications

We don’t need to feel like a pro when we start yoga. As we learn, our bodies may need to adjust to new sensations. We will be stretching our bodies in ways that might initially be uncomfortable. So, we utilize yoga props. My favorite props are yoga blocks, yoga straps, bolsters, and blankets.

Here are a few ways that you could use the props. Yoga blocks (paid link) are used as we reach to the floor to bring the ground closer. Straps (paid link) are used to help build flexibility in hips, hamstrings, and shoulders. Bolsters (paid link) are used to prop the hips for comfort in sitting on the floor. Blankets (paid link) are used to add comfort in resting poses. Don’t make one of the common yoga mistakes of skipping the modifications and props.

Mistake 3- Don’t forget to have fun

One of the common yoga mistakes for beginners is forgetting to have fun. We can get so serious with yoga, we want to be perfect in every pose. But yoga is a time for discovery and sometimes we need to laugh a little at our attempts. If you stumble into Warrior I or nose plant in crow pose, just laugh a little. It is all part of the discovery!

I was having a little fun on the road- standing chaturanga or pushing the sign over?

Mistake 4- Skipping the breath

Yoga breathing called ujjayi breath, is essential to understanding the flow of the poses in a vinyasa class. It is essential to relaxing the body in a yin class. You will have a wonderful experience if you can master this breathing technique. Here is a tutorial to get you started:

Mistake 5- Going to the wrong kind of yoga class

One of the reasons I was skeptical about yoga before I began practicing, was that I had a preconceived notion of what yoga was. I thought is was sitting on the floor and stretching. I was so wrong of course! But maybe if I had started with a Yin class (which I now love) I might not have returned. My personality at the time craved movement so ending up in a vinyasa flow class was the right place for me. Take this quiz to find your yoga personality so that you can avoid one of the common yoga mistakes. Ultimate Yoga Style Guide.

Mistake 6- Too much focus on the shape of the pose

When you are learning yoga poses, your body needs a moment to adapt to them. Sometimes they will feel strange and if you put too much focus on the shape and not enough focus on the breath for example, you may get frustrated. Give yourself a break and go just with it for a bit until you are more used to the pose. No need to wedge yourself into a pose your body is not ready for!

Common Yoga Mistakes- “wedging” yourself into a pose!

Mistake 7- Pushing yourself too far too quickly

One thing that I love about yoga is that it can be a lifelong pursuit. Yoga is called practice for a reason- we are constantly practicing and honing our body and lifestyle because we strive to understand yoga. One of the common yoga mistakes is pushing your body too far too quickly. In yoga, we strive to let go of ego. We strive to listen to our breath and move in ways that do not harm. Have patience and see where the yoga journey will take you.

If you are not able to move into a challenging back bend at first, than don’t do it!

Mistake 8- Skipping the warm up

How many times do we need to do surya namaskara? Ashtanga practices will tell you to do a minimum of five surya namaskara A and B each. The warm up in yoga is so important. It is where you will connect with the breath and warm your muscles so that they will respond to the deeper stretches and standing poses. You will avoid injury and may be less sore the next day if you have a good warm up. Don’t make the one of the common yoga mistakes by skipping the warm up. You can follow along with surya namaskara A and B here:

Mistake 9- Don’t skip the cool down

This goes along with mistake 8, don’t make one of the common yoga mistakes of skipping the cool down. Many people want to skip savasana. They want to move on with their day and feel that laying on the floor is a waste of time. I encourage you to think of savasana as a reward for a job well done in class. It is the time that you can let your body absorb the work that you have done. Your breath will relax along with all the muscles in your body.

Try savasana with a bolster under your knees to ease low back strain.

Mistake 10- Bring your cell phone with you

This might be my personal pet peeve in this list of common yoga mistakes. Our smartphones can be a huge source of distraction in our lives, which is the complete opposite goal of yoga. Do yourself and your fellow yogis a huge favor and leave your phone in your car, or even consider leaving it at home. If you must bring it into the studio, be sure to turn the ringer off, and definitely don’t bring it into the classroom unless you are a medical professional on call. Let yoga be a gift to yourself- unplug and unwind!

I hope that these 10 common yoga mistakes will help you go from a beginner to a pro! Happy yoga practice to you!

Published by Yoga Traveler

Yoga is my passion, teaching is my life. I started teaching yoga when my husband entered the US Air Force and now my career travels with me. Every time I move, I look for places to teach and a community of caring yogis who I grow to love and then one day, leave behind. This is a place where we can reconnect and create our yoga together. This site can travel with you. Welcome!

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