5 common yoga mistakes

Yoga is a great practice that helps to stretch the muscles, increase blood circulation, and promote calm and wellness. However, if you’re not careful, a simple yoga routine may become downright dangerous! Check out these common yoga mistakes that can actually put you in danger during your yoga routine.

1. Lifting and Jerking, Not Curving

When you transition from one yoga position to another, you need to gently curve your body and not lift or jerk yourself into any position. For example, if you’re in the standing forward bend pose, with your hands touching your toes, you want to gently curve your back up into a standing position. You don’t want to lift your head up to an upright pose; this puts pressure on the back muscles.

By the same token, if you transition from plank position (on your toes and hands) to a cobra position, with your legs on the mat and your back curved behind you, it’s important to gently curve your belly toward the mat and then curve your upper back behind you. You don’t simply lower yourself onto the mat and then push your back into position; again, this puts pressure on those muscles and on your spine.

No matter the pose or transition, remember to curve your body. Don’t lift, jerk or push yourself into position. Curving allows the muscles to flex naturally and protects them from possible stress and strain.

Must Read: 6 Yoga Poses to Boost Digestion

2. Holding Poses Too Long

It’s good to hold many of your yoga poses for several seconds so the body can actually stretch, and blood can flow to various muscles and other areas. However, holding a pose for too long can put pressure on the joints, ligaments, and tendons.

This is especially true for very deep poses such as a plank or plough position, and for positions that you find particularly challenging. When you first start out with yoga, you don’t want to push yourself to hold difficult poses for too long, as your muscles are not yet sufficiently flexible. You don’t need to remove a particular pose from your routine if you notice that it’s tough for you, but you do need to be careful about how long you try to hold that pose. Remember that you can always increase the length you hold a pose over time.

3. Using Heat

Hot yoga is very popular, as sweat helps to release toxins and excess water from the body. However, following hot yoga routines in a spa usually includes actually drinking water before and during the routine, and may include moist heat that keeps you hydrated as well.

Hot Yoga

If you try to mimic a hot yoga routine at home by aiming a space heater at yourself or turning up the thermostat, you need to be very careful. Be sure you drink plenty of water or with a beverage containing electrolytes before and during your routine, and use a humidifier at the same time. In addition, remember that excess heat can actually cause you to pass out. To be safe, only try a hot yoga routine when someone else is at home, and have them check in on you on occasion!

Also See: Yoga Sequence to Help You Sleep

4. Not Having Proper Traction

Most yoga practitioners either go barefoot or wear good shoes during their routine, but rarely will you see them wear just socks. The reason is the same one behind the use of rubber yoga mats—it’s important to avoid slipping during your routine.

If you don’t have a proper yoga mat, avoiding using a blanket or towel that doesn’t provide traction and control, and note your footwear. If your bare feet are cold, wear shoes over your socks rather than socks alone, or choose socks with rubber grips on the bottom. These measures will keep you from slipping and possibly tearing a ligament or pulling a muscle.

5. Whiplash

As with lifting rather than curving, the possibility of whiplash can make your yoga practice downright hazardous. Many poses call for you to curve your back and neck backwards, but unfortunately many yoga participants decide to whip their head and neck as if they’re performing a dance routine, leading to whiplash. Always gently, gradually curve your neck and back into position, and stop if it feels uncomfortable for you in any way.

Remember that yoga is meant to be slow, gentle, and rhythmic. Always be mindful of your safety if you want to get the most out of your routine.