Have you ever left a yoga class or finished a yoga routine feeling frustrated or discouraged? You’re not alone! Sometimes when we’re working through the poses, we feel that “success” means we nailed everything physically, but we forget the importance of the mental aspect of yoga. Some of the most common mistakes in yoga are made when this happens.
1. Worrying about what others think
Yoga is about connecting your mind and body, so don’t be afraid to change your yoga practice to fit your current needs. Give yourself the option to add more yin or yang to your practice without worrying about judgement from others.
Do what feels good and what will help deepen your practice, even if you are the only one in Child’s pose for 20 minutes. And to be honest, no one is watching you anyway. . . they are too focused on not falling over in Tree pose.
2. Not using yoga props
Somehow, yoga props got a bad rap. Many people feel they are not “good” or “strong” yogis if they use a yoga block or yoga strap . . . big mistake! That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Seasoned yogis love to use props in their practice because it helps them explore their bodies and go deeper into poses. Again, who cares what other people think – this is your yoga practice!
3. Skipping Savasana
Skipping Savasana is a big mistake. Savasana is an important part of your yoga practice. It allows your body and mind to completely relax and absorb the healing benefits of your practice.
Remember – Savasana is a yoga pose and like any other pose, it takes practice. If you find this pose to be extremely difficult, you’re not alone . . . but we can all learn a few lessons from being silent.
4. Forgetting to breathe
Your breath plays a huge part in your yoga practice. We use our breath to move in and out of poses, to center our awareness, to the cleanse the body and more. It can be very easy to lose focus on your breath. But if you catch yourself holding your breath or your mind beginning to wander, bring your focus back to deep, conscious breathing.
Keeping your awareness on your breath is a great way to connect to your own body and not worry about what is going on in the yoga room. Your breath will help your focus remain on your own practice.
5. Not checking your ego at door
Yes, egos can show up, even in the yoga studio. Competing with the yogi next to you is pointless, so leave your competitiveness at the door.
If you push yourself too hard just to match your neighbor – stop – and take a moment to remind yourself that your yoga journey is your own and we are all on a path that is uniquely our own. Your practice will absolutely look different than your neighbor’s – and that’s okay!
6. Viewing yoga as something to be mastered
Often, when we scroll through Instagram or Facebook, we see photos of very advanced poses perfectly executed. Perfection doesn’t exist. We are not aiming for perfection in our yoga class, we are aiming for a deeper experience with ourselves.
Over time this can lead us to think that yoga is something that can or should be mastered, which couldn’t be further from the truth! Don’t ever become discouraged or upset with yourself or your practice . . . this is why we practice yoga.
7. Negative self-talk
Your thoughts are more powerful than you may realize. If you spend the entire class telling yourself how horrible your balance is or that you could never do Crow pose, chances are those thoughts will manifest.
But if you learn to accept your practice for what it is and give yourself the love and positivity you deserve, you just gave yourself the power to have an amazing class and an amazing rest of your day. When you notice negative thoughts intruding on your practice, just release them and get back to the breath.
8. Becoming stagnant
Don’t make the mistake of getting complacent and not pushing yourself to continue to learn and grow. It can be scary to become the beginner again by trying new poses, different forms of yoga etc, but growth is beautiful, change is inevitable, and uncovering unknown strength can be so inspiring.
It’s also easy to get boxed into one style of yoga, or thinking that only one yoga discipline is the “right” or “best” kind. Don’t make the mistake of holding yourself back, for any reason. You have only begun to uncover your full potential and your yoga practice is there to help you dig deeper.
9. Writing grocery lists in class
Ever notice your mind wandering in the middle of class and suddenly you’re thinking about your to-do list for the day, or what you’re going to cook for dinner. Being present in the moment can sometimes be easier said than done, but it is so important in your yoga practice.
Be sure to give yourself enough time on your mat before class begins to fully arrive and become completely present. Don’t take away your time of healing, self-study and growth by not fully focusing during your practice.
10. Taking yoga too seriously
Remember that this is a gift to yourself, from yourself. Enjoy your practice – it is just for you! Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously – holding ourselves to too high of standards, or not allowing ourselves to relax and cut loose.
This article is meant to help us let go of some of the seriousness that can build around ourselves and our yoga practice and bring some smiles and lighthearted laughter to the practice. Because while the practice is sacred, it’s also meant to be fun!