10 COMMON YOGA MISTAKES AND HOW TO FIX THEM
There’s a lot that goes on in a yoga class—concentration, breathing, bending, twisting, and inverting—it requires complete engagement of the mind, body, and heart.
For beginners and experienced yogis alike, this complexity means mistakes are bound to happen. While some yoga mistakes might just make you feel uncomfortable and hold you back from progressing, others can actually compromise your safety. Don’t worry, though—most yoga mistakes are easy to correct!
Don’t worry about fixing many mistakes at once—just bookmark this list and come back to it now and again to help refine your practice. Most of all, do not judge yourself if you’ve made these mistakes! Instead, consider them your initiation into the yoga “tribe” and work on becoming more aware for next time.
10 COMMON YOGA MISTAKES
1. Arriving late for class
Giving yourself ample time to park, check-in, and set up for your yoga practice will promote a calm and relaxed mindset and allow you to leave the stress of the day at the door. Arriving 5-15 minutes early shows respect for your teacher and fellow students and will give you time to bond with your yoga studio community before class.
2. Rushing to yoga class
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready for and travel to your yoga class. If you arrive flustered and rushed, it will be harder to transition into a calm and relaxed yoga experience. Rushing to class can also make you forget to bring what you need and prevent you from being 100% ready for your practice.
3. Wearing inappropriate clothing
It can certainly take some trial and error to find the yoga clothing that works best for your body and the type of yoga class you want to attend. If your clothes are too tight, restrictive, scratchy, or sweaty, you’ll be distracted from focusing on your breath and the yoga poses.
Wear clothes you can easily move around in and that are made with materials that feel good on your skin. For hot yoga, you’ll want moisture-wicking, minimal clothes. For vinyasa and ashtanga classes you will want compression and support. For gentle classes, loose-fitting and comfy clothes are the way to go. If you need a little help deciding how to dress for class, you can always ask the studio’s front desk staff for recommendations.
4. Showing up stinky
A major tenet of yoga is the practice of shaucha or cleanliness. Be aware of your personal hygiene as you prepare for class and try to have a neutral and clean smell. Arriving to class strongly perfumed or smelling of body odor will be distracting to your fellow yogis.
5. Not cleaning your mat
Your yoga mat needs regular cleaning to keep it smelling good and functioning properly. A dirty yoga mat, especially if used for hot yoga, will eventually start to smell and become a distraction from your practice. You also risk injury by using a dirty mat—it can lose its stickiness, making your hands and feet slip and slide and compromising your stability.
6. Refusing props
It is easy to view props as unnecessary and a sign of weakness, but yoga blocks, straps, and blankets are meant to enhance, support, and deepen your practice. While you may need to spend a minute or two gathering props and putting them away, having them by your side will make you fully prepared for any yoga pose that is taught during class. Many teachers integrate props into their teaching, so if you see props by your yoga teacher’s mat when you enter the classroom, you should gather the same props.
7. Using a cheap mat
When first starting yoga, there’s nothing wrong with purchasing an inexpensive beginner’s mat. While no one truly needs the Cadillac of yoga mats, clinging to a cheap mat can hold you back as you grow in your practice because they can slip, bunch up, and not stay flat. Mat issues like these can distract you, prevent your fullest poses, and even cause injury. As you shop for a yoga mat, choose one that provides enough cushioning for your knees and wrists and has a good grip to prevent slips.
8. Practicing with a full stomach
It can be a bit tricky to time your meals around your yoga schedule but believe me—if you try to practice yoga with a full stomach, you’ll instantly regret it. Having too much food or liquids in your belly will be uncomfortable, slow you down, and even prevent you from achieving certain poses…but feeling like you’re starving isn’t good either. Avoid the distractions of fullness and hunger by having a light snack an hour or two before your yoga session begins.
9. Bringing your phone with you
Our smartphones are huge sources 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.
10. Not using a towel in hot yoga
If you go to a hot yoga class, you need to be prepared to sweat. Most yoga mats get super slippery when moist, so bring a towel to prevent slippage from distracting you and making your practice miserable. While you can purchase a dedicated yoga mat towel, any towel you have handy at home will work. If you are prone to excessive sweating then bring more than one!
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