Trying too hard, too fast. The number one mistake people make in yoga is holding their breath. Often, when students try to adopt the correct posture, concentrate, or try to maintain balance, they hold their breath. Holding your breath prevents the free flow of energy and creates stress and tension, exactly the opposite of what yoga involves.
If you find that you have to hold your breath, it's a sure sign that you're trying too hard. Whether you're lying down, on your stomach, or standing on one leg, you need to breathe steadily. If you get out of breath, take a break, regain control of your breathing, and then rejoin the class. During my many years teaching and practicing yoga, I have seen and made a lot of yoga-related mistakes.
So that you can learn from my experience, I have prepared this extensive list of 24 common yoga mistakes that you should avoid for a more successful practice. An important principle of yoga is the practice of shaucha or cleansing. Pay attention to your personal hygiene as you prepare for class and try to have a neutral, clean smell. Arriving at class heavily perfumed or with body odor will distract your fellow yogis.
If you're more comfortable on a boxing mat than on a yoga mat and you go through most workouts with a heart rate higher than 160 beats per minute, you might make some yoga mistakes when trying to do a more spiritual exercise. Follow the teachings of the yogi Nahid de Belgeonne and avoid the 16 mistakes you see over and over again. No matter how many chatters you do, you'll have a hard time getting your heart rate to 160 beats per minute. And you're going to break your joints in the process.
Do you need to be convinced? Statistics show that the heart rate during an intense Ashtanga practice increases to more than 30 beats compared to the resting heart rate (which can range between 60 and 100 beats per minute), while in a very gentle yoga class the heart rate only increases by about 15 beats per minute. If you feel pain in a posture, stop. Try a modified version or take a child's pose. If you get injured, you won't be able to practice anything, so make modifications when you need to.
Not only will an inconsistent yoga practice hinder progress, but it will also reduce the beneficial effects of yoga on the body, mind, and heart. Trying to keep up with another student will distract you from the true purpose of yoga and could cause you to work too hard and get injured. It can be a little difficult to schedule meals according to your yoga schedule, but trust me if you try to practice yoga on a full stomach, you'll regret it instantly.