Mistakes committed during the practice of Yoga can negate any benefits that the practitioner may accrue. Each yoga asan has contraindications that one should be careful about. But there are few general cautions that we need to be aware of. Doing yoga the right way enables us to benefit from the asans and also keep injuries at bay.
Yoga should never, repeat never, be painful. So go easy. You don’t go for the burn with yoga asans. The stretch should be gentle and progress should be steady. If you feel a twinge of pain, then it is a signal that you should pull back a bit. Breathing accompanying the asans should be regular and natural, it should not feel stressed or forced.
Maintain correct form. That’s crucial for not just the correct intensity of stretch in the muscles but also to get the breathing right. Correct inhalation and exhalation are essential to every yoga asan. Whether you learn in a yoga class or from a YouTube video, make sure that you practice correct form. You will progress faster when maintaining correct form. Initially, beginners may want be tempted to cheat and adjust a pose according to their physical conditioning. Don’t do that. Because this can be habit forming and you’ll progress with the wrong pose. Adjust yourself to the correct pose.
Gather your thoughts when practicing yoga, when thoughts wander, the focus wanders and consequently both form and breathing technique suffers. Focus on your breathing and focus inwards. This is the right way to accrue the maximum benefits from yoga.
Do not practice yoga on a full stomach. It’s a common sense thing to know and do but it’s surprising that many people do not pay heed to this. Doing a backbend or a headstand on a full stomach can be uncomfortable. Also, after we eat, the blood supply is directed to the stomach. And while exercising, we can do with all the oxygenated blood our muscles can get. A small snack of banana before exercising is fine.
Practice yoga at its own pace, not to fast music. Yoga is more than just calisthenics.
Do not stay quiet about your condition. Let your teacher know. If you feel pain during a movement, tell your teacher. And he’ll tell you about the remedy. At the same time, discomfort is not pain. It is what you will experience the first time you practice an asan. Gradual movements will ease discomfort and loosen tight muscles.
Do not compete with others. Yoga is for your own upliftment. Asans vary in difficulty. Beginners should focus on the easier movements and aim for gradual improvements. Advanced practitioners can manage even the more difficult poses, if you keep at it, one day even you will. But till then, go slow and steady.