For a yoga rookie, the first steps on to the yoga mat can be something of a leap into the unknown with disciplines and ideas unlike anything else. So here’s 10 common mistakes to avoid when you’re new to yoga:
1. Arriving just on time or late for class
Arrive ten minutes early for class, not only will it make sure that you’re relaxed and stress free, many teachers don’t allow latecomers in. Everyone else gets distracted from their focus by that shuffling and movement as you drop your bag and get ready to go. With Yoga Holly you’re welcome to arrive up to half an hour early. All classes begin with warm-up exercises that are just as important as the postures, so it’s best not to come late.
2. Bringing your phone with you onto the mat
Yoga is one of the last “safe spaces” left in our non-stop connected world. Just the sight of a rogue phone staring you out while you’re downward dogging, even if it’s turned off it can ruin that feeling of unplugged zen. Completely switch it off or on airplane mode so there’s no chance of an accidental vibrate at just the wrong moment. If you really can’t resist a selfie do it before or after class.
3. Getting up and walking out early during relaxation
You had 50 minutes of perfect bliss … then that guy had to go ruin it with his creaky dash out the door. Most classes will end with a relaxation, during which you will lie flat on your back with your eyes closed. This is designed to give time for the body, organs and mind to settle down from some of the intense cleansing and awareness class can bring, and gives you that yoga high. If you need to go early to catch a bus or pick up a child, get going before the final relaxation begins, just be sure to lay on your back for a few moments to let your mind and body settle before you dash.
4. Going it alone
For those new to yoga, there are a myriad of books and online videos available to start you on your way but, although these can be helpful, they won’t offer the comprehensive and supportive introduction to the physical postures that a dedicated yoga class will. This is especially true if your teacher corrects your alignment in class like at Yoga Holly. Often it feels like you’re in the right position, but if you could stand back and see yourself you’d spot the difference needed.
5. Eating & drinking right before class
Try to eat & drink during your day and no more than about an hour or so before your class to avoid beginning a session with a full or heavy stomach. The last thing you want to feel is uncomfortable and distracted from your flow or unable to go deep in your postures. If you want to bring some water keep it close to your mat, where you’re not likely to knock it over or be in your neighbours space.
6. Being surprised that it’s tougher than it looks
During your first couple of classes, it’s likely that you’ll find some of the physical postures straight forward and others difficult or uncomfortable, even if you exercise regularly. This is because yoga utilises different muscles and parts of the body from other kinds of exercise regimes, so it may take a little while for you to get used to it.
7. Aiming to nail every posture
Like any new discipline, practise makes perfect, and with more than 2500-years of yoga knowledge there’s a lot to be learned, so don’t expect to master yoga overnight. Yoga training is all about self-discovery, body-awareness, and mental attitude, and is a discipline which is learned over time – and lasts a lifetime when taught correctly. You’ll likely find some postures easier than others, and even find some days your body can do more than others.
8. Not asking what kit you need
Before your first class, check with your teacher to see what equipment is and isn’t provided – Yoga Holly provides mats and all the equipment you need. Although you will no doubt see countless advertisements for socks and gloves for yoga beginners, these are not necessary as these ‘sticky’ accessories are manufactured to make the wearer feel more grounded to their mat – which is something that should be developed naturally over time rather than forced. Its bare foot all the way.
9. Wearing too baggy clothes
Although loose fitting and comfy is the way to go, anything too baggy can prevent the teacher from seeing your posture and you could miss out on important adjustments.
10. Not being prepared for side effects
Yoga is designed to cleanse the mind and body, and in the fast food munching, sugar filled, protein heavy diet of the West there can be a lot of toxins. Depending on your overall condition, these cleansing processes may cause you to experience slightly unpleasant feelings of dizziness, or nausea – this is quite normal but if you are concerned, please do speak to your teacher about this. You may also experience a ‘yoga high’, which is a sign you’re advancing in your practice.