The six big donts of yoga you should always avoid – Free Press Journal

The six big donts of yoga you should always avoid – Free Press Journal

Yoga is rewarding and fulfilling as just one practice can help you meet multiple objectives. It is a very accessible form of movement; it helps improve balance, which is linked to our cognitive function and reduces the risk of future injuries. More importantly, it helps you manage stress, anxiety and improves your quality of sleep and life. However, many misunderstandings around yoga can either make your practice inadequate or can be harmful to the body. Here are six critical traps you must avoid if you are starting or maintaining your yoga practice:

1) No warm-up

Warm-up is essential for waking up the muscles, improving circulation and getting both the cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems aligned to what you are going to do. You also want to prepare the mind and awaken the prana when it comes to Yoga. So, a great way to begin your practice is by getting on the mat and sitting or standing in silence, taking your attention to your breath. Take at least five breaths to centre yourself and begin with sun salutations. It would be even better to do joint activation exercises or sukshma vyayama before that.

2) Moving through postures mindlessly

Your yoga practice is not about your posture. It is about your attention — the quality of your attention decides the quality of your practice. Set an intention to maintain awareness of your breath throughout the practice. But also remember that it is natural for attention to drift and the mind to wander. All you have to do is to repeatedly come back to the present moment, to your breath, and to the experience of holding a posture. If, for any reason, you are distracted, then add some single-leg balance poses at the beginning of your practice. They will help centre the mind as they reduce the influence of vata dosha (often the cause of anxious thoughts). Single leg balances include postures like tree pose, warrior III, eagle pose, etc. 

3) Continuing through pain 

There’s no one universally accurate alignment for yoga poses. Everyone is unique, and that’s why, how their body shapes up in a yoga pose will be unique too. What may work for your joints may not work for others. Therefore, always listen to your body and believe in its intuitive capabilities. Do not overrule your judgement or push through pain — unless you are under the supervision of an expert teacher or therapist. If something doesn’t feel right — stop and ask your teacher. Equally, don’t be in a rush to be super flexible or strong.

 4) Skipping pranayama and meditation

Try to spend at least five minutes doing yogic breathing exercises after your yoga asana practice. There’s a tendency to put a lot of effort and energy into yoga postures while ignoring the subtler aspects of yoga. To put it simply, it’s like going to the ATM to withdraw money and leaving without collecting the dispensed cash. With asana practice, you simply unlock the potential of yoga. With pranayama and meditation, you finally ‘collect’ the benefits. Plan your routine such that you reserve 20% of your total practice time for these mindfulness activities. So, for a 60 min session, allocate at least 12 minutes for pranayama, meditation and …….