POPSUGAR Fitness

The Mistakes You're Making in Yoga Class

Sep 6 2014 - 4:51am

Have you ever wondered if you're really doing that yoga pose right? Whether you're in an intermediate or ultrabeginner yoga class, these alignment and form mistakes tend to pop up with students all over the room. Beyond preventing injury, these tips will help you find new freedom and strength in six of the most common yoga poses you'll find in class.

Source: Shutterstock [1]

Your Shoulders in Chaturanga

Just like the essential form in a traditional push-up, it's important to keep your spine in a straight line as you lower your body down in Chaturanga [2] (Four-Limbed Staff Pose.) However, it's easy to forget your form and hunch up and round your shoulders forward when making the move.

Instead of letting everything round and crumple in toward the center of your mat, make a point to draw your shoulder blades back together, while keeping your heart open. Your body will feel the burn, build essential strength, and prevent future injury that would keep you off your mat.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography [3]

Your Core in Crow

One of the first big arm-balancing poses you'll come across in yoga class is Crow Pose [4] — and it's a favorite of many Vinyasa teachers! If you feel yourself teetering in this pose, unable to hold it for more than a second or two, it probably has something to do with your core.

Trying to balance on your triceps alone just won't do! Engaging your strong core in Crow Pose is essential to be able to hold this balancing pose for any extended period of time.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography [5]

Your Hand in Half Moon

Half Moon [6] offers a big beautiful stretch to your side body, but it can prove to be tough to maintain stability and balance. The game-changing adjustment for this pose? Your hand placement.

Setting up your front hand at the top of your mat lays the strong foundation for Half Moon, but people often keep their hand too close to their front foot and end up toppling over. Shift your hand up a few inches forward and parallel to your standing foot, so you can lengthen completely through the spine. You'll float right up!

Source: Louisa Larson Photography [7]

Your Stance in Warrior 1

A too-short or too-narrow stance in Warrior 1 [8] can put excessive pressure on your knees and hips. You'll know there's enough space between your feet when your front thigh is parallel with the floor and your front knee is directly above your ankle; if you can't see your big toe, it's important to take a moment to reposition your stance. Also be sure to turn your back toes out to a 45-degree angle to allow your hip a little room to open up.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography [9]

Your Hands in Downward Dog

If Downward Dog [10] never feels like a resting posture, chances are, your legs and hands aren't sharing the weight of your body. As you work to straighten your legs and lower your heels toward the ground, proper hand placement is just as essential to build a strong and stable Downward Dog.

Your thumbs should be facing in toward each other with your fingers spread wide, creating a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Actively press your entire hand (fingers, knuckle, and palms) into the mat, and don't let those palms lift — this can lead to major wrist pain and discomfort.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography [11]

Your Chest in Upward Facing Dog

People tend to hang out in Upward Facing Dog [12] and focus solely on pushing up through their arms. When this is where your intention stays, your shoulders inch up toward your ears, your chest gets no opening benefits, and your legs stay on the ground. Underutilizing your shoulder, chest, and leg muscles in Upward Dog is a big mistake, since these are the parts of the body that should be doing the work in the pose!

Upward Facing Dog should offer a big release in the front of your chest and feel like a gentle backbend. According to yoga teacher Schuyler Grant, you should "always feel like you're pulling your chest forward and through, not pushing it up away from the floor." When you make this shift, you'll be keeping your shoulders and back safe while actively engaging (and strengthening) your arms and legs.

Source: Laughing River Yoga


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http://www.fitsugar.com/fitness/Common-Yoga-Mistakes-35179766