If you’re hitting the mat every day and not seeing improvements, you’re among a growing number of new yogis who might be making a few common mistakes.
But have no fear…
These mistakes are relatively easy to fix and can get you back on track towards upgrading your yoga routine.
Here are a few reasons why your yoga routine isn’t improving as you want.
You’re Practicing Too Much
When you first get hooked on yoga, it’s common for people to want to practice daily. For some people, it can even become an addiction. And while practicing more is often better, there is a point where you start seeing diminishing returns.
If you’re practicing daily and finding that your mental and physical energy stores are depleted, it’s time to scale it back a bit. On the other hand, there are numerous energy-producing pranayama breathing exercises you can incorporate to help you.
Because yoga is a low-impact exercise, you may be able to practice daily, but this isn’t going to work for everyone. Do what feels right for you. And if you find yourself practicing more than once daily, it’s probably too much.
You Have Unrealistic Goals
We all have images of the stereotypical “yoga body,” but stereotypes need not apply to real life. It’s important to set realistic expectations when you start your practice, so you’re not holding yourself to unrealistic goals.
Especially if you have health issues or limitations, be kind to yourself when setting your own expectations. And it will serve the community well to leave any judgments at the door.
Everyone can benefit from yoga, and on our journey, we’ll encounter people in all stages of life. You may set up your mat next to a raw vegan yogi who has been practicing for a decade or more. And on the other side, you may see someone recovering from drug addiction, with the effects of meth on the body, mind and spirit. These are good reminders that we shouldn’t judge our own path any more than we should judge others.
In addition to taking too many classes, you might actually be taking classes that are too advanced for your skill level. Or you may be taking too many intense classes when you would benefit from a more calming, restorative session.
In yoga, it’s not about gains. We’re here to practice mindfulness and experience the mind-body connection while experiencing many health benefits that come along with this exercise. But if you’re looking for quick advancement or muscle gain, you may want to try a different exercise.
Yoga is about the slow and steady journey towards a strong mind and body. And if you feel like you’re in a race to beat someone, you might benefit from a mindset shift. This practice is definitely not about competition.
It’s also good to remember that, at its core, yoga isn’t about appearances. It’s easy to get caught up in the trendy activewear, but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s all about how you feel. When you’re done, do you feel calm and in good spirits? If so, that’s a win.
You Aren’t Focused on Core Strength
The basis of many asanas is core strength, and if you don’t have it, you’re going to struggle to keep your balance and hold the pose. If you think core strength is an issue for you, try fitting in some ab workouts on days you don’t have a yoga class. Core strength is essential for maintaining good posture, and this will help with virtually every pose as well.
You Forgot About Mindfulness
Mindfulness is all about living in the present moment. And when you’re worried about how quickly you’re progressing, your mind is kind of all over the place. You think about how long you’ve been practicing, you’re comparing yourself to others, and then you look to the future to figure out when you might improve.
The beauty of Mindfulness is knowing that you are perfect in the here and now. So, ultimately, if your yoga routine isn’t improving as you want, you might need to start practicing more mindfulness techniques.
Yoga is a journey, not a destination. And if you’re just starting out, it’s important to give yourself some room to learn and grow. Only then can you really advance your form and technique, and that’s when you’ll see the real benefits of yoga.