Make this common beginner yoga mistake at your own peril!
You may be inspired by a model in a yoga magazine. You may be impressed with how your yoga teacher looks practicing yoga poses. The pictures in yoga books, like-wise may impress and inspire you. So far so good.
Don’t try to look like the photos in a magazine or a yoga book. Don’t even try to look like your yoga instructor.
Here is why.
Everybody has a different body. Most of us understand that the more we practice yoga, the stronger and more flexible we can become. However, what most people don’t realize is that not everyone, no matter how much they practice, will all be able to achieve the same positions.
I know it may sound blasphemous. It may sound undemocratic. But, it is the truth.
There are three bio-mechanical reasons behind this truth.
Here are some examples of different types of body proportions and combinations:
- Long arms – short legs
- Long legs – short arms
- Long or short torso
You get the idea. One person with a short torso and long arms sitting crossed leg on the floor will easily be able to touch the floor with their hand. Another person with a long torso and short arms may not even be able to get their finger tips to the floor. It has nothing to do with strength, flexibility or even practice. It simply is a fact.
With this in mind you can begin to see how some poses will be easier for some than others; how one person can move into a Side Angel Pose with a straight spine and touch the floor with one hand and another person would need to round there spine and bend their knee more to get anywhere as close.
You can now look at many other poses and see the upside or downside of different body proportions, for any particular pose. The good news is that if you work with your body as it is and don’t try to force it to be like someone else’s body, you get the same yoga benefits from your practice.
2. Bone positions
The shape of everyone’s bones are not all alike. This is even true for other body structures and their exact placement within one’s body. The most important one for yoga students to realize is the difference in hip joints. The shape of our femur (thigh bone), varies greatly. What also varies greatly is the hip socket where the femur inserts into the pelvis, creating the hip joint. The bio-mechanics of the hip can result in these range of motion possibilities:
- Ample turn-in. Ability to easily rotate your leg inward such as needed in supt-vajrasana.
- Limited turn-in. Some one with limited turn-in may not be able to practice supta-vajrasana with out compromising their knees.
- Ample turn-out. This is the movement needed for Lotus pose.
- Limited turn-out. Trying to force Lotus with limited turn-out could blow out your knee.
Some people have ample range in both directions or just one. Others have limited range in both directions or just one.
3. Mobility Constitutions
There are three general categories that people fall into:
- Hyper-mobile. This is the person who has loose joints and muscles and has the best chance at getting a job at the circus.
- Mobile. This person has average range of motion.
- Hypo-mobile. This person is the one that may only be able to touch their toes in their wildest dreams.
Which category best describes you?
Now you can be the smart student and avoid this common beginner yoga mistake. Instead of trying to look like someone else, look like you. It’s the truthful, non-egoic, safe way to practice yoga. It is yoga.
Yoga is finding your higher-self, not someone else’s. If you are looking for a kind, supportive online yoga community, you may appreciate Zenward. Check out this introductory video of the company below:
Do you know of another beginner yoga mistake? If so, please share with us in the comment section below!