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Yoga has become one of the most popular forms of exercise and for many, a way of life. Helping to not only keep you toned and flexible, yoga can also lower the blood pressure, decrease stress levels and provide an inner calmness. Yet as popular as it has become, it is surprising just how many mistakes are made when people are practising the most common poses. Below you’ll discover 5 of the most common poses you could be doing completely wrong.
1. Downward Dog
The downward dog is one of the most basic yoga poses and it is performed in all styles of yoga. It stretches the long muscles of the body and acts as a resting posture in flow yoga sequences. It is actually really easy to get this one wrong as your arms can end up too far away or too close to your feet. If you do have your arms too close or too far away it will put a lot of pressure onto the hips, shoulders and wrists.
In order to achieve the perfect downward dog position, first get yourself into the plank pose. Your wrists should be under your shoulders. Now all you have to do is press the hips backwards without moving your feet or your hands.
Looking at the plank pose it seems pretty simple. However, there’s a tendency to either allow the hips to sag towards the floor, or raise the buttocks up towards the ceiling. What you need to be focusing on is a nice straight line. Your head and heels should really be parallel to the floor. If you do it wrong you could be placing a lot of pressure on the back. When done correctly the plank pose really strengthens the core muscles throughout the body.
3. Standing Forward Fold
The most common mistake made with the standing forward fold is bending from the waist. It is really important that you bend from the hips. If you don’t, you’ll end up struggling to breathe and put a lot of pressure on the discs of the spine.
4. Low Lunge
The low lunge will help to strengthen the legs and tone the buttocks when done correctly. However, again this is an easy one to get wrong. The knee should be directly over the ankle, not behind or in front of it. If you continually do it wrong you could end up damaging your knee over time.
5. Fish pose
The fish pose helps increase your breathing capacity and releases stress. The hands should be by your buttocks or the hips. The elbows should not be too close to the shoulders. If they are you will struggle to get your head onto the floor. You also need to point the toes and engage the thighs by pressing through the heels.
The best way to break your bad habits is to attend a yoga class. The teacher will be able to see if you’re doing it right or not. However, if you’re doing the poses at home there are numerous videos you can watch to get an idea of how each of the poses should look.