So you just started practicing yoga. Good for you! It’s amazing, but we were newbies once too, so we feel it’s our duty to warn you about the following five mistakes most rookies make (along with solutions for how to avoid them). Namaste.

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Pushing Through Pain

No pain, no gain, right? Wrong. You might be tempted to push harder in a position that’s causing you pain, but you’re only hurting yourself more by doing so. If you reach a position that doesn’t feel right on your body, be OK with sitting it out, chilling in child’s pose for a second and consulting your teacher afterward.

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Not Breathing

Breathing during yoga allows your muscle fibers to get the oxygen they need to keep going—but it’s not just about breathing; it’s about breathing correctly. Shallow breaths in quick succession will stress you out and take the peace and calmness out of what should be a peaceful and calming activity. Once you learn to let your breath lead you through a pose, it will feel natural, and not like an insurmountable obstacle.

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Comparing Yourself

Except for a lucky few who take to yoga like fish in water, most people find there’s a pretty steep learning curve when beginning their practice. It’s easy to compare yourself to the human pretzel on the mat next to you, but to do so runs pretty counter to yoga’s core teachings. It might be tough, but focus on yourself and your own progress and accept that everyone’s experience with yoga is different.

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Eating Before

A small snack is fine (and even encouraged), but once you enter into meal territory—no matter how healthy—you’ll probably regret it pretty early in class. In addition to being uncomfortable, when your body digests a significant amount of food, your stomach monopolizes your energy, withholding it from your muscles. Instead of a sandwich or big salad, try snacking on a banana with almond butter or an apple and a handful of nuts.

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Giving Up Too Easily

We’re not going to sugarcoat it: Being physically unable to do a pose everyone else is doing is frustrating. But don’t quit. Yoga takes time and practice, which should motivate rather than discourage you. Think about the person in your class you’re constantly sneaking peeks at and picture her in her first class. We bet they struggled with downward-facing dog, too.

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