The day we finally figured out how to do crow pose was one for the books. But that doesn’t mean we’re yoga experts or anything. That’s why we checked in with some of our favorite yogis to find out what they avoid doing in their practice in order to make the most out of our own. Namaste.
1. Anything painful. “While you might face resistance in a yoga pose such as hip or shoulder openers, you should never stay in a pose that causes pain including pinching or burning,” says Jessica Palmer, owner of The Yogic Body Studio Co. This is one tip that you definitely want to keep in mind, since trying to push your body when it doesn’t want to be pushed could have some serious consequences. “When you fail to listen to these cues from your body, you are more prone to injury in your yoga practice,” she says. Yikes.
2. Wear shoes or socks. “Yoga requires you to stretch from the tips of your fingers to the tips of your toes,” explains Kaya Health Clubs instructor Jemma Masters. “If you are in shoes with a hard sole that doesn’t bend, then you will not be able to stretch and flex your feet, which is important in order to complete a yoga class effectively.” And wearing socks could cause you to slip and hurt yourself. But if you absolutely must cover your feet, make sure to opt for special non-slip socks, she says.
3. Skip Savasana. Great news—our favorite pose is a must-do, according to hot yoga instructor Steph Ottomanelli. “Savasana is essentially the most important asana [pose] in your practice,” she tells us. “It allows your mind to calm and body surrender to the earth supporting you, learning to be still and one with yourself and the divine.” You don’t have to tell us twice.
4. Eat a burger and fries before class. But you knew this one already, right? “I would never eat a big meal before yoga because it would weigh you down and alter your ability to move well and connect to your core,” says certified physical therapist and yoga instructor Lara Heimaan.
5. Forgo props. “Anyone who thinks that props are a crutch or for beginners only is missing a great opportunity to create space in your body while you practice,” says Madeline Hickman from CorePower Yoga. So go ahead, grab that block without any shame.
6. Drink water. Look, we usually reach for a bottle of H20 during practice, too. But apparently, this may be holding us back. “Drinking water quickly cools the internal heat you're diligently building using your breath, bandhas (energetic locks), and asana,” says Sara Intonato from SaraYoga. “This heat is crucial to healing, cleansing and opening the body, so drinking during yoga actually inhibits the healing power of your practice.” Duly noted.
7. Check social media before class. Certified Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher Amy Leefe Jones would never scroll through Instagram before starting her practice. “Before I teach, I want to feel connected to, and appreciation for, myself.” And checking out your feed can leave you feeling less than or not good enough. “That's the last thing I want for myself prior to teaching and I wouldn't encourage it for my students either.”