Vinyasa flow yoga classes can sometimes move at a quick, steady pace, especially during the warm up. Since they’re usually mixed level classes, teachers might not spend the time to explain the poses and transitions in-depth. The great thing about these types of classes is that they can serve as both a good workout and a nice stretch. However, when students move in and out of poses quickly, alignment can be compromised, increasing the chance for yoga-related injuries. Follow these simple tips for making sure that you’re doing these classes with caution and ease.
Most Common Mistakes in Standing Postures
One of the most common mistakes we see when students do standing poses is the overextension of the front knee in high lunge, low lunge, warrior 1 and warrior 2. This comes from not stepping the front foot far enough forward. The deeper your lunge, the better the alignment for the front knee. When the knee goes beyond the ankle, you create strain in the knee. Try to align the joints so the knee is directly over the ankle. It’s also important to have the front foot completely straight without a “turn out” or “pigeon toed” effect. Keeping the front foot straight will also help with that knee/ankle alignment.
Keep the Core Engaged in Almost Every Move
Having your core engaged will support your back, give you more stability and better alignment. When we let our bellies sag, the low back becomes vulnerable, and that’s not what we want while we’re moving in and out of postures in vinyasa flow yoga classes. Keep the belly drawn in towards the spine and create a lift from the pelvic floor, similar to kegal exercises. This is also something you want to do throughout the day while standing in line, walking, and even sitting. It’s a great way to release stress on the low back and prevent discomfort.
Blocks Make Vinyasa Flow Yoga Classes More Accessible
Use blocks for standing poses such as pyramid, standing splits, half moon and other poses that require hamstring flexibility. Putting your hands on blocks will help you achieve better alignment in the legs and give you more leeway for going deeper into the posture in a safe way. Yoga blocks can be set at three different heights so don’t be afraid to go higher or even use several blocks to achieve the most comfortable support for the pose.
Keep the Ego Out of Your Practice
Most injuries in vinyasa flow yoga classes come from the ego. Newer students are eager to copy the teacher or the most advanced students in the class and they end up trying to do things their bodies aren’t ready for doing. Be patient, take your time, don’t force yourself to do things that don’t feel good. Yoga is a life long practice that evolves with time and effort. Leave your ego at the door and don’t worry about “getting there,” just enjoy the journey.
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