Yoga helps build strength and aligns health with inner peace, however, it may do more bad than good if done wrong. If you’re a beginner yoga enthusiast, then you will make many mistakes due to lack of a proper teacher or building a wrong practice routine. But we’re here to break you out of that. All three asanas mentioned correct body alignment, increase core strength and improve your overall posture.
1. Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward-Facing Dog.
Common misconception is that the downward dog stretches the lower limbs and hamstring. But the downward dog engages the spine and multiple muscles in our upper limbs and lower limbs.
In a rush to get into the pose, we put our heels down from the start. This will push your lower back into a convex shape, bringing too much pressure on your hamstrings. This does more harm than good.
To achieve the above posture –
1. Bend your knees, tuck in the tail-bone and then slowly straighten the knees, lifting your body upwards. You will feel a burn in your calves – this is a good thing.
2. Notice the concave shape in the picture? This is the ideal posture – there is intense but safe pressure on the hamstring. The posture is straight, the spine is straighter and the downward dog is complete.
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2. The Ashta Chandrasana or the Crescent Lunge
This asana engages many muscles in the body and helps in alignment. Your shoulders, hips, thighs and toes are all stretched to strengthen the hamstring and improve body posture. So it’s important to practice this asana correctly. Unlike the downward dog, while doing the Ashta Chandrasana, you want to put a good amount of pressure on your hamstrings.
One common mistake is not putting enough pressure on your toes. Resting your heel on the ground causes knees to bend and hips to turn outwards.
Look at the back foot in the above photo – the heel is away from the ground. This is correct. The Correct method is –
1. Straighten your back foot and dig your toes into the mat.
2. Push your knee upwards and lift your heel to create 90 degrees with your foot. Always hold your heel away from the ground.
This keeps your body balanced, elongates muscles in the lower back and stretches your hamstring.
Onto the third one!
3. The Catur Svanasana or the Dolphin Pose
This asana is similar to the downward dog, except you use elbows to hold up your body. It strengthens your forearms, biceps, and opens up your chest.
The most common mistake is the misalignment of shoulders. Your shoulders and ears should never be next to each other. This will bend your back outwards (like in the image below) and make it difficult to tilt your face downwards. This fails the asana because the upper arms are not straight, the back is bent and not aligned with the rest of the body.
It is important to correct this early to avoid making it a habit.
How to get it right?
1. Take a deep breath and slowly push your shoulders towards your hips. Notice in the photo – the back is straight and the head is aligned comfortably and correctly with the back.
2. Keep your shoulders away from your ears – this will open up your chest more. Tightening of shoulders will cramp your neck and push your upper body past your elbows. Look at the image above, your back should be behind your elbows.
It is important that whatever asanas you practice are technically correct. It’s important not to put pressure on yourself to do more, as long as you do it right. Let us know if you found yourself making these mistakes and if this article helped you. Let the Yoga begin!
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