The same is true of learning what not to do while working out. While certified personal trainers and physical therapists can suggest general movements and habits to avoid, it’s especially motivating when you can take advice from someone fully versed in your specific modality of choice.
With that in mind, today we’re here to home in on yoga. To help you get the most out of your vinyasa, Y7 yoga instructor Jo Murdock shares the top four things she never does once she steps on her mat.
4 Things I *Never* Do While in a Vinyasa Flow
1. I don’t add chaturanga until halfway through
As a refresher, chaturanga is essentially a plank held at the lowest point of a push-up. Like classic push-ups, chaturanga fires up the entire body, but especially the shoulders. It’s because of this that Murdock waits to incorporate the movement into her flow. “I know that my shoulders are not warm enough to support me so instead I will take a plank pose for a few breaths and then down dog,” she shares.
2. I don’t allow negative talk
Although the name itself may imply a simple, soothing practice, a vinyasa flow can actually be quite difficult. As such, it helps to be your own biggest cheerleader on the mat. “If I am not balancing well or I’m struggling with my breathing and I start to get frustrated,” Murdock says, “I pause and check my internal monologue and make sure it’s motivating and celebrating myself for simply getting on the mat today.”
3. I don’t move until I’m ready
Many vinyasa classes are accompanied by music and, as a result, the movement follows the beat. That said, Murdock says to never let it dictate the pace of your flow. “I never move into the next posture until I feel ready,” she says. “It’s easy to want to keep up with the room and move as fast as the teacher teaches, but it won’t benefit my practice if I’m not grounded and listening to my body first.”
4. I don’t scan the room
Murdock reminds us just how beneficial it is to stay tuned into ourselves. “I avoid looking around while I flow; I’ve found that it makes me anxious in my practice and that it causes me to be a bit self-conscious about what I need at that moment,” she shares. “I like to add my own variations to support my body, and if I look around I sometimes start to feel like I’m the student who doesn’t listen, when in reality I am listening—I’m just listening to my body first and the teacher second.”