Six Common Yoga Poses That People Do Incorrectly


Doing yoga poses correctly allows us to create space in our bodies and unblock stuck or stagnant energy. When energy flows freely, we invite transformation and healing into ourselves. When we do poses incorrectly, we lose out on the opportunity to receive the full physical and psychological benefits of a pose.

Here are six common yoga poses that I’ve witnessed many people in my classes do incorrectly. If you have been doing one or some of these poses incorrectly, notice the difference in how you feel when you get them right.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Don’t: Allow shoulders to come up to the ears. Slide shoulder blades down the back and keep collarbone wide. Think of growing taller by keeping neck long and reaching the crown of your head towards the sky.

Do: Evenly root your feet into the mat by spreading your toes and grounding the ball of the big toe, base of baby toe, inner and outer heels, lift up on inner arches. Engage your quadriceps by drawing them upward and rotate thighs inward.

Benefits: Tadasana improves posture, and strengthens knees, ankles and thighs.

Pashimottinasana (Seated Forward Bend)

Don’t: Round your back as you fold forward. Instead, evenly ground your sitting bones into the floor, which promotes lengthening of the spine as you hinge at your hips. This stretches the entire spine.

: Ground your heels into the floor allowing big toes to touch and toes to point up towards the ceiling, this stretches the hamstrings as you fold forward.

Benefits: Seated Forward Bend improves concentration and calms the mind.

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist Pose)

Don’t: Lead the twist with your shoulders. Twist from your abdomen; as a result you tone your abdominal muscles, nourish your organs and twist out unwanted toxins from the body.

Do: Evenly ground both sitting bones and work on lengthening the spine as you twist; this helps strengthen the spine and gives you a healthy back.

Benefits: Half Spinal Twist Pose stretches the hips, neck and shoulders and rejuvenates the digestive process.

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)

Don’t: Allow shoulders to come up to the ears. Firm shoulder blades into the back as you reach your arms up. This strengthens the shoulders and arms and back muscles.

Do: Keep hips squared by internally rotating your back leg. By firmly anchoring the heel and outer edge of your back foot into the floor, it will help the internal rotation of your back leg. Also, lengthen your tailbone towards the floor, which will help prevent any compression in lower back.

Benefits: Warrior I stretches the groins, thighs, calves, ankles, shoulders, chest and neck.

Plank Pose

Don’t: Allow your hips to raise or sink. Form one line from the crown of your head to the heels of your feet. Push through the heels of your feet keeping your whole body energized.

Do: Bring your shoulders over your wrists and keep your chest up, push the floor away from you engaging core muscles.

Benefits: Plank pose strengthens your wrists, arms, shoulders, spine and back and develops core strength.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Don’t: Let your thighs splay out; keep them parallel to each other. This engages and energizes your legs, helps open up the chest, lengthening hip flexors and stretches the back body.

Do: Roll your shoulders under and away from your ears. This promotes stretching of the chest, neck and spine.

: Bridge Pose also stimulates abdominal organs, lungs and thyroid and improves digestion.

Michelle Uy is a certified yoga teacher and owner of LoveActionYoga. She is co-creator of the Eat Well, Feel Well Program, a yoga and nutrition program, and she is also certified to teach Yoga Thrive, a therapeutic yoga program for cancer survivors.

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