Moment-to-moment awareness is key for yoga, both for safety and to get the maximum benefit from the practice. Notice when you are thinking about something else—like your to do list for your job tasks. It’s okay when that happens, but try shifting your attention back to the physical areas where you feel the most sensation.
Breathe into those sensations to come back to presence. Breathing fully through poses also helps your body function optimally, ensuring safety. Lastly, pay particular attention when transitioning into and out of poses. Transition slowly into the pose in order to double check that you are warmed up enough to safely do the pose.
Honor what your body needs to prepare for the practice.A lot of injuries occur from not properly warming the muscles up to prepare for the practice. Some people need more warm up time of gentle movements than others (for example, as we age, we tend to need more time)
Avoid seeing Yoga as a competition— even with yourself
Yoga is not a competitive sport. Going beyond your limits makes you a prime candidate for an injury. Furthermore, one of the benefits of Yoga practice is the inward focus and sense of peace it brings; competition is a perfect antidote for inner peace. If you find yourself comparing yourself to the people around you during a Yoga class, bring your attention back to your own body and mind.
Challenge yourself, don’t strain yourself
Whichever style of Yoga you choose, remember that Yoga is a “work-in,” not just a workout. While the more athletic forms of Yoga can be physically challenging as well as meditative, you need to find the line for you between challenge and strain — and then don’t cross it.
Give yourself the benefit of time and allow Yoga to unfold
Nowhere is it written that you must master certain Yoga postures to have a thriving and beneficial Yoga practice. If you hold on to an image of what a Yoga posture or practice should look like and push through regardless of warning signs that your breath and body are giving you, you’re bound to hurt yourself.
If you approach your practice with dedication and focus, as well as some loving-kindness for yourself, you can experience the benefits Yoga offers, regardless of which postures work for your body or how your posture looks when compared to the beautiful models on the covers of the popular Yoga magazines.