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Beginner Yoga Problems—Solved!

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Complaint: My Knees Hurt

    Often, yoga newbies complain of knee sensitivity due to multiple poses that require you to place the bulk of your weight on your knees.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Solution: Use Props!

    Try folding up your mat under your knee (pictured), using more than one mat, or putting a yoga blanket or thick towel (or even a thin pillow) under your knees.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Complaint: My Wrists Are Sore!

    If your first few yoga classes leave your wrists feeling sore, your wrist placement may be to blame. This is the most common mistake I see in new students.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Solution: Nail Your Wrist Placement

    To find proper wrist placement, come to all fours. Place wrists directly underneath shoulders and make sure wrist creases are parallel. Spread fingers and press into the knuckles of forefinger and thumb. This placement will alleviate pressure on your wrists. Your hands stay in this position in every down dog, plank, chaturanga, and arm balance.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Complaint: I Feel Weak In Down Dog

    When people are new to yoga, the inclination is to hold down dog very much in the shoulders. This isn't proper form, so it causes your shoulders to tire out very quickly and keeps you from reaping the benefits the pose was meant to give.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Solution: Fix Your Form

    Begin on all fours. Tuck toes and lift hips high, reaching sits bones towards the ceiling. Reach heels back toward the mat. Drop head so that neck is long, and reach chest back between arms toward thighs. Wrist creases stay parallel to the front edge of the mat. Press into the knuckles of forefingers and thumbs to alleviate pressure from wrists.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Complaint: My Shoulders Are Tight After Yoga

    Don't get trapped in your traps! We are so conditioned to have our shoulders up by our ears with stress that when we do our first down dogs, our shoulders remain at our ears. And when your shoulders are working, they get even tighter.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Solution: Shrug It Off

    In down dog, shrug shoulders all the way up to ears. That's where you don't want to be. Release them down, as far away from ears as possible. To take this a step further, see if you can widen through your armpits by rotating your upper arms slightly inward while keeping your shoulders down your back. This will create space in your shoulders throughout your yoga practice, and condition them to stay in their place!

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Complaint: I Can't Do Seated Forward Bends

    Come time for seated forward bends, yoga teachers will inevitably will see one or two people in class glare at you and not even try. Most often this is due to a lack of flexibility in the lower back or the hamstrings.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Solution: Bend Your Knees

    If you have a tight lower back, try doing your seated forward bends on a yoga block (or a firm pillow or blanket or towel). If it's your hamstrings causing the problem, put a slight bend in your knees and un-flex your feet—both of these things will alleviate pressure and allow you to go deeper into your forward bend.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Complaint: I Overstretched My Hamstrings

    This is the yoga butt no one wants to have: a sharp shooting pain in your derrière that can shoot down the side of your leg (no, it's not sciatica, but if left untreated, the pain level can come close). This condition can arise from jamming your hamstrings straight early on in a yoga practice, which causes your hamstring to overstretch.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Solution: Don't Lock Out Your Legs

    Be very careful not to straighten your legs all the way in down dog or forward bends, especially at the beginning of your practice. Instead, keep a slight bend in your knees (as pictured).


Heidi Kristoffer

Heidi Kristoffer is the creator and producer of Microsoft Bing Fitness Yoga & MSN Yoga, creator of CrossFlowX, wellness expert for multiple online platforms, and mama to baby twin girls.  More →

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