When people begin practicing yoga, they may desire to push themselves harder than they really should. With phrases like “no pain, no gain” a part of common culture, beginners frequently look at more advanced students and attempt poses they are not ready to master. Doing so puts stress on the body and can cause real injury. In yoga, when the muscles begin to strain, the body should take that as a sign to stop. Slowly, beginning yogis will build the strength and flexibility needed to achieve more advanced poses. In yoga, it is important to listen to the body and respect its limits.
All yoga postures are integrated, making it imperative to master fundamental poses before attempting more difficult ones. The fundamental poses build the stability and flexibility needed for more complex poses.
For that reason, beginners should stick to introductory classes rather than taking whatever class fits their schedule. Practitioners can always talk to an instructor about their level and decide when they are ready to advance to intermediate classes. Taking an intermediate class too soon can encourage yogis to attempt poses that they are not ready for, especially when most other students in the class seem to flow into them without much of a struggle. This flow results from practice and dedication.