Guest Post: Top Three Yoga Mistakes with Yogi, Dena Dodd Perry

Yoga is our zen spot and the way we first bonded and became this crazy Batman and Robin style blogging duo.  Yes, we fight crime and do yoga…you didn’t know?  But we definitely have experienced the whole “Am I doing this right?” feeling in class as we overpretzeled ourselves in a twist!  Research shows yoga does help more than harm but proper alignment and those ‘in ‘ class teacher corrections we all love so well are as essential!  Our guest blogger today, Dena Dodd Perry, is helping us out with common yoga pose probs that could mess up our mats.

The light in us honors the light in you Dena…Namaste ;).

Dena Dodd Perry is a yoga teacher as well as a wellness/beauty blogger in the Chicagoland area.  She currently teaches vinyasa, detox and back care centric yoga at the Sanctuary and various retreats in Illinois, New York and Massachusetts.  She is believer, wife and yoga mom of three kids.  Dena has a passion for sharing healthy tips for living a life packed with eco beauty tips, soulful recipes and yoga guides for working women and busy moms of all ages.  She is also a spine surgery survivor and uses yoga for its healing power with specific stretches and sequences.  Dena has worked for many years as a beauty executive and management consultant.  Check out her yoga inspiration on Instagram: @yogashero.


Have you ever wondered what yoga poses are appropriate for your back?  Or, noticed that a certain yoga pose just does not feel comfortable on some days?  Did you know that one of the sutra principles for yoga says that too much of a good thing may be bad for you?  A good analogy might be when driving on the highway towards the sun in your car or truck, you may encounter too much sunshine in your eyes so you might make an adjustment by pulling the sun visor down.  Or, think of people with addictions to money or possessions who become out of balance with their purchases.  Again, excess is often times not a good thing.  So, think of yoga in the same light and modify certain poses when it makes the most sense for your body to prevent an over-extension of your body.

We interviewed over 100 people who have taken yoga as a beginners. We discovered some interesting findings.  Over 76% of our respondents experienced some back pain in their lifetime which is consistent with survey results found at the American Chiropractor Association.

There’s a great article over at Men’s Health that illuminates the seriousness of this habit most everyone has, and how we’re all careening towards lower back tragedies sooner or later.  Lest this all sound depressing, take heart: Exercise, and yoga in particular, can not only erase back pain and lighten the stress on your spine, it can re-structure your body so your lower back curve is supported, healthy, and strong.  What’s more, since yoga lengthens your muscles as well as work them, you won’t end up with a super strong, but too-tight back, another common cause of lumbar problems.  Sitting up a little straighter now?  Secondly, researchers have just found that people who do just three 60-minute sessions of semi-vigorous yoga per week, were 9 years younger on average than non-exercisers.  These results showed much more than just a glowing face; Yoga changes you down to your DNA.  The study found that these exercisers had much longer telomeres, or the aspect of DNA that acts as a marker for aging than people who did not move as much.  These results held for any type of exercise, but yoga goes a step farther than most, by detoxifying the body more efficiently, and stimulating and balancing the endocrine system, which among other things regulates aging, healing, metabolism and immunity.  So, you’ll look younger on the outside, as well as inside!  However, while most enjoy the benefits of yoga with little to no side effects, there are about 20% of those who experienced back pain will get some side effects from very specific common yoga poses.  Like most exercises, some safe precautions should always be maintained.

Sharing is caring.  We created THE TOP 3 YOGA MISTAKES that appear to agitate a form of back pain symptoms called sciatica.  Here, we will discuss the pose that was listed as most frequently causing more intense back pain.  Ironically, this was particularly painful for men.  We believe your boyfriend or husband will really appreciate you sharing this little known secret yoga modification with them before going to their next yoga class.

Here’s how to do one of the 3 yoga poses right to protect yourself from this kind of yoga injury, yet  get the full benefit of this particular yoga pose.




Problem: The elegant dancer-like, half-backbend position can do more harm than good if practiced without a proper warm-up of the lower lumbar muscles and psoas muscles found deeply connected from the front of the hip to the lower back.  This combo pose requires lateral as well as back extension at the same time, whereby dumping more weight and compression from the flip of your dog into one side of the back.  Most people who have compromised their back prior to starting yoga find this asymmetrical pose to be too stressful for the lower back.




Solution: Try a simpler version.  Simply stay in 3-legged dog or stack the hips vertically and hold the pose.  This position allows the spine to remain more symmetrical and stable in 3-legged dog.  Alternatively, stacking the hips while bending the knee opens the hip flexors and the twist of the upper middle back is minimal by comparison to flipping your dog entirely.  Again, core strength and symmetry is key to keeping your back healthy and strong.

Hope you enjoyed this simple yoga modification tip.  For a view of the other two poses and their modifications, please click here for total TOP 3 YOGA MISTAKES that are most injury prone for new yogis.

With Gratitude,

Dena Dodd Perry

500-Certified Yoga Teacher


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