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While holding any yoga position, it is imperative that you not over exert yourself. Many postures involve advanced levels of flexibility. This does not mean that you cannot approximate these poses if you are not at that advanced level. However, you should perform each pose as accurately as you can, without forcing your body into a painful place. Yoga is meant to be connective and flowing. If your body is in pain during the exercises, you will be off-center and the full benefits of the exercise will be lost.