Common Yoga practice tips
Specific yoga asanas assist to realign the joints, increase flexibility, restore normal range of motion, and improve overall posture.Asanas also indirectly balance the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, and digestive systems.The systems in the body work as a symbiotic unit, where a positive change in one system usually results in a complimentary change in all the other systems.On the other hand, if asanas are incorrectly practiced, serious complications may result in the systems mentioned above.
AGE LIMITATIONS: Asanas may be practiced by all age groups, male and female.
AWARENESS: Do not practice the yoga asanas mechanically, be aware of your mental and physical state throughout the practice.
CLOTHING: Wear loose, light, non-binding, comfortable clothing; and remove any jewellery, or constricting accessories that may restrict the blood circulation when practicing yoga as the body must bend, twist or move.
CONTRA-INDICATIONS: Avoid yoga practice if you are: experiencing fractured bones, suffering from an acute or chronic ailment or disease, or recuperating from an operation.Consult a primary health care practitioner before commencing asana practice.
CONSULTATION: It is advisable to consult your physician before embarking on the journey of yoga.Find out if your body is physically fit to endure all the asanas.
DIET: There are no special dietary rules for asana practitioners although it is healthier to eat natural fresh foods in moderation.Eat foods that digest and assimilate easily and make the body feel energetic.
DISTRACTIONS: Mute the cellular or telephone during asana practice.It is also helpful to silence the thoughts.
EMPTY STOMACH: Practice at least 2 or 3 hours after consuming food to ensure the stomach is empty.This is one reason why early dawn or dusk practice is recommended.
EMPTYING THE BOWELS: It is helpful to empty the bowels and bladder before commencing the asanas.
FLUID REPLACEMENT: It is very important to drink lot of during, and after yoga practice.
Drink small sips of water at room temperature.
LIMITS: Recognize the limits of the body´s normal range of motion, do not overstretch or force yourself into any asana; do not exceed the body´s capacity.
MAT :The mat prevents the feet, hands, and elbows from slipping and sliding.
The contact friction provided by the mat helps the body stretch further without straining to hold slipping limbs.
The yoga mat can easily be rolled and/or folded for use in various asanas, for travel, or to simply carry to yoga class.
MAT MAINTENANCE: The yoga mat is best maintained by wiping it by hand with a soft cloth with vinegar or mild detergent and warm water.
Top loading washing machines should NOT be used to clean the mat, the mat can be damaged during the spin cycle.
Front loading washing machines may be used if the mat becomes very soiled.
MIRROR: If possible, practice under the direct supervision of a professional teacher, if this is not possible, practice in front of a mirror to maintain proper body positioning.
Be aware of proper joint alignment, especially in the ankle, knee, shoulder, and neck regions.
NO STRAINING: Do not exert undue force or overstretch while practicing asanas.
Beginners may find the muscles stiff at first, but after several weeks of regular practice the muscles become very supple.
PAIN: The yoga routine should be pain free.If any unusual pain or discomfort is felt, please stop and consult a professional.
PLACE OF PRACTICE: Practice in a well-ventilated room where it is calm and quiet.Asanas may also be practiced outdoors in a pleasant surroundings around nature.Do not practice in a strong wind, in the cold, in the direct sun, around polluted air, or near unpleasant odors.
Do not practice in the vicinity of furniture or anything that prevents free fall to the ground, especially while performing inversion asanas.Often accidents occur because of falls against an object.
PREGNANCY: Prenatal Yoga is a perfect time to nourish and positively influence a growing foetus.In the 9 months in the womb followed by the 3 subsequent years with the mother, the child establishes fundamental rhythm, thought, breathing patterns, and a core value system
After this period, the child becomes a product of its ever-changing environment.The sitting asanas is helpful during pregnancy as they stretch open the pelvis, making the delivery process easier.The standing asanas strengthen the legs and thighs, and assist to carry the baby in the womb.
The core and Mula Bandha locks are paramount to practice throughout the day during early pregnancy.
These locks are helpful in recognizing and releasing tension in the pelvic muscles.During labor this practice also helps to relax between contractions and prevent fatigue.During pregnancy, the body produces the hormone ‘relaxin’ which increases flexibility in the ligaments and joints.
Many asanas become easier to practice as the pregnancy progresses.
RELAXATION:REST: After every 2 – 3 asana sequence.This not only rests the body, but also develops awareness of the internal energy patterns, and the mental and emotional processes.
This rest period is as important as the asanas themselves and should not be neglected.
SEQUENCE OF YOGA ASANAS: In the Yoga Series, it is very important that the asanas be practiced in the order described.They are designed in a sequential pattern for a specific reason where one asana leads and prepares the body for the next without causing any injury.
SUNBATHING: Never practice asanas for extended periods under the direct sun or after a long period of sunbathing as the body temperature is overheated.
SWEATING:Use a towel to wipe the sweat dry and change into dry clothing before the relaxation asanas to prevent a chill.
TIME OF PRACTICE: Asanas may be practiced at any time of the day, except after meals.
The activities of digestion have stopped, the mind has no deep impressions on the conscious level, and is relatively empty of thoughts at this time.
Although the muscles are more stiff early in the morning compared to late afternoon, nevertheless, this time has a unique awakening and refreshing experience.
A lemonade drink with sugar and salt is very refreshing and balances the metabolites well.
FREQUENCY: Practice yoga daily, if possible, but no less than three times a week.
Practicing yoga daily is like feeding nutritious food to the body and the mind daily.
The ultimate benefit of yoga arrives when yoga becomes a daily habit in taking care of the body and mind.
As the frequency of practice increases, the mind benefits from stress relief, and the body becomes stronger, more flexible, energetic, and balanced.