Yoga is a great way to work on your flexibility and strength. Just about everyone can do it, too — it’s not just for people who can touch their toes or want to meditate. Some types of yoga are about relaxation. In others, you move more. Most types focus on learning poses, called asanas. They also usually include attention to breathing.
Sure, you could just go to the gym to exercise, but yoga is much more than just a physical workout. Besides increasing flexibility and physical strength, yoga also produces a calm, clear mind and can help balance and free the emotions. A consistent yoga practice can bring the suppleness of youth back into your body and help you learn to focus your physical and mental energy more effectively and thereby be more vital, creative, and efficient in all your activities.
Yoga has a calming effect on your nervous system. As you move your body through poses that require balance and concentration, your focus is naturally drawn away from your busy, chaotic day and onto your present, peaceful movement. One of the many reasons to do yoga is that it will make you feel great. It re-energizes you.
Most people have so many questions when they first come to yoga that they don’t know where to begin. Here, we offer up some of the most common questions and answers.
People with fractured bones or who are suffering from an acute infection or a backache, or chronic ailments and diseases such as stomach ulcer, tuberculosis, cardiac problems or a hernia, and those recuperating from operations, should consult a competent yoga teacher or doctor before commencing asanas.
2. Yoga during Pregnancy?
Many asanas are helpful during pregnancy, but it is important to check with a doctor or competent yoga teacher prior to practicing. Do not starin. Do not use inverted asanas in the later stage of pregnancy.
3. Age limitations for yoga?
Asanas may be practiced by people of all age groups, male and female.
4. Empty the bowels
Before commencing the astana program, the bladder and intestines should preferably be empty.
5. Empty stomach
The stomach should be empty while doing asanas and to ensure this, they should not be practiced until at least three or four hours after food. One reason why early morning practice is recommended is that the stomach is sure to be empty.
Try to take a cold shower before starting. This will greatly improve the efficiency of the asanas.
7. Which time is best for yoga practice?
Asanas may be practiced at any time of day except after meals. The best time, however, is the two hours before and including sunrise. This period of the day is known in Sanskrit as Brahmamuhurta, the most conducive time for higher yogic practices, when the atmosphere is pure and quite, the activities of the stomach and intestines have stopped, the mind has no deep impression on the conscious level and is empty of thoughts. The practitioner will probably find that the muscles are stiffest early in the morning compared to the late afternoon when they become more supple. Nevertheless, this time is recommended for practice. In the evening the two hours around sunset is also a favorable time.
8. Where to do yoga practices?
Practice in a well-ventilated room where it is calm and quiet. Asanas may also be practiced outdoors, but the surrounding should be pleasant. Do not practice in a strong wind, in the cold, in the air that is dirty, smoky or which carries an unpleasant odor.
Use a folded blanket of natural material or yoga mat for practice as this will act as an insulator between the body and the earth. Do not use a mattress which is spongy or filled with air as this does not give sufficient support to the spine.
10. What to wear during yoga practices?
During practice, it is better to wear loose, light and comfortable clothing. Before commencing remove spectacles, wristwatch and any jewelry.
11. Breathing pattern during yoga?
Always breathe through the nose unless specific instructions are given to the contrary.
Awareness in this context may be understood as consciously noting sensations in the body, the physical movement, the posture itself, breathing pattern and synchronization, movement of prana, concentration on an area of the body or chakra and most importantly, witnessing any thoughts or feelings that may arise during the practice. Implicit in the concept of awareness is the acceptance of any thought or feeling which comes uninvited to the mind. This awareness is essential in order to receive maximum benefits from the practices.
13. Must do Relaxation
Relaxation is very important, relax your body after each asana for 4-5 seconds. There should be always a little gap between two asanas.
14. No straining
Never exert undue force while doing asanas. Beginners may find their muscles stiff at first, but after several weeks of regular practice, they will be surprised to find that their muscles are more supple.
15. When to terminate yoga asana?
If there is excessive pain in any part of the body, the asana should be terminated immediately and, if necessary, medical advice sought. Do not stay in an asana if discomfort is felt.
16. Diet for yogis?
There are no special dietary rules for asana practitioners, although it is better to eat natural food and in moderation. Contrary to popular belief, yoga does not a day that a vegetarian is recommended. At meal times it is advised to half fill the stomach with food, one quarter with water and leave the remaining quarter empty. Eat only to satisfy hunger and not so much that a feeling of heaviness or laziness occurs. Eat to live rather than live to eat. Food which causes acidity or gas in the digestive system, which is heavy, oily and spicy, should be avoided, especially when asanas are practiced with a spiritual aim.
17. Counterpose/ complimentary pose
The concept of counterpose is necessary to bring the body back to a balanced state. When practicing the middle and advanced group of asanas particularly, it is important that the program is structured so that backward bends are followed by forward bends and vice-versa, and that whatever is practiced on one side of the body is repeated on the other side.
18. Who will not perform Inverted asanas?
People with heart problems, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, glaucoma, an active ear infection or any disease of the brain should refrain from inverted postures. Those with cervical problems should not practice postures where neck is weight bearing.
Therefore, Yoga has endless benefits and no harm. It’s a way of life and you should practice yoga every day for a healthy mind and body!
Have more queries? Feel free to contact us or leave your question in the comments!
Bhakti D MBA in HR and Finance who found her love and passion in cooking and writing. She enjoys experimenting new recipes as much as enjoy playing with her son, she also brings her expertise as a parent and a qualified professional to WSL