General Guidelines for Yoga Practice – Health Tips
A Yoga practitioner should follow the guiding principles given below while performing Yogic practices:
HOW YOGA CAN HELP
Yoga is essentially a path to liberation from all bondage. However, medical research in recent years has uncovered many physical and mental benefits that Yoga offers, corroborating the experiences of millions of practitioners.
A small sampling of research shows that:
- It is beneficial for physical fitness, musculus skeletal functioning and cardio-vascular health.
- It is beneficial in the management of diabetes, respiratory disorders, hypertension, hypo-tension and many lifestyle related disorders.
- Yoga helps to reduce depression, fatigue, anxiety disorders and stress.
- It regulates menopausal symptoms.
- In essence, this is a process of creating a body and mind that are stepping-stones, not hurdles, to an exuberant and fulfilling life.
BEFORE THE PRACTICE
- Śauca means cleanliness – an important prerequisite for Yogic practice. It includes cleanliness of surroundings, body and mind.
- Yogic practice should be performed in a calm and quiet atmosphere with a relaxed body and mind.
- Yogic practice should be done on an empty stomach or light stomach. Consume small amount of honey in lukewarm water if you feel weak.
- Bladder and bowels should be empty before starting Yogic practices.
- A mattress, Yoga mat, durrie or folded blanket should be used for the practice.
- Light and comfortable cotton clothes are preferred to facilitate easy movement of the body.
- Yoga should not be performed in state of exhaustion, illness, in a hurry or in acute stress conditions.
- In case of chronic disease/ pain/ cardiac problems, a physician or a Yoga therapist should be consulted prior to performing Yogic practices
- Yoga experts should be consulted before doing Yogic practices during pregnancy and menstruation.
DURING THE PRACTICE
- Practice sessions should start with a prayer or invocation as it creates a conducive environment to relax the mind
- Yogic practices shall be performed slowly, in a relaxed manner, with awareness of the body and breath.
- Do not hold the breath unless it is specially mentioned to do so during the practice
- Breathing should be always through the nostrils unless instructed otherwise
- Do not hold body tightly, or jerk the body at any point of time.
- Perform the practices according to your own capacity.
- It takes some time to get good results, so persistent and regular practice is very essential.
- There are contra-indications/ limitations for each practice and such contra-indications should always be kept in mind.
- Session should end with meditation/ deep silence / Śhānti paṭha.
- Bath may be taken only after 20-30 minutes of practice.
- Food may be consumed only after 20-30 minutes of practice.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A few dietary guidelines can ensure that the body and mind are flexible and well-prepared for practice.
A vegetarian diet is usually recommended, and for a person over 30 years, two meals a day should suffice, except in cases of illness or very high physical activity or labor.