Why practice yoga?
A number of people look at yoga as something they’d like to try, but yet they aren’t convinced that it is worth the time and effort to learn. This attitude is unfortunate because yoga is one of the easiest and best ways to condition the body and mind. As well, it is simple enough for a child to participate in, but deep and rich enough in its various forms to provide a challenge to even the most advanced practitioner.
Here are a number of quick points to mention for those beginners looking for some quick tips and insights about the practice of yoga.
- Yoga does not proscribe adherence to any particular religion
- Yoga aims to provide a holistic approach to live with peace and harmony
- Achieving a healthy body and balanced mind is the primary goal
- It allows practitioners to integrate mind, body and spirit
- Your body will become flexible after a while, which will improve your range of motion to levels you may not have seen since childhood
- Many adherents claim yoga helps to improve confidence, determination and a positive attitude
- It will help you to understand yourself, mind and its nature
- Your physical fitness will improve and help to keep your body from common diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle
- Your emotions are balanced with the regular practice of asanas, whether this is primarily physiological or psychological is up for debate
- The stress accumulated throughout the day is released as the muscles are trained to relax and release tension
- Energy within is restored and mental concentration is gained as the individual becomes more in tune with their own body
- Blood circulation improves and keeps you vibrant throughout your circulatory system
- Yoga is a good way to rejuvenate your body without adding the wear and tear of heavy impact exercises like jogging
Who can practice yoga?
The practice of yoga is not at all based on any religion. For that very reason, anyone can practice yoga. The first requirement to practice yoga is to have passion in learning and practicing yoga. It is recommended to read the books written by good authors. Books published by Bihar School of Yoga, and B.K.S. Iyengar are considered to be the authentic ones for all beginners.
When to practice?
- One who wishes to learn yoga should first start waking up at least before the sunrise.
- Yoga practices gives best results if done in the morning preferably before the sunrise. The reason is that your mind is fresh in the morning.
- Yoga should not be practiced within two hours after taking food.
- After doing yoga, food intake is recommended after half an hour.
- You get more concentration before the thoughts about your daily schedule enters the mind.
While morning is preferable, it is always good to practice according to your convenience, in the morning or in the evening. Choose a time which is not rushed for you. Regular practice is highly recommended to keep progressing. Even if it is for a shorter time, it is a benefit. Do yoga at least 20 minutes per day so that you can experience the benefits.
How to start?
The asanas are primarily categorized as beginner’s level, intermediary and then advanced. Those who wish to practice breathing exercises can do the same without doing the asanas, but if asanas are practiced, the body is relaxed and loosened, becomes flexible and hence easy to sit for the breathing exercises. While asanas can be practiced with the help of a master, breathing exercises can be practiced only under the guidance of a master.
Breathing exercises or Prayanam is something affects the brain directly. It is always recommended to start with the beginner’s poses. Beginner’s poses helps people to gain confidence in a short time. They are also among the best ways to relax the tensions accumulated in the joints. They help you to synchronize between the body and the mind. There are some beginner poses to be practiced every day to make the body loose because usually there is a stiffness felt in the morning.
To get rid of stiffness, some asanas are more helpful than others, but you will have to experiment to find which ones work best for your body. Your focus must be on the body movements and nothing else. The stomach must be empty. Bowels should be evacuated before starting the practice of yoga. Wear loose clothes while practicing…there is no reason to wear tight clothes, like many choose to do, because the goal is to increase your range of motion, not to restrict it with skin tight garments. Use a thick blanket or a yoga mat to keep balanced throughout and away from the cool floor. Hair should be tied up if it is long.
Here are a few additional tips:
- Start with standing asanas – these include basic twisting, forward and backward bends
- DO NOT PUT STRAIN ON YOUR BODY. There is a misconception that the hands should touch the feet or the floor etc. Yoga never demands to put stress on your body. It is through regular practice this can be achieved.
- Choose those asanas which are possible for you in the initial stages.
- One week is enough to see an improvement in your physical and mental state if you practice regularly.
- Beware of yoga classes and videos that make you feel guilty for not overexerting yourself. Yoga is meant to be enjoyable, not painful.
Where to practice?
- A high importance must be given in choosing the place of practice. It is the place where you feel most comfortable to be yourself.
- If you practice at home, you have to choose a room which has good ventilation and is empty and away from disturbing noises.
- Distractions must be minimal in the room so that the mind is focused only on the body movements and the breath.
- Bad smells or any kind of bad odours are not advisable for the place chosen to practice yoga. Some incense or room freshener can help facilitate your yoga practice.
We hope you enjoyed reading our yoga tips for beginners. We realize that this might come as a surprise to you if your only exposure to yoga is through a gym or a video. Yoga in India, which these tips reflect, is of a different nature than a lot of the mass produced yoga tips on the internet. We hope these guidelines help you think critically about your practice of yoga.