An old friend asked me what is yoga? Her interpretation of people doing yoga was thus- people twisting and turning their bodies like pretzels, chanting and sitting like a statue, Is that Yoga ?
Well, I took this question as an opportunity to explain to my friend as well as many others about what is yoga and what are its basic dos and don’ts by writing this simple blog. My colleague Parwage has already written a piece yesterday on Yoga for the beginners: some myths and benefits and therefore will not delve deep into what is yoga. For novices however I will explain again that YOGA is a system- a holistic system of refining the body, the mind and the spirit in unison. Ultimately, it is well-being, peace and bliss. Yogic postures help strengthen the endocrine system and also bring the emotions under control through concentration and relaxation. This ability to remain in relaxed equilibrium has an important psychological effect.
Yogis, through their physical training, gradually learn to keep their psychological equilibrium unaltered to preserve a perfect psychological calmness in whatever environment they happen to find themselves. Yoga is the only way by which the highest objective in life can be attained. To decipher the great science and the benefits which it claims, it is essential to understand few basic do’s and don’t of YOGA which we often tend to neglect.
- “Early to bed and early to rise makes man healthy, wealthy and wise” is a universal adage. Yoga practitioners should go to bed early, have a sound sleep and get up early in the morning, attend to nature’s call, wash the mouth and teeth thoroughly, take bath and start yoga in fasting mode. It can also be practiced 1 hour after a liquid diet, 3 hours after refreshments or 5 hours after full meals.
- One could practice yoga even before bath but, after practice one should wait for some time and then take a bath.
- Yoga should be practiced on a leveled floor in a room where doors and windows are kept open for air and light.
- It is helpful in many ways to practice yoga in a place, where morning tender sunrays fall.
- One should not practice yoga directly on ground, on cement or mortar floor. One should spread a carpet, a blanket or a clean cloth, sit on it and start yoga practice by facing east or north in the morning, west or south in the evening
- One should practice yoga calmly without any haste or exhaustion. If one is tired he or she should rest for a while in a comfortable posture.
- One should try to practice yoga everyday regularly, preferably at the same time.
- While practicing yoga, one should concentrate on yoga alone and try to keep away the other thoughts.
- During the practice of Yoga asanas, the dirt in the internal organs of the body is directed towards the urinary bladder, So soon after completing yoga, one should pass out the urine.
- During yoga practice, if anyone feels to attend nature’s call, he must go and attend to it immediately. One should not hold it back forcefully for a long time. One should also not try to suppress sneezing, cough etc. If one feels thirsty one can drink a little water as well.
- If one sweats during yoga practice, he or she should slowly wipe it out either by a cloth or with the palms. It is better if it dries up automatically in the air.
- Pranayama should follow the asanas and meditation should follow Pranayama.
- Always lay on your back after finishing postures. 2 to 5 minutes with relaxed breathing.
- Movements should be slow in every case. Sudden movements should be avoided.
- Women should refrain from regular yoga practice during their menses or pregnancy. However, for them there are specific set of asanas to be done.
- Don’t have a full tummy while doing yoga, wait until 2 to 3 hours after large meals.
- Don’t touch (shower) or drink water for 30 minutes after doing yoga.
- During illness, after operations, when there is a bandage either for sprains or fractures, one should refrain from Yoga Practice. They can resume yoga after consulting experts.
- Don’t do strenuous exercises after yoga.
- One should not practice yoga in unclean/smoky place and in areas with foul smell
- Yoga should not be practiced in storm winds either
Just knowing the asanas in its correct form along with the basic knowledge of DO’s and DON’Ts would add much more value to your YOGA !!