An old friend asked me what is yoga? Her interpretation was ‘People twisting and turning their bodies like pretzels while chanting and sitting like a statue’. Is that what it really is? I took this question as an opportunity to explain what yoga is and what are its basic dos and don’ts.
What is Yoga?
It 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.
The ability to remain in relaxed equilibrium has an important psychological effect. For the basics on yoga and what it is, you can check out this blog: Yoga for the beginners: some myths and benefits
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 in.
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 dos and don’ts which we often tend to neglect.
What You Should Do
- “Early to bed and early to rise makes man healthy, wealthy and wise,” is an universal adage. Yoga practitioners should go to bed early, sleep well and get up early in the morning. Next, attend to their morning routine of freshening up and begin 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 it before bath but after practice one should wait for some time and then take a bath.
- It 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 you can receive the rays of the early morning sun.
- One should not practice it directly on the ground, on cement or mortar floor. Instead, spread a carpet, a blanket or a clean cloth, sit on it and 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 it everyday, preferably at the same time.
- While practicing yoga, one should concentrate on the practice alone and try to keep away from other thoughts.
- During the practice of asanas, the dirt in the internal organs of the body is directed towards the urinary bladder. Soon after completion, one should pass out urine.
- If you feel like attending nature’s call while practicing, go ahead and do it immediately. One should not hold it back forcefully for a long time. One should also not try to suppress sneezing, coughing, etc. If one feels thirsty one can drink a little water as well.
- If one sweats during 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.
- 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.
What You Should Avoid
- Women should refrain from regular practice during their menses or pregnancy. However, for them there are specific set of asanas that can be performed.
- 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 practice.
- During illness, after operations, when there is a bandage either for sprains or fractures, one should refrain from practice. They can resume after consulting experts.
- Don’t perform strenuous exercises after yoga.
- One should avoid practice in unclean/smoky places and in areas with foul smell
- Yoga should not be practiced in stormy winds either
Just knowing the asanas in its correct form along with the basic knowledge of Dos and Don’ts would add much more value to your yoga practice!
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