Yoga is not a mere physical movement of body parts but requires the involvement of mind and spirit to reap optimum results. Hence, paying attention to psychological as well as spiritual aspects apart from physical side of it is important when engaging in Yoga. A person in spite of his age who resolves to practice Yoga should be disciplined to engage in sessions of Yoga at least 30 minutes a day regularly without giving up.
Yoga experts are of the view that the best time of the day to engage in Yoga is at the day break as the mind is still in a relaxed state and is not contaminated. Yet, the person can experience stiffness in his limbs in the morning due to non- action after about 8 hours of inaction during sleep. For beginners, evening can be the ideal time of the day to engage in Yoga as the limbs become flexible by the actions he performs during the day. The mind however, is filled with the day’s events, problems and things to be fulfilled towards the end of the day making it difficult to concentrate during Yoga.
It is advisable to commence Yoga on empty stomach as the filled stomach will cause discomforts due to the twisting of the stomach and the pressure exerted by certain postures during Yoga. However, drinking water, fruit juice, detox drink,plain milk or coffee can be recommended at least an hour prior to starting Yoga. Yoga should be practiced after a lapse of five hours of having a heavy meal. At least half an hour should be passed to eat foods after engaging in Yoga.
It is also vital to keep the bowels and the bladder evacuated prior to commencing Yoga failing of which can also cause discomforts during Yoga. That will also disturb the attention and focus during the sessions.
Bathing before Yoga gives a refreshed feeling to start the session and will keep the person invigorated during Yoga. Doing Yoga with an unclean body is not be desirable or the person may not be motivated to be fully engrossed in the session. Bathing is essential after Yoga if the person sweats a lot when performing Aasanas.
Yoga should be practised in an open and well-ventilated place. Doing Yoga outdoor is highly recommended as the person can get closer to the nature and breathe fresh air. If one cannot find such a calm, quiet and naturally ventilated outdoor area to do Yoga, he can still perform Yoga indoor in a clean, quiet and ventilated room void of any disturbances.
CAUTIONS FOR WOMEN
Women are advised not to engage in Yoga during menstruation as the body movements and twists may aggravate the discomfort. However, relaxing and resting in Savaasana is recommended during first two days of menstruation. A Woman can revert to the practice of Yoga on the third or fourth day of menstruation depending on her body condition.
Certain Yoga Aasanas are recommended for pregnant women while some Aasanas should be avoided. If a pregnant woman prefers continuing the practice of Yoga she can do the Asanas with slow and mild movements. Nevertheless, pressure should not be exerted towards the abdomen. However, Yoga postures such as Badhdha Konasana and Upavishta Konasana are said to strengthen the pelvic muscles and can be recommended for pregnant women to do with care. Pregnant women who have practised above Asanas have experienced less pain during delivery. Prānāyāma is also recommended for expectant mothers as breathing practices are found to be helpful during labour.
QUALIFIED YOGA INSTRUCTOR
It is highly recommended to practice Yoga under the proper guidance of an experienced Yoga instructor until the person becomes well acquainted with the technics of Asanas and breathing. Fallible practices of Asanas and breathing can lead to many bodily discomforts. If finding an experienced Yoga instructor is difficult, one can always obtain the help of self-help texts and videos on Yoga.
At the start, you may find it difficult to engage in some Asanas as they may require a great deal of flexibility of the body. Hence, select Aasanas that you think you can easily do. However, pain in limbs is unavoidable at the start. A few months of continuous practice may increase the flexibility of the body and the Aasanas can be performed with no pain or discomfort. When you obtain flexibility of the body, you can attempt other Aasanas that may require greater flexibility.