Guidelines For Yoga Practice

It is important that Yoga practitioners ensure that they are mentally ready before embarking on any practice. Practitioners are also recommended to consume a proper diet and adhere to a disciplined daily routine as well as maintaining standard hygiene.

Those who intend to practice Yogasanas should wear a proper outfit, find a proper place and time and take heed of the precautions for the session.

The Practitioner's Role
Every individual's spiritual path is entirely under one's control and no one else's. The spiritual Guru or Yoga guide can only share with the disciple / practitioner the knowledge and wisdom, but whether one would benefit from the Guru's teachings is dependent on oneself. Self-discipline and a strong determination are very crucial in spirituality.

Yogic Diet
There is a famous phrase expounded in many spiritual literature: "We are what we eat". All the food that we consume will affect the performance of both the body and mind.

Food can be classified as:
a)  Satvic
b)  Rajasic
c)  Tamasic

Food should not be over-cooked and over-seasoned because the original flavour and nutrition can be destroyed. Preferably, practitioners are to consume a vegetarian diet. Many spiritual teachers have taught that the consumption of meat can affect one's energy flow during spiritual practice.

Any food that has been kept for too long is Tamasic in nature whereas overly seasoned food items are Rajasic. Consuming Satvic food is the best. The consumption of fresh food straight from the stove, which is neither too salty, spicy, sweet or sour, is to have Satvic food.

"An animal experiences fear, anger and misery before its slaughter. Every single thought affects one's body. Everything in this Universe has a vibrational imprint. Consuming meat would also mean ingesting the animal's vibrational imprint of fear, anger, hatred, pain and misery, which will subsequently materialise into your own physical experience." - Taken from the Master's discourse in Hull, UNITED KINGDOM (2008)

Caffeine can also affect the flow of energy within the body. It is also best that Yoga practitioners completely abstain from caffeine or keep its intake to its minimum. Such drinks include tea, isotonic drinks, coffee etc.

Eating habits can affect Yoga practice The proportion of the intake of food must be observed carefully. The  food must be properly chewed before swallowing so that it can be easily digested y the body. It is also recommended that practitioners do not consume any food two hours before retiring to bed to ensure that the food is fully digested to promote good sleep.

Water Intake
Practitioners are also advised to drink 10 to 15 cups of water per day to help flush out the toxins from the body. It is best not to drink water during meals and half an hour before or after meals.

Practicing Yogasana: Timing
The best time to practice Yogasanas is early in the morning between 4am to 6am. The atmosphere is pure, quiet and filled with solar radiation during this period of time. The period is known as "Brahmamuhurta" in Sanskrit.

Practicing Yogasanas on an empty stomach also makes this timing ideal. An empty stomach gives better flexibility during the practice. After a Yogasana session, allow at least 20 minutes before having a meal.

It is important that Yogasana practitioners begin each session with joints exercises, followed by a few asanas and pranayama, and finally ending with meditation. One should give a gap of at least 24 hours between each Yogasana session unless specifically directed by the instructor.

For obvious reasons, practitioners should decide a time that is most convenient for them and stick to it every day.

Suitable Outfit
Yogasanas are all about physical flexibility and concentration of the mind. Practitioners are therefore advised to wear comfortable clothing that will not hinder the practitioner's postures in any way. Before commencing any practice, spectacles, wristwatches and ornaments should be removed from the body.

Women with long hair should ensure that the hair is tied up, or covered with a scarf.

Ideal Location for Practicing Yogasana
The best place to practice Yogasanas is on a flat surface. Use a mat or blanket (something not thicker than 1-2 inches) during practice. This is because certain points of the body need to feel the pressure of the ground during the practice. Using a thick mattress will therefore not give one the full benefits of the posture. Practice at a well-ventilated area that preferably has fresh air.

The environment should ideally be quiet so that one is not distracted during practice. Do not practice where there is strong wind and in highly-polluted locations.

Yogi Hygiene
The practitioner's hygiene is important. Try taking a cold shower before the start of each session. This allows the practitioner to easily concentrate when the body is cleaned and refreshed.

After each Yoga session, it is best that one waits for at least 15 minutes to allow the body to cool down before taking a bath.

Different Flexibility Levels
Last but not least, every practitioner has their own level of flexibility. At the beginning, practitioners may find their muscles stiff. However, after practicing for several weeks, the muscles will begin to soften. Practitioners must NEVER exert undue force or strain while performing any asanas. Always begin with the easiest or comfortable alternative. Once the easy stage is perfected, only then the practitioner should go to a higher stage. Perform every asana slowly and steadily. Flexibility will definitely increase with regular practice.

Once the practitioner experiences any form of pain, one should stop oneself from continuing the asana. Return to the normal position slowly. Do not give any sudden jerk as it can result in injury.

People suffering from fractured bones or any other chronic diseases such as ulcers, tuberculosis or hernia should consult a professional Yoga instructor before commencing any exercise.

Posted by Sandhya Maarga Mission on 00:03. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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