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Essentials of Yoga

Author: Bala Mishra | Last Updated: Tue 8 Nov 2011 2:09:27 PM

yoga, pranayam, asanas

Yoga is a Scientific System of physical and mental excellence which requires obedience to certain rules, principle and methodology in order to acquire satisfactory results. If these rules and principles are not followed it may cause reverse results, i.e. harm and injury to the body. There are two very important essentials, they are:

Proper Exercise (Asanas)

Since a human body is meant to move and exercise it is very essential to provide natural motion of muscles and joint so that disease and great discomfort will never come. Yoga involves creating a balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility through the performance of Asanas (poses and postures). In other words: strengthening through stretching. The more a person practices, the more flexible he/she becomes and the more body strength is developed.

Proper Breathing (Pranayama)

We all know that breathing is a natural reflexive action. However, most of the people go about their daily routine without being mindful of our breathing. We also know that we come into the world as good breathers: inhaling and exhaling from abdomens. However, over time, we unlearn this process because of adverse external influences (stress, anger for instance).

Through yoga we can relearn that slow, deep breathing which allows the abdomen to expand bringing into the lungs the amount of oxygen needed to nourish all the cells of the body. It also slows down the heart rate, relaxes muscles and calms the mind.

Thus breathing becomes deep, slow and rhythmical which increases vitality and mental clarity.

In deeper perspective for yoga philosophy, the ability to control breathing signifies full control over mind. This serves as a foundation towards achieving a more focused and calmer state of mind.

Apart from this other essentials that need to be followed include:

  1. There is no specific time for doing yoga. In the point of view of convenience, morning is always better as you will be free for the rest of the day. However, in case your hectic schedule doesn’t allow you the same try practicing it as per your convenience but whatever time you have chosen, stick to the same time of practice every day. Make sure you have not taken anything four hours before practicing Yoga.
  2. Practice yoga regularly and continuously. Irregular practice will not bring good results. Have a definite aim, goal attached to your practice and remember only constant practice can help you achieve the goal.
  3. Practice at least 15 minutes a day, for 5 days a week. 15 minutes can be gradually increased to 1 hour.
  4. The place of yoga practice should be neat, clean and airy.
  5. Try to practice at the same place regularly.
  6. Practice alone, if possible.
  7. Yoga should be practiced on an empty stomach.
  8. If you have taken food, wait for two or more hours before practicing.
  9. Practitioner must avoid hot food or excessive spices and try to eat a balanced diet.
  10. Relax in between asana for 6 to 8 seconds. Take 2 or 3 normal breaths between asana.
  11. Rest at the end of the asana session. The general principle is to rest 1/4th of the time of actual practice. For example if you practice asana for 30 minutes, your rest time is 71/2 minutes.
  12. Your body should be neat and clean, it should not be tired or under any excessive physical pain.
  13. Wear clean and light cloth while practicing.
  14. Avoid excessive intake of coffee, tea, alcohol and drugs.
  15. Try to keep the mind free from anxiety, worries and any strenuous involvement while you are practicing.
  16. Women should not practice yoga during their menstrual periods. Pregnant women should take care to practice moderately.

Proper Relaxation (Savasana)

Before attaining proper relaxation necessary to start to practice yoga, one needs to be able to accomplish the first two principles, mainly proper exercise and proper breathing. Ancient practice of yoga in India utilized powerful techniques that enable one to enter a deep relaxation state.

Yogic relaxation begins with the muscles and relieving it from any form of tension. First one needs to rest the entire body until it revitalizes one’s nervous system. This is the necessary condition to feel relaxed and attain inner sense of peace. When one feels relaxed physically and internally it affects the way one deals with everyday activities and makes a person more effective in life.

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