Gen­eral guide­lines for yoga prac­tice

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Sauca means clean­li­ness, an im­por­tant pre-req­ui­site for yogic prac­tice. It in­cludes clean­li­ness of the sur­round­ings, body and mind.

Yogic prac­tice should be per­formed in a calm and quiet at­mos­phere with a re­laxed body and mind.

Yogic prac­tice should be done on an empty, or light, stom­ach. Should you feel weak, con­sume a small amount of honey in luke­warm wa­ter.

The blad­der and bow­els should be empty be­fore start­ing yogic prac­tices.

A mat­tress, yoga mat or folded blan­ket should be used for the prac­tice.

Light and com­fort­able cot­ton clothes are pre­ferred, to fa­cil­i­tate easy move­ment of the body.

Yoga should not be per­formed in a state of ex­haus­tion, ill­ness, while in a hurry or in acute stress con­di­tions.

In cases of chronic dis­ease, pain and car­diac prob­lems, a physi­cian or a yoga ther­a­pist should be con­sulted be­fore per­form­ing yoga.

Yoga ex­perts should be con­sulted be­fore do­ing yogic prac­tices dur­ing preg­nancy.

Prac­tice ses­sions should start with a prayer or in­vo­ca­tion as it cre­ates a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment to re­lax the mind.

Yogic prac­tices should be per­formed slowly, in a re­laxed man­ner, with aware­ness of the body and breath.

Do not hold your breath un­less in­structed to do so.

Breath­ing should be al­ways through the nos­trils un­less in­structed oth­er­wise.

Do not hold body tightly, or jerk the body at any point of time.

Per­form the prac­tices ac­cord­ing to your own ca­pac­ity.

It takes some time to get good re­sults, so per­sis­tent and reg­u­lar prac­tice is es­sen­tial.

There are con­tra-in­di­ca­tions and lim­i­ta­tions for each yoga prac­tice and such con­tra-in­di­ca­tions should al­ways be kept in mind.

Yoga ses­sion should end with med­i­ta­tion, deep si­lence.

AF­TER PRAC­TICE

A bath may be taken only af­ter 20-30 min­utes of prac­tice.

Food may be con­sumed only af­ter 20-30 min­utes of prac­tice.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A few di­etary guide­line can en­sure that the body and mind are flex­i­ble and well pre­pared for prac­tice.

A veg­e­tar­ian diet is usu­ally rec­om­mended, and for a per­son over the age of 30, two meals a day should suf­fice, ex­cept in the case of ill­ness or very high phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity or labour.

HOW YOGA CAN HELP

Yoga is es­sen­tially a path to lib­er­a­tion from all bondage.

How­ever, med­i­cal re­search in re­cent years has un­cov­ered many phys­i­cal and mental ben­e­fits that yoga of­fers, cor­rob­o­rat­ing the ex­pe­ri­ences of mil­lions of prac­ti­tion­ers. A small sam­pling of re­search shows that:

Yoga is ben­e­fi­cial for phys­i­cal fit­ness, mus­cu­loskele­tal func­tion­ing and car­dio­vas­cu­lar health.

It is ben­e­fi­cial in the man­age­ment of di­a­betes, res­pi­ra­tory disor­ders, hy­per­ten­sion, hypo-ten­sion and many life­style-elated disor­ders.

Yoga helps to re­duce de­pres­sion, fa­tigue, anx­i­ety disor­ders and stress. Yoga reg­u­lates menopausal symp­toms. In essence, yoga is a process of cre­at­ing a body and mind that are step­ping­stones, and not hur­dles, to an ex­u­ber­ant and ful­fill­ing life.

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