Yoga at Home

1. How do I start out?

Start out your yoga session just as you would start out any fitness routine-with warm-ups. Some good warm ups that I like to begin my session with are Butterfly Pose, Triangle Pose, Swaying Palm Tree Pose, Standing Forward Bend.

 2. How do I conclude my yoga session?

Always conclude your yoga practice with corpse pose. It should be done for ¼ of the time spent on your yoga sequence. For example: if your session lasted 20 minutes, you might want to spend 5 minutes in corpse pose. Corpse pose gives your body time to cool down and assimilate all the positive energy that was awakened during the practice. If you omit the corpse pose, be assured you will walk around for the rest of the day with a heavy head and a nauseous sensation.

3. What poses to choose?

• Choose poses keeping in mind your health, physical strength, flexibility, temperament and lifestyle and also based on what it is you are hoping to achieve; is it building physical strength, flexibility, weight loss, maintaining good health, addressing certain health issues or challenges, building certain traits and characteristics.

• If you are a beginner, it is best advised you start out with beginner versions of poses.

• There should be no reason to strain. You should not feel pain or discomfort when practicing asanas. If you do, discontinue and seek guidance. Alternately you may choose a different variation of the same pose or replace it with a pose that provides similar benefits without the complexity.

• Read the contradictions/cautions associated with the yoga asana you select to ensure it does not aggravate any current health conditions.

• Make sure to balance your poses. A forward bend should be balanced with a backward bend.

• Start out with yoga poses that work on the lower chakra and work your way up to the higher chakras.

• Take breaks in between if needed.

4. When is the best time to practice?

Yoga should be done preferably in the morning when your mind is relatively calmer and the energy levels are higher in contrast to the evening, when you are mentally and

physically fatigued. If you can’t practice in the morning, the evening is fine. It is better to do something than to do nothing. Yoga for fitness can be done in the evening.

 5. What should I wear when practicing yoga?

Wear clothing that is comfortable and that does not restrict your breathing or movements. Avoid wearing clothes that are loose as they can get in the way of your poses and become cumbersome. If doing kundalini yoga, it is advised that shoulders and spine be kept covered. Yoga should be practiced bare feet.

 6. What kind of diet is recommended for yoga practitioners?

The diet recommended for serious yoga practitioners, is a sattvic diet. Avoid consuming greasy, spicy, oily foods or foods that cause you to feel sluggish and dull. Also avoid eating foods that are too temperature hot or cold. Overeating and fasting should be avoided. A yoga practitioner should be moderate in eating. (Read: Recommended Yogic Diet)

Below are some additional general guidelines for yoga practitioners:

1. Keep a separate room for your yoga sessions. The room should be clean and well ventilated with fresh air. If you can’t have a separate room, you can allocate a portion of a room to your practice.

2. Avoid consuming any food ~ 3 hours prior to yoga practice. A cup of light tea, milk is acceptable 35-45 minutes before practice.

3. Don’t practice when you are sick or aren’t feeling well.

4. Yoga should be done with full awareness. The key is to constantly remind ourselves to be aware of the poses and breathing and to bring our wandering mind back to focus on the moment.

5. Do not strain yourself or push yourself beyond your capacity.

6. Begin the yoga session with some warm up asans/poses.

7. Yoga stresses cleanliness of mind and body. It is therefore recommended that yoga be practiced in the morning when the air is rich in prana (life force) after one has emptied the bowels and showered. Taking a warm shower prior to practice also helps improve flexibility.

8. Abstain from excessive and loud talking. Avoid strong emotions of anger, jealousy, sadness etc. This prevents hemorrhaging of all the positive energy you awakened from the practice and an unnecessary build up of toxic emotions.

9. Do not forget to breathe while practicing poses as breathing is an important part of yoga.

10. Be consistent in your practice. Once you find a set of poses that works for you, stick to them instead of changing them frequently if you want to enjoy the benefits they bestow. Feel free to add new poses to your sequence as you find fit, but don’t keep jumping from a set of exercises one week to another the following week. Make it your goal not to miss a single day, unless you are sick.

11. Feel free to use yoga props if it helps you in your practice.

12. Following the conclusion of your yoga practice, wait for ~15-20 minutes before you consume any food and drink. This allows your mind and body time to recuperate and helps your body assimilate all the positive energies that have been awakened from the practice.

13. Drink plenty of water to help in the elimination of toxins from the body that have been released as a result of the practice session.

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