A Beginner's Guide to Yoga

yogaAmong practitioners of Hinduism and Buddhism, yoga is practiced as a means of enlightenment, while in the West is now practiced as both an effective and physical and spiritual routine. However, contrary to popular belief, yoga is not considered a form of exercise because unlike the speedy motion required in a workout, yoga involves very slow and steady movements.

The regular practice of yoga provides great health benefits as it both tones the body and relieves stress. It also strengthens concentration and reduces the aging process. There are several prerequisites before you can start your yoga session. Here is our guide to help you get the maximum benefit from your yoga session.

Practice everyday– Make yoga a habit for at least 30 to 45 minutes.

Know your body’s limitations– Try not to overextend yourself when you are stretching. If you push too hard, you could hurt yourself in the process.

Consult your physician– People with certain medical conditions should practice yoga according to their physician’s recommendation. If you have muscle or back problems practice yoga minimally to avoid excacerbating your condition.

Food– If you have to do yoga in the afternoon or the evening, remember to have an empty stomach. Wait at least two hours after a large meal before starting a yoga session. Water is fine to drink during your practice.

Choose the right space– Practice yoga in a spacious, clean, airy, and bright area, away from disturbances. And don’t forget your yoga mat or any other comfortable surface that you can use during your session. If you don’t have a mat you could always practice on a carpet or on grass to make it easier for positions that require you to lie down.

Wear the right clothes- Make sure your clothes are loose and comfortable for you. Wear clothes that don’t hamper your movements.

Yoga for women– Pregnant and menstruating women should avoid some positions in a yoga session. Yoga is not harmful to pregnant women, in fact it is even recommended to relieve tension during pregnancy. Avoid squatting or any position that puts pressure on the back.

If possible, go vegan– Most practitioners of yoga are also vegetarians since yoga slows down the metabolism. If you have difficulty switching to vegetarianism, try consuming less meat.

Begin by breathing deeply– The yoga poses (or asanas) usually start in breathing slowly and deeply as you concentrate your mind and make yourself centered. Remember that your body movements and breathing must be coordinated until such time as they are united. Your breathing also serves as your guide on when to start or stop the yoga position.

Move gracefully – In yoga, movement flows like air. Come into a pose slowly yet gracefully, hold that pose for several minutes, and come out of it with the same graceful and continuous movement.