Yoga is an ancient Indian discipline, which is practiced by many individuals in the recent times. This popular fitness regime’s various postures does not leave one breathless and tire them out, but, in fact, gets them rejuvenated. It provides physical and mental relaxation and can be rehearsed by people of different age groups.
Yoga is an effortless form of exercise, one could say. It is believed that the Indian sadhus developed these postures to calm their mind, and to strengthen them to face the hardships of an ascetic life. This form of body-strengthening stances has been passed down from generation to generation, and has resulted in the various forms of yoga that we practice today.
Yoga fundamentally comprises of asanas, which could be achieved through a couple of steps. Asanas are various body postures, and it can be safely assumed that these postures were inspired from the nature or from the integral components of our everyday life. For example, Gomukhasana refers to the posture which resembles cow’s head, Halasana resembles a plough, and Matyasana, a supine backward posture, refers to a fish-like postion, to name a few.
There are various kinds of yoga, from Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga to Prenatal Yoga. These are basically various asanas arranged in a specific sequence for the required health benefits. Different kinds of yoga benefit us in different ways, like strengthening the core, weight loss, and breathing exercises for expectant mothers. Yoga can also be practiced by the handicapped.
The techniques of yoga focuses largely on breathing. Pranayama, which means ‘the extension of breath’, is a vital component of yoga. It is believed that proper breathing can banish various health problems and there are extensive breathing exercises in various postures to facilitate proper functioning of the body.
As mentioned earlier, yoga is an undemanding of exercise. That said, one should not do yoga without proper guidance, since that can lead to various complications. Doing yoga without a proper instructor might result in spraining and twisting of muscles, and that is the minimal damage we are talking about. It can also lead to various dysfunctions in the metabolic activity and in some cases, the results of the yoga in the absence of a tutor would be quite opposite of what one expected to gain from it.
Additionally, there are various other necessary things to be observed before commencing yoga to enjoy its benefits to the fullest.
#1. It is ideal if one practices yoga early in the morning. This is because, in the morning, one is fresh and energetic after a good rest. That being the case, a person should have sufficient sleep in order to practice the asanas. Doing yoga in the morning after a good sleep also ensures that one remains active and brisk the entire day after a refreshing workout.
#2. If one is unable to perform yoga in the morning, then they can do it four hours after a heavy meal, the reason being there are certain asanas which would lead to discomfort if done with the stomach full.
Balanced diet is an absolute necessity for any yoga practitioner. Every meal should be taken with an interval of four hours and each meal should be satisfactory. It should comprise of all the nutrients necessary for the development and strengthening of the human body. Eating fast and overeating should be avoided.
#3. While doing yoga, the person’s senses should be relaxed and focused. This can be achieved by wearing comfortable attire and practicing in a soothing atmosphere. Loose cotton clothes are the best choice for attire, while some people also choose to go with yoga track pants, camisole tops and Lycra pants. Yoga mats with cushions are an absolute must to avoid body pain. A person should exercise in a silent, distraction free and properly ventilated room.
#4. One should proceed with yoga, such that they start with the easiest steps and move on with the harder ones, similar to other fitness exercises. They should feel comfortable with the steps they take, and in case of pain in the process of doing so, they should stop immediately and consult with the instructor, to rectify any mistake they might be committing, because in yoga it is unnatural to feel any pain while doing the asanas.
#5. The essence of yoga is to do it methodically and slowly. The steps taken to reach an asana should be such that the motion is fluid and not jerky. Care should be taken about breathing, because breathing is as important as the asanas in yoga.
While holding a position, there should be no trembling or jerky movements.
Yoga can be practiced by anyone. By anyone, we mean anyone. Yoga can be practiced by children, pregnant women, adults, and even aged people and the handicapped. Yoga dispels laziness and helps a person lead an active life. It also helps in relieving stress and keeps the mind calm. Yoga is considered to be the means to understanding our body, both the interior and the exterior.