Some Basic Preparations For Yoga
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Yoga in Daily Life

Yoga is a discipline which makes the internal environment of an individual in coordination with the external environment and thus promotes harmony, peace and congenial adjustment of the individual within himself. Yoga promotes balance in personality. The external environment can be very definitely controlled and moulded towards a destination of peace if we learn to control our own reactions to it. Thus yoga can be considered as a practice for promoting goodwill, peace proper coordination between societies, groups and even nations. The influential prejudice of the world towards science and technology has caused a lot of imbalance. Yoga can teach us a way to monitor and control this and our inclinations to its ill-effects.

Yoga is divided into four types Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga, Gyana yoga and Hatha yoga. ( links to various pages of descriptions of these). All these concentrate on techniques of bodily health, techniques for silencing the breath, behavioural discipline and mental concentration. An individual who learns to master these methods comes extremely close to something that can only be defined as a ‘perfect individual’ with a most balanced personality. But in this time and age despite inclinations many people may find themselves unable to practice yoga the way these four branches describe. In such situations it may be possible for many individuals to at least do some techniques so as to obtain maximum benefit from these. This in itself is a big feat. It can generate enough positive balance in the personality to obtain a state of optimum health of mind and body.

Very little expenditure in terms of money is required for doing yogic practices so they can be easily followed by anyone who has proclivity towards it. Only certain points have to be taken care of these are given in detail here.

Physical condition of the individual: Yoga is a practice that gives benefit to all irrespective of the physical condition of the individual. However it is good to learn these techniques while the body is healthy so as to maintain most favourable health throughout the lifetime. Sometimes it so happens that a person seeks help from yogic practices only when the body starts ailing with some disorder. In such a condition it is imperative to take advice from a doctor as well as consult a knowledgeable yoga practitioner who can provide personalized care and attention to relieve the ailment. Practicing yoga in the wrong way can aggravate a person’s physical ailment and it can also harm a healthy person.

Age and gender: Although age and genders are no hurdles to yoga not every technique suits everyone. A certain amount of common sense and awareness about the relative health conditions of the body can give an individual sufficient insight into what suits him and to what extent. ( links to sections of yoga for men, women and children)

The degrees of strenuousness can be decided on how much a person can take comfortably without unnecessary exertion.

Place and environment: The environment for yoga practices and yoga poses should be serene and free of excessive heat, cold, dust or wind. The surroundings should be free of insects and other animals which normally dwell in homes. Yoga can be done indoors or outdoors but sufficient privacy should be there. It can be practiced individually or in groups, but breathing and meditation exercises should be done individually as there is considerable variation in individual expertise. The place chosen should be airy and serene.

Time: Morning time is better as mornings are generally more serene. But according to personal convenience evening time can also be chosen. Generally regularity is to be taken care of while choosing the time.

Diet: Like any other exercises yoga should never be done on full stomach. Generally food remains in the stomach for two to three hours and then it takes another two to three hours to be absorbed in the intestines, so at least five hours time should be given before any yogic exercises. The diet practiced during yoga and in general should be nutritious and simple. Too much of heavy and spicy food is best avoided. One need not be a strict vegetarian for the practice of yoga. It is seen that with advancement of yogic meditation a person normally becomes more inclined to vegetarian way of life, so it need not be forced initially.

Clothing: The clothes should be comfortable and preferably of cotton material to prevent uneasiness. They should be providing protection to the body according to the weather. They should be worn keeping in mind the extent of yogic practices to avoid any kind of undue duress.

The seat: Preparing a comfortable seat is very necessary for yoga practitioners as it is needed to be used during long sessions. Traditionally a grass mat covered with a deer or tiger hide and covered with a clean cloth is used. But a grass mat covered with a thick carpet over which a clean cloth is spread is also used these days. These days exercise mats are also available which can be used. The seat should not be spongy like a mattress but should be supportive enough for the body. It should also be big enough to accommodate the entire body as it is required to lie down for many yogic practices and yoga poses. Yoga should never be practiced with the body touching the bare ground or floor as it interferes with the flow of energy through the body.

Regularity: It is good to be regular for any yogic practice or yoga pose to take action in the body. However, if the regularity cannot be maintained for the entire week for any reasons one should not feel guilty. The guilt would only give rise to negative feelings which are hazardous for the yogic practices to take fruition.

Some general suggestions: One should not be in a haste to reach the final posture of any exercise as it involves static or isometric contractions of the muscles. In these exercises the muscles are kept in a state of tension without repeated movement of body parts. Final posture may sometimes take days or even weeks to reach. All yogic exercises should be done with concentration and patience

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