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Nice-to-know about Yoga

"Yoga leads to a body that is easeful, a mind that is peaceful, which results in a life that is useful."
Swami Satchidananda

The positive effects a regular yoga practice has on body and mind have been known for centuries and are scientifically evident: Yoga improves circulation, energizes the metabolism, strengthens the musculature and keeps the connective tissue tight. Yoga can aid weight control efforts. It promotes physical and mental flexibility and equilibrium and contributes to a better body image. Yoga also helps to diminish stress and to focus on the present. It improves concentration, coordination and memory. Yoga keeps us young, efficient and healthy.

What to Wear
Clothing should be flexible, non-binding and appropriate to season and temperature. Shorts and a tee-shirt, tights and a leotard. Do not wear socks.

When To Practice
Practice only on an empty stomach. Wait three to four hours after a large meal; one to two hours after a light snack. Early morning before any food is taken is the best time of all. Practice when there are a minimum number of distractions and pressures to do other duties. After work is a great time to remove the strain of the day.

How Long to Practice
An hour, or an hour and a half practice daily is ideal.

A non-slip, level surface, such as a good hardwood floor provide stability. When a surface becomes wet from perspiration, its properties change; wooden floors become slippery, and tightly woven cotton rugs, and blankets give better traction. “Sticky-mats” serve as a basic surface.

Beginners will find the use of a block helpful, during the standing postures.

The Menstrual Cycle
Ladies should not do regular practice during menses flow. Vigorous practice or activity can disrupt or stop menses. In particular the inverted postures are to be avoided. However, practice of postures like Trikonasana, Baddha Konasana, Balasana and Upavistha Konasana can relive pain around the sacrum and hips, as well as relieve cramps. They also promote deeper breathing which is conducive to a meditative state of mind. Consult with a qualified teacher for more details on this type of practice.

Yoga practice is beneficial during pregnancy, and can ease many of the discomforts involved. However, certain postures are not advisable, and, as fetal development proceeds, more postures need to be eliminated from the series. What to practice depends largely on the level of practice of the mother before conception. New students should attend special prenatal yoga classes with the consent of their physician! Postures such as Janusirsasana C, Marichyasana B&D, and Supta Hasta Padangusthasana need to be eliminated during the first term. Others follow as they become difficult. Experienced students should not try new, challenging or precarious postures which might endanger mother or fetus. It is a common sense matter.

Therapeutic Applications
Yoga is naturally therapeutic and generates excellent health. However, the use of yoga for specific health problems should be done under personal guidance with the consultation of a physician. AIRYOGA teaches proper alignment and breathing, which is, of course, beneficial to health. But when trying to cure serious health problems, individual instruction is imperative. Always seek the guidance of qualified health professionals.

Yoga is the “Art of Work,” meaning to act with ever increasing efficiency and intelligence. However, one should be prepared to sweat. Being “warmed up” is the best protection against injury, by helping one to move in an integrated and natural way. Enjoy.

Do not confuse enthusiasm with ambition. Do not strain, clench the teeth, hunch the shoulders or hold the breath! Return always to the basics of the practice: the breathing, the gaze of the eyes and the true form of the posture. Slow, consistent, grounded practice works. Occasional spurts of aggressive, imbalanced practice, for purposes of self torment or ego inflation, are dangerous.

A pleasant soreness in the bellies of some muscles is not uncommon, especially if you are progressing with an intelligent enthusiasm. This is good. Pain in the joints, however, is an indication of poor form and alignment. In this case one must pull back and study the posture more closely. Consultation with a teacher is always advisable.

Correct breathing is essential in the postures. It should not be too fast or too slow. Its sound should be smooth and even. Overall it should be pleasant, bringing awareness and alignment to the whole body.

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