Things you need to know before you start yoga practice.
Clothing should be loose and comfortable, to allow easy movement of the body. Loose t-shirt, cotton trousers, track pants or bike pants. Avoid short-shorts and tight-fitting clothes that restrict circulation.
It is advised that you should not eat for 2 hours before yoga. A full abdomen will make you uncomfortable and tired.
Try to avoid comparing yourself to anyone else. Yoga is non-competitive. Your focus should remain within you. Simply be aware of your abilities. Regardless, of age, level of fitness or health, EVERYBODY is welcome and encouraged to practise yoga.
Concentrate on your breathing
Full, deep breathing is integral in each of the yoga postures (asanas). Your breath will enable the muscles to relax and will keep the mind focused.
Moving into postures
Move into postures with full flowing breath, always staying within your comfort zone. It is appropriate to go to the limit of your stretch but never beyond. If pain is felt, lighten or modify the posture or come out of the pose altogether. Keep the mind focused on the body parts that are being used, knowing that where attentions goes, energy flows. It is essential to keep the mind still and focused at all times, which allows you to connect to your spirit, develop your psychic energies and liberate the mind form stress and negative thinking. The body will be filled with more energy when the mind is centred in the body.
Do Your Best
Self-effort is a yoga discipline. Try your best, no matter how many times you have practised a stretch. Experiment with the stretch, find how it best suits you. Self-effort also means to consciously relax.
There needs to be a balance between effort and surrender. If you don't extend yourself fully, the practice will be too easy and your mind will wander. When you over extend yourself, it becomes so difficult that your practice will not be joyful. Frowning, clenching your jaw or holding your breath are signs to ease off. Find the mid-point between effort and effortlessness. Remember the point of yoga is to access your inner bliss!
Allow yourself to surrender
Life experiences and unexpressed emotion build up like layers and are stored in the cellular memory of your bodies. The asanas allow us to explore and release the unconscious holding on. Yoga helps us to relinquish the emotional overlays that keep us in destructive patterns or rut. There is enormous freedom and peace within at discovering our true self, which is the LOVING, JOYOUS, PEACEFUL SELF.
Relaxation is not a luxury, it is a necessity for every human, especially if we have a busy lifestyle.
Have awareness, focus and be present
When an asana is performed with full awareness, it develops into something for greater that just a fitness regime. Work with integrity. Become absorbed in the subtle sensations of the body, physically and emotionally. Just by bringing the light of awareness to yourself facilitates deep healing. Observe yourself, embracing and loving whatever your discover about yourself. Nothing you find within is intrinsically good or bad - it just is.
Be aware of your personal space and keep the area around your mat clean and uncluttered.
Rest when you need to! Use resting time to reflect and absorb your experiences of the yoga stretches.
During menstruation, the general recommendation is to avoid inverted postures (the upside down asanas). At this time of the month, always work gently and reduce the stronger, more challenging stretches. Adjust you approach and use this time to increase your awareness.
High blood pressure, dizziness and heart conditions
Always inform your Yoga Instructor BEFORE the class so that they can offer variations on some stretches.
Light-headedness, headaches, dizziness and cramps
These and other physical complaints are sometimes experienced after a yoga class. Newly stretched muscles can respond by cramping or twitching, and toxins liberated from tense muscles may cause a headache. This is a good sign that your body is detoxifying! Symptoms will quickly disappear by drinking water, taking a hot shower and breathing fresh air.
You can practise yoga throughout all stages of pregnancy. Inform the Instructor of how many weeks you are, so that the appropriate variations and recommendations can be made. Meditation and relaxation are extremely beneficial for both mother and child.