General Guidelines for a simplified yoga practice:
- Always practice on an empty or a very light stomach: an hour to four hours after a meal
- Asana meaning a posture can be practiced one to five times. If you are a beginner, it will do better to practice multiple repetitions rather than trying to hold a posture for an extended period of time. Never strain yourself, something that happens in a yoga class. You may try to look as good as the person next to you or your teacher and feel like you are falling short. Yoga is a personal practice.
- Like when you eat in a group, you are still eating on your own. Just because you eat with others, doesn’t mean you do not eat on your own ever, or without the company of others. Yoga is just like that. You do yoga every day, a little bit, just like you sleep and shower every day. Yoga helps you clear out the energetic cobwebs in your bones, tissues, joints and blood vessels.
- Never make uncontrolled movements. All your efforts must be self-sustainable. If you feel you are falling or hurting, return to your stable and comfortable posture. You eat an elephant one bite at a time, don’t you? If you try to swallow or inhale your elephant, you will choke on it. Similarly, your yoga practice should begin at a comfortable pace and be sustainable by you. Everything my body knows it learned in another life time and re-started at four years of age in this life, in the presence of my father. Yoga, like riding a bike and swimming is muscle memory. Once you learn a posture your body can return to it anytime.
- Yoga is the only thing you will ever do that will keep your mind in the present moment. Your mind can never wander when your body is engaged in an asana.
- Each asana is split into three phases:
- The preparation phase
- The holding phase
- The release
- When you are holding a posture, for a fraction of a second focus on your third eye, also known as ajña (pr. Agnya) chakra with a quiet mind. This silence in your mind will help you maintain the stillness of your asana(posture). If you can, keep your eyes closed in each asana so you can hold the stillness and silence and be present in your body and feel your breath.
- Just like you shower a bit every day, it is nice to do a bit of yoga every day than a lot once in a while. Ideally, you should do yoga every day, to get your body into a yogic habit. Get started with at least 2-3 times a week. If you are a morning person, do yoga in the evening to fight fatigue. If you are an evening person, do yoga in the morning to overcome your morning mental haze.