Derived from the Sanskrit word Yuj, yoga means a union of the individual consciousness or soul with the universal consciousness or spirit.
Yoga is a 5000-year-old Indian body of knowledge.
Though many think of yoga only as a physical exercise where people twist, turn, stretch, and breathe in most complex ways, these are actually only the most superficial aspect of this profound science of unfolding the infinite potentials of the human mind and soul.
The yoga practice is still a physical practice, and just like any other form of movement you can hurt yourself.
On the occasion of the International Yoga Day, which is celebrated on June 21, BigWire catches up with yoga promoter and TOPSGRUP Country Head, HR, Ravi Nair at the ongoing Mumbai Yoga Fest, to get some tips on the safe practice of this art of living.
Here’s what he suggested for BigWire readers:
1. Approach your task with patience and perseverance. If your body is not flexible, you may find it difficult to do most of the asanas.
Do not worry if at first you cannot do the asanas properly, it will become easier with repetition.
2. Talk to your doctor before participating in yoga, if you have any medical problems or past injuries.
3. Always work with a qualified yoga instructor. Don’t be afraid to ask about their experience and credentials.
4. Wear appropriate clothing that allows for proper movement. Loose-fitting clothes can get in your way or tangle you up which can cause falls.
5. This is very important if you’re a beginner, Start slowly and learn the basics first so that you don’t push your body too far.
6. Know what type of yoga you are performing. There are hundreds of different forms of yoga, some more strenuous than others.
It’s important to learn which type of yoga will best suit your needs.
7. A good mat and proper props are essential for proper practice. Don’t engage yourself in yoga on a carpet, wood floor, or slippery mat.
8. Don’t quit early. Complete your full practice with the integrity that it deserves. If you set aside 60 minutes or 90 minutes to practice, fulfill that whole time, without distraction.
9. During yoga, keep your awareness on what you are doing. Don’t compare or compete with others in the class. Listen to your own body and practice safely at your own edge.
10. Never force or strain to get into a specific position. Relax briefly between each practice.
11. Learn to distinguish between pain and sensation. Should help you focus your attention solely on your edge, you should be challenged not strained.
12. While doing an asana, your breathing is very important. Follow the specific instructions for breathing if applicable, for a given asana. Otherwise, practice normal breathing, which must be rhythmic.
13. Avoid junk food and try to eat fresh fruits, milk, vegetables. This will help your body’s natural process of eliminating toxic waste products from your body.
14. Have a diet rich in fiber so as to avoid constipation as it is a hurdle for yoga practice. With regular yoga practice and proper diet, you can say goodbye to constipation.
15. A good night’s sleep is mandatory for profitable yoga practice.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.