Thursday, 6 October 2011

Getting Started

Q1. Checklist before I start yoga.

Check with your doctor:

Yoga can be of enormous benefit to your health, but one should also be careful that its practice does not aggravate an existing problem. So one should consult a doctor before starting a yoga program. Your doctor, in addition to assessing whether a yoga program is appropriate for you, can also provide valuable insight as to how to approach your yoga safely. Once you have this information, you can work with both your instructor and doctor to determine ways of modifying your yoga practice around those guidelines. 

Clarify the benefits:

Yoga carries many potential benefits, but these benefits will differ based on style of yoga and level of difficulty. Most forms of yoga help to promote our flexibility, but the more gentle and beginner-oriented styles won't always bring an intense change of muscle tone. So one should set a goal and then only take up the level of yoga. You're more likely to find a match to your needs and preferences if you're clear on what it is you're hoping to accomplish. 

Set realistic expectations:

Do not expect to see drastic changes within days of practicing yoga. One should bear in mind that yoga is not a "10 days to complete fitness" kind of activity. You will benefit from yoga and see its effect over time and not instantaneously. 

Screen your instructor and/or video carefully:

Do not just join any instructor or start yoga classes just because a friend recommended it. Check them out before you start. Your first consideration should be that whether this person can instruct you safely and effectively. Certification doesn't guarantee quality, but it is a start. Yoga Experts recommend that you look for a teacher who continues to be an active student, continues to study yoga, and regularly practices yoga daily. 

One person's favorite instructor may be someone else's worst nightmare....personality means a great deal when finding the right match. 

Give it a Try:

One should not be discouraged if you can't perform the poses perfectly in the beginning. Don't give up after just one trial run. If you are not satisfied with one instructor or video, try another one, as one style is different from the other and may or may not suit you. 

Research the basic tools:

The yoga market is booming. Everywhere there is yoga kit, yoga accessories, yoga related tool etc. A mat is the basic accessory which you must have and is indispensable. You can always add tools as you decide you need them, but start small, and focus more on committing to regular yoga practice. 

Give yourself time:

Your first few attempts might feel more awkward and frustrating, due to the fact that yoga is such an unfamiliar activity. Now, if you're feeling pain or discomfort, certainly that's a sign to stop, as your body is telling you that something is wrong. If, however, you're just not sure, or you feel clumsy, inflexible, or confused, stick with it. Give it a good 8-10 weeks before deciding how you feel about it. This will allow tension and stress, which are commonly higher when first learning yoga, to slowly, gradually be released.

Comfort should be your priority:

Your first and foremost approach to yoga should be that it must be comfortable and should be practiced at your own pace. Customize your poses at the level that feels best to you. Don't ever let anyone physically push your body into a position beyond that which you are able to assume by yourself; don't let anyone coax you to go further than you wish to go.
Q2. How should I find and choose a Yoga class and instructor that is suitable for me?
Try to select a teacher or instructor whom you like. Though a certificated instructor is more acceptable and desired, on should also take care to enroll in a class where you find the instructor inspiring, friendly, encouraging, and supportive.

Yoga is intensely personal so it is critical that you like and trust the teacher. He/she will be touching your body to adjust your alignment, so you need to feel totally safe with him/her. A good instructor will make the class a secure and peaceful experience for students.
Look for someone who can adapt poses to your particular level and physical challenges--say a bad back or injured knee. Before committing yourself to a particular class, interview several teachers about their credentials and approach.
Q3. Should I opt for private instructions?
Yes, one should go for private sessions. Your private yoga instructor can come to your house whenever it's convenient for you and work with you on the specific poses or elements that you'd like to focus on. The teacher can explain to you how to deepen certain poses, which techniques to use for meditation and how to breathe properly. In private sessions, you also receive adjustments for the duration of the class, which helps you to go deeper into the pose.
Q4. Should I join a yoga class or can I follow a routine from a book/Internet?
While many books and videos provide information about yoga, there is no substitute for the personal guidance of an experienced teacher. Not only does studying with a teacher greatly minimize the risk of injury, a teacher is also able to instruct proper breathing, keep a student motivated and focused, and provide support along the path.
Q5. Where should I practice Yoga?
All you need to practice yoga is a small space and a little time. There is no specification as to where you should practice. One can practice Yoga at home, in the office, at the beach, in a park, anywhere where one has a bit of room, peace and quiet and some fresh air. Ideally you should have enough space to roll out a yoga mat.
Q6. Can I practice yoga at home?
Yoga can be done anywhere. In order to practice yoga at home, first you must know the postures and nothing can substitute for a good teacher. At first you should attend some classes to get a feedback from the teacher, and then you can follow a yoga video at home and then work out the sequences yourself. But for beginners it is recommended to attend classes or have an instructor and use videos and books as supplements.
Q7. When should I practice Yoga?
The best time to practice yoga is in the morning before breakfast. You should leave at least two to three hours after a heavy meal before beginning your practice. Practicing Yoga Breathing and Meditation Exercises at night helps induce a deep, restful sleep.
Q8. Which is the best time to practice yoga?
The best time to practice yoga is early in the morning. But if not possible then, you can practice Yoga in the evening at least four hours after your lunch.
Q9. What should be the duration of yoga class or practice?
Yoga Sessions need not be lengthy, but should be done daily. As little as 15 minutes of exercises and 15 minutes of breathing and meditation each day can yield benefits. However, you can start by practicing yoga 3-4 times per week, 30-60 minutes per day. Any yoga is better than no yoga, and 20 to 30 minutes a day is better than 90 minutes once a week. It is best to start slow and gradually build up the duration per day and per week. Your body may change a lot the first year of yoga, and you need to listen and adapt/adjust your practice to work with your body. Most importantly do not push yourself, and do what feels good for your body.
Q10. How often should I practice yoga?
Practicing yoga everyday is desirable. But if you have a time crunch, practicing thrice a week is optimal. But this does not mean that you need to practice aggressively in order to make up. Obviously, the more you practice, the more you benefit, but not at the cost of hurting yourself.


Post a comment