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How to Master Yoga: A Quick Guide for Beginners - Joji Mathew

By: Joji Mathew Joy

Updated : 20/06/2019 | Published : 20/06/2019

Holistic | Possess | Asanas | Meditation |

Why is yoga more popular in the Western world than in its motherland India? What impact yoga has on your success? How does yoga contribute to your health, wealth and social well being?
 
Hi everyone, I’m Joji Mathew Joy, in this Yoga blog series I am sharing with you the positive impact of yoga on your health, wealth and societal well being. Moreover, The basics of Yoga, Beginners Guide, How to Practice, and Simple asanas from home. However, if you want to skip over and read through the required part, you can click on the above highlighted links.
 
Yoga is beneficial to preserve physical fitness, musculoskeletal functioning and cardiovascular health. It helps in the process of controlling diabetes, respiratory disorders, hypertension, hypotension and many lifestyle-related disorders. Furthermore,  Yoga is rewarding to overcome depression, fatigue, anxiety disorders and stress, and to balance menopausal symptoms. Moreover, Yoga is an activity of creating a body and mind to lead an enthusiastic and fulfilling life.

The Indian Heritage of Yoga.

The word "Yoga" is derived from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” meaning "to join", "to yoke" or "to unite". According to Yogic scriptures, Yoga aids to the union of individual consciousness with universal consciousness. "Yoga" mention an inner science which embraces a variety of methods by which human beings achieve union between the body and mind to acquire self-realization.

Yoga is an art and science for healthy living. Yoga practice aspires to overcome all kinds of sufferings that lead to a sense of freedom (sādhana) in every walk of life with holistic health, happiness and harmony.

Adding on, Yoga is meeting yourself exactly where you are in the moment and accepting yourself. However, there will be a pose that you need to adjust yourself, moving on with the yoga practice, and the more you are gentle with yourself, surrender to the moment and connect to yourself, your Yoga practice will continue to develop further.

How can you master yoga as a beginner

In my opinion, being punctual and regular is one of the most important qualities you should have to master any task and in fact, yoga has no difference. I would always encourage you to be ready and prepared physically and emotionally for the sessions ten minutes early wherever you practice yoga. While practising yoga, a peaceful and quiet atmosphere is vital. Therefore, make sure that your mobile phones are either switched off or in silent mode.
 
Yoga demands cleanliness and purity of your soul and body. Hence, personal hygiene is important, and it would be sensible to have a bath before yoga practice.  Moreover, try to avoid using strong soaps or perfumes to avoid distraction if you are in a group. Furthermore, develope the habit of moving bowels every day early in the morning to keep your body healthy and pure. If your bowels are not moved, the ‘asanas’ do not come smoothly, and subtleties are not grasped.

Any workout soon after food is not healthy, and the same applies to yoga practice. Favourable time to practice yoga is after three to four hours of food.  This is to ease the different postures you clasp while practising yoga. Moreover, food in your stomach can cause discomfort and lead to complications. Having a cup of herbal tea, fruit juice or a fruit an hour before yoga would have no harm. You can drink water after yoga. However, food is recommended only after half an hour.

While practising yoga, it is a must that you are comfortable for the best possible outcome. I would recommend both men and women to wear a clean and comfortable dress that covers your upper and lower part of the body.

Through yoga practice, you are achieving a union between your body, mind and soul. Therefore, having control over your emotions, behaviour, or language would be beneficial for you as well as for those around you while practising yoga.

Finally, stay healthy and practice good health habits. Avoid smoking, alcohol and use of drugs, drinking coffee or tea. The effect of these substances can reverse the spiritual effect of ‘Sadhana’ on your body and mind by creating confusion and  reducing your energy level.  Consequently, destroying your sense of responsibility and discipline. 

Yoga Practice: Beginners Recommendations

Yoga is all about the awareness of what is happening in your body, breath and mind. Therefore, if you are a beginner, you should learn to trust the signals of your breath and body. This enables you to listen to your body and to respect its limits in a given moment, which vary day by day. The core principle of yoga ‘Ahimsa’ demands non violence from you and to others. Moreover, as a beginner, you should have discipline, faith, confidence, love and perseverance to practice yoga regularly.

Yoga should be practiced either in the morning or in the evening according to your convenience. All actions should be done rhythmically, slowly and without any jerky movements. It is highly recommended to avoid overstraining. A mechanical way of practising yoga will not have much effect; therefore, as a beginner, you should practice with a correct attitude of mind.

Yoga focuses on connecting your Body Mind and Soul. However, varying yoga postures can affect your internal organs. You, as beginner, should be aware of your health and limitations of your body while practising yoga. The vigorous practice of yoga is not advisable at any stage. You should be fully aware of your health, body, mind and soul and if doubtful at any stage, please seek expert opinions. Traditional yoga teaches you to practice letting your breath flow naturally; without noise, pause or jerks, starting with an even length inhalation and exhalation.  Maintaining a free flow of breath at all times is useful for you to avoid injuries. However, if you are a beginner, the practice of asanas for curing diseases should be in conjunction with experts advice.

Women if possible, do not practice asanas during menstruation, particularly, inverted postures as the pelvis lies higher than your head in this posture. During your menstrual cycle, the blood flow is directed downwards, and inverted poses would distort this natural flow. Other postures you need to avoid while practising yoga are those which strongly activate the abdomen. During this period, it is recommended to concentrate more on joints movements exercises, relaxation, nadishodhanam and meditation.  Moreover, Smooth forward movements of yoga practise are recommended during this time.

If you suffer from lower back problems, you should be extra careful and listen to your body while practising yoga. Avoid your standing posture series if you start feeling pain or irritation on your lower back. You need to take rest and relax in backward bending postures, to protect the lower back by properly activating the legs and pelvis. Whenever you feel strain at your lower back, lie on your back, with both knees towards your chest, resting your lower back on the ground to release the tension.

If you practice asanas after surgery, don’t put pressure in the still vulnerable areas that were under surgery.  You must listen to your body and your physicians/ surgeons advice.

 If you are suffering from heart problems or high blood pressure, try and avoid inverted postures. Furthermore, refrain from vigorous exercises and breath holding yoga practices.

During pregnancy, the practice of diaphragmatic equal breath and a lot of nadishodhanam is highly recommended. These yoga practices help you to improve the oxygen exchange and is good for the baby. However, backward bends, stretch ups,  inverted postures (because of the way the placenta is attached),  pelvic rotations, spinal twists, and vigorous pranayama should be avoided during pregnancy. If possible, try and avoid abdominal muscle stretches also. Joints and glands exercises are recommended and useful during pregnancy. Furthermore, relaxing the face muscles is beneficial as it helps to relax the pelvic floor muscles. Moreover, trust what your body tells you to do.

 

How to Perform Yoga

Yoga focuses on connecting your Body Mind and Soul. The three main areas of yoga practice are Asanas (Physical), Pranayama and Meditation. The asanas are performed on Standing, Sitting, and lying down positions.  These Yoga postures are designed in a very simple, systematic and scientific way to make your body, mind, emotions, and soul to balance. I have included an illustrated guide for you to practice different asanas in the following pages. You can click on the relevant links of your choice and preference and master the yoga skills at your convenience.

Sadilaja /CālanaKriyas/ Loosening Practices

●      Neck Bending
●      Shoulder’s movement
●      Trunk Movement
●      Knee Movement
 
Yogāsanas
 
A. Standing Postures

⮚     For the Beginners (Basic)

●      Tādāsana
●      Vrikśāsana
●      Pāda-Hastāsana
●      ArdhaCakrāsana
●      Trikonāsana
●      ParivrataTrikonasana

⮚     To  be continued (Advanced)

●      Virabadrasana(iii)
●      UthithaParsvakonasana
●      Natarajasana
●      Garudasana

 B. Sitting Postures

⮚     For the Beginners (Basic)

●      Vajrāsana/Veerāsana
●      Ustrāsana
●      Śaśākāsana
●      Marjariasana(Dog & Cat)
●      Bhadrāsana

⮚     To be continued (Advanced)

●      Mandūkāsana
●      Bakasana/Kakasana
●      Janusirsasana
●      Paschimottanasana
●      Kurmasana
●      Vakrāsana

 C. Prone Postures

●      Bhujangāsana
●      Śalabhāsana
●      Makarāsana
●      Sarpasana
●      Dhanurasana
●      ChathurangaDandasana
●      Ashtangasana
●      Sirshasana

 D. Supine Postures

●      Śetubandhāsana
●      Uttānapādāsana
●      Pavanamuktāsana
●      Malsyasana
●      Viparithakarani
●      Sarvangasana
●      Halasana
●      Chakrasana
●      Śavāsana

Prānāyāma

●      BastrikaPranayama
●  Nadiśodhana / Anuloma Viloma Prānāyāma
●      KapālabhātiPranayama
●      Ujjayi Pranayama
●      VibhagPranayama
●      ŚītalīPrānāyāma
●      Bhramari  Pranayama
 
Meditation.
 
●      Body Scan Meditation

 



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