Rein in the Wandering Mind

Can I do yoga only if I am completely fit?

A young person with no known medical history can take up any yoga pose or asana. But, if you are having a medical problem, consult your doctor/yoga instructor for the yoga asanas appropriate to your health. Yoga exercises for relaxation and pranayama like shava asana, bal asana, yoga nidra, rhythmic breathing and alom vilom can be generally done by all, irrespective of age and health (if you cannot sit, you can do all the above mentioned asanas lying down).

Can I start yoga practice through online instructions or by reading books?

Yes, you can start with pranayama and easy yoga poses. When you start doing yoga, you can seek help to select your yoga sequence in accordance with your age, physical condition and medical history. Start with asanas which you feel are comfortable for you.

What is the ideal time for yoga?

Ideal time for yoga is one to two hours before sunrise. You may carry out yoga in the evening provided you have not eaten anything for last 3 to 4 hours. It is best to do yoga on an empty stomach, but you can have lime juice or tea 30 minutes prior to yoga practice.

I do stretching at the gym; isn’t it the same in yoga?

Although yoga involves stretching your muscles, it is a whole different ballgame than the few warm-up stretches you might do at the gym. Let’s look at a few of the ways yoga is different:

• Yoga places emphasis on alignment, meaning that how you are touching your toes is more important than whether you can actually touch them or not.
• Attention to the breath and tuning in to the subtle sensations of the body introduce a mindfulness to even simple yoga poses that is missing from stretching.
• Most yoga poses are not stretching an isolated area, but rather involve the whole body in both stretching and strengthening.
• Many of today’s most popular yoga styles are vinyasa/flow. This means there is movement from pose to pose with an awareness of the breath, making this style of yoga very fluid.
• Asana, or the physical practice of postures, is only one aspect of yoga practice, albeit the most well-known one these days. Even if you only engage in yoga through asana practice (an excellent place to start) be aware of the eight limbs of yoga.

Do I have to stop taking alcoholic drinks / non-veg for doing yoga?

As per yoga philosophy, alcoholic drinks / non-veg are to be avoided. But, as a beginner, you can have them in moderation. Excess of drinks or non-veg diet may not give you appreciable benefits from yoga practice. If you become regular in yoga practice for some time, you may not need either of them.

Why moderation is recommended in yoga?

In yoga practice, the ultimate aim is to rein in the wandering mind. You have to look for happiness inwards. Therefore, it is recommended not to be a slave of habits. Do not go overboard for anything, practice moderation in talking, sleeping, eating or sex.

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