Yoga is for all; it can be practiced by any individual regardless of their age. It is the only health regimen with no side effects when performed correctly under the guidance of a good tutor. This welcoming quality of yoga draws people towards it. However, there are a few steps everyone must take before they begin their practice.
*Always visit a physician or a doctor to get a thorough diagnosis of your body. Knowing what ails the body will help you understand how your yoga practice must be designed.
*Meet and get to know your yoga teacher; choose a guide you are comfortable with. In return, let them know if you have any health issues that require special attention so they may be better equipped to give you the best experience.
*Start slow. In the beginning, we are not too familiar with the movements, capabilities and limits of our bodies. Take time to understand your body and practice mindfully. The body may not be used to various postures, twists and movements, and hence, the asanas must be practiced slowly in order to develop the necessary muscle strength. Once you become a regular practitioner, the postures will be a natural reflection of your body, so always remain committed to your practice.
*Begin your practice with meditation for self-awareness and clarity. This will ensure that your session goes smoothly and you enjoy every minute of your practice. It will also help you give 100 per cent to your practice.
Here are a few basic, introductory asanas, pranayama and meditation techniques for beginners of the yoga practice, as suggested by grandmaster Akshar:
*Sit down with your legs stretched out forward.
*Fold your right leg and drop your right knee to the right side.
*Fold the other leg and form a cross with your calf muscles.
*Straighten your back and place the back of your palms on your knees.
*Stand up straight.
*Ensure that your spine is erect and avoid hunching your back.
*Allow your arms to hover on either side of your body.
*Once you achieve balance, close your eyes and focus on your body and breath.
*Stand up straight and stretch your arms upward.
*Interlock your fingers and face your palms upward.
*Lift your heels off the floor and balance your body weight on your toes.
*Stretch your arms as high as you can to lengthen your spine.
Surya Namaskar is a series of asanas performed in a cycle of 24 counts. It is most beneficial if performed in the early hours of the morning and has innumerable health benefits. It gives all around body strength and is suitable for people of all ages and stages of life.
*Sit down in any comfortable posture.
*Form a cup with your palms and place them facing upward on your knees. This is symbolic of receiving divine energies.
*Ensure that your back is not hunched and that your spine is erect.
*Close your eyes.
*Inhale and fill your lungs with air, now exhale to empty your lungs of air.
*Continue this rhythmic inhalation and exhalation while being conscious of every breath.
*This practice can last 5 minutes or more as per your comfort.
*Remain seated in a comfortable posture with your eyes closed.
*Imagine a point of focus outside your heart chakra, in front of your chest.
*Create a similar point of focus within your chest.
*Inhale for 6 counts from the point of focus outside your body to the focal point within your body.
*Retain this breath for 6 seconds.
*Now remove that breath from the point of focus inside your body by exhaling for 6 seconds.
*Then hold your breath and repeat the same process once again.
These age old techniques help bring a wave of freshness to your day-to-day living, and must be practiced on a regular basis. Their immense benefits can help you lead a life of great health and positivity.