Yoga has many benefits, and many people swear by it to maintain good health and mental well-being. To raise awareness about the benefits of this age-old practice, every year June 21 is observed as International Day of Yoga across the globe. The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Climate Action’.
On the occasion, yoga expert Bharat Thakur shares a few things one must keep in mind before and after a yoga session to derive full benefits from the practice.
*Also called ‘ananda chitta mudra’, maintaining a smile goes a long way in making your yoga session enjoyable. Work on maintaining it throughout the session.
Avoid filing up the stomach
*A typical yoga session includes postures, stretching, working on the breath and meditative practices. The lungs depend on the free and rhythmic movement of the abdominal muscles, the intercostal muscles around the ribs and also on the clavicular muscles around the neck. Ideally the back muscles should also be at ease.
*If you have eaten a full meal or a heavy breakfast then wait for two and a half hours before you practice yoga. If you have had fruits wait for an hour.
*It is essential to stay hydrated, but do not excessively fill up yourself with water or any other liquid before or during the session.
*Water and food can be consumed after about 10-15 minutes after the session.
*Before you begin the session, it is important to be ‘centered’ because we may be pre-occupied with many things. Centering will allow you to be fully present and concentrate of the session. It could be just closing your eyes and saying a prayer, or concentrating on your breathing.
Prepare the body
*The muscles and tissues around the joints need to be warmed up before the commencement of rigorous postures or movements.
*Start with gentle on-the-spot jogging for about 2-3 minutes. This will raise the body temperature and help warm up.
*Do a warm up routine that includes neck rotation, rotation of the wrists, shoulder movement or circumduction, hip wrist and ankle rotations, spinal twists and stretching of all the muscle groups of the body. Do slow forward bend followed by back bend while supporting the back with hands.
*The neck, shoulder, back and hamstrings need to be warmed up well.
*Keeping the mobile away or on silent will help you ‘switch off’ from the outside world and allow you to give your undivided attention to the session. This will also help event injuries and get better results.
*If you are not feeling fresh or if you are a little fatigued, a shower can help.
*Wear loose, comfortable cotton clothes. Why cotton? Because cotton breathes and absorbs the sweat and keeps you cool. Natural fiber is better on the skin than synthetic.
*If you are not exercising outdoors, then ensure that the room has enough ventilation.
*Soothing music can be used to put yourself in a meditative frame. Avoid heavy percussion and beats.
Illness and Health Profile
*Avoid the session on a day you feel unwell. If you have health issues such as blood pressure (high or low) or spinal injury, retinal problem, pain in any joint, acidity, or hernia, find out the do’s and don’ts before you begin a session.
*The last segment of the session should end with practices that are less vigorous and active. The body has to be allowed time to cool down. Gentle stretching is a good way to end the session.
*Shavasana is a very good way of closing the session. If you feel cold while doing it, cover yourself with a thin sheet.
*Once the body cools down, wear a jacket to keep yourself warm, specially if you have sweated and are in a cold place.
*Say a note of thanks will help you feel good about the session.