The place of practice should be clean, quiet and well ventilated. There should be no bad smells, dampness or cold draughts. The area should be uncluttered with furniture and other objects. Try to use the same place every day to build up an atmosphere of peace.
Shower & food before yoga asanaTake a wash or bath and go to the toilet before the practice of yoga asana if possible.
Wait for at least three hours after food before doing yoga asanas. You can take food after your asana program if you wish.
If possible do neti before commencing your yoga practice. Either jala neti1 or sutra neti is suitable.
Time to practice yoga asanaThe best time to practise yoga asana is before breakfast, early in the morning, though other times are also suitable. In fact one will find that yoga asanas are much easier to do in the afternoon and evening, because the body is not very flexible in the morning. But nevertheless, the morning is the best time for there are peaceful vibrations in the air, and one gains greater benefits and a good preparation for the coming day. Also in the early morning there are fewer pressing distractions to drag you away from your practice, either physically or mentally.
Duration for yoga asana practiceThe duration of yoga asana practice should be regulated according to your available time, though the longer the better. Don't set your aims too high in the beginning; only do as much practice as you can easily manage every day without fail. Many people set themselves an unrealistic program which they do for the first few days, and then the enthusiasm slowly fades and eventually they don't practise at all. So be realistic in choosing the duration of your program, and once you have set it, stick to it regularly.
Choose your yoga asana program carefullyThe program of asanas should be carefully chosen. The order of practising different asanas is very important to gain maximum benefits. Certain asanas supplement each other, whereas others detract from each other. Therefore it is important to choose a systematic yoga asana program.
If you feel physically or mentally tired before or during the yoga asana program, perform relaxation asanas such as shavasana and naukasana. Don't use excessive force to attain the final positions of the asanas.
Your muscles should be slowly encouraged to stretch over a period of time. You are trying to develop mental control over the muscles and to do this one should try to will the muscles to relax and then they will automatically stretch.
Clothings for yoga asana practiceClothing should be as light as possible under climatic conditions, so that you can practice yoga asana without any discomfort.
How should be breathing throughout yoga practiceBreathing should be done through the nose, not through the mouth. It should be as deep and rhythmical as possible.
Close your eyes as much as possible throughout the practice. This will help to intensify your awareness.
Less effort during yoga asana practiceThe less physical effort that is required the better. The aim is to perform yoga asanas with as little tension or muscular effort as possible.
Don't hurry under any circumstances. If you lack time to complete your daily program, leave out a few yoga asanas and do the others at a normal slow, relaxed pace.
Do the yoga asana slowly & smoothlyDon't underestimate the importance of the movements to and from the final poses. They should be done slowly, smoothly, with control and in synchronization with the breath.
If you feel mentally or physically tired after the program of asanas, it is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong - perhaps trying too hard or tensing the muscles too much, or tending to concentrate too hard.
You should feel calmness and strength in both mind and body at the end of your practice, far more than when you started.
Don't try to stretch your muscles further than is comfortable.
The mental attitude is very important in this respect. If you autosuggest to yourself that you want the muscles to stretch, then the mind will automatically take steps to prepare the body to attain what you want.
There are no specific limitations on the practice of asanas with regard to age or sex. However, people who have specific illnesses should not do certain asanas.
Don't practise asanas if you are ill with a cold or diarrhoea etc. At these times the body is directing its energy to specific areas to fight the illness; let it perform its duties unimpeded.
Proceed from the simpler asanas to the more difficult ones.