While yoga has topped the health and lifestyle trend chart for years, it now seems to be the only way to remain healthy in the wake of frequent lockdowns and lurking fear of Coronavirus pandemic spreading.
Given the health risks involved in going out for jogging or running, it is best to roll out the yoga mat at home. But following a routine is not that easy. In many cases, the resolve to do asanas in the morning does not go beyond few weeks while in some the enthusiasm dissipates just after few days.
If you are a beginner, chances are that you would start with intense postures and expect instant results. Wish it happened that way. It is always recommended to move from easy postures to intermediate and then advanced. Breaking the order could lead to muscle injury or other pains.
Yoga is all about slow and steady wins the race. At each step of asana or pranayama, the practitioner has to feel the body and breath. Regular practice then lets him understand himself.
If the practitioner attempting downward dog pose fails to do the asana in the right alignment, he would feel the limitation of his body and mind. At times there may be need to make the body flexible while on the other mental limitations could be the reason and hence may just require a slight push.
It is therefore the first step while doing yoga at home is to understand your own body, accept it as it is and then gradually follow the well-laid path at your own pace without exerting the body. One may be disappointed by not being able to do Bhujangasana correctly while the lady in the You Tube video getting into the pose so smoothly and easily. But he must understand that the same must have been achieved by months of practice.
Here are the five easy easily doable steps that you may follow to reap rich dividend of yoga in the long run:
- Start with small and give yourself reasonable targets
Most new year resolutions go down the drain as the targets are unrealistic and very high self benchmarks are set. It is always wise to set small targets and achieve them so that you remain motivated to hit the next goal. Applying same rule, you can start with few postures and for small duration. It is even better to start with few minutes paranayamas but following a routine.
Over the period, when your mind and body are ready to go a level up, you can proceed to do intermediate level poses or pranayamas. You must remember that yoga is a philosophy and its aim is to eventually realise yourself, being witness to the union of individual self with the Universe. And, asanas are just a part of it to help the seeker gain stability and understand body-mind connection.
This is the reason, the first four limbs of the Ashtanga Yoga focuses on physical health with the remaining four on the mind. Maharshi Patanjali has laid more emphasis on mind.
- Set a routine and stick by it
One of the reasons that might be stopping you from leading a better life is your inability to set a routine or start your day early. Successful people overcome this shortcoming and achieve what they want. Their secret formula is to stick by their routine no matter what and push themselves a little harder initially until the efforts transform into a positive habit.
Yoga also emphasizes on following yama and niyamas as the first two steps for the right living, the rules that the yogis should stick to. Initially, hitting the mat at same time of the morning every day helps forming the habit.
- Don’t fuss about the perfect yoga mat or gear
Unlike various fitness regimes which require a lot of expense, yoga lays stress on simplicity. There is a wide variety of yoga clothing and accessories available in the market and one may be tempted to buy it immediately. But one should remember the real purpose of choosing yoga as a way of life. If you have a good yoga mat, it is alright but if you don’t have one, spreading bed-sheet on the floor would suffice.
So, start with small and only with available resources. The big goal should be broken into several milestones to keep the motivation level high.
- Begin with a warm-up, understand your limitations
One of the mistakes that people new to yoga make initially is to start with complex asanas without proper warm up or going overboard with multiple rounds of asanas. Start slow and understand your body and the right way to do asanas. In the beginning, even 2-4 rounds of an asana are good enough.
There are asanas that are good for preparing the body for subsequent higher level asanas and the guidance of a yoga teacher can be taken regarding that. Online yoga courses come to the rescue of those who cannot afford an instructor or teacher at home. The intensity of asanas can be increased gradually and depending on the constitution of the body.
An overweight person may not be able to do some asanas perfectly in the beginning. It is perfectly alright but exertion must be avoided. One can prevent injuries and disappointments by slowly and steadily moving towards advanced asanas.
- Eat right and at the right time
Having a satvik meal and at the same time everyday prepares the body to go into the yoga zone and help you stay mindful which is important for yoga. It also makes your body healthy and keeps the energies in balance. Eating such food helps you feel calm, happy and contended.
You can have seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains etc. One should not overeat and pay attention to the hunger cues. Since yoga has to be practiced on an empty stomach and there should be a gap of 4-5 hours after your meal, it is advisable to pay attention to your eating routine too.
It is not advised to practice yoga on an empty stomach as it can lead to health troubles.