Guidelines for the Practice of Yoga Postures and Breathing Exercises

1. Learn breathing techniques and yoga postures from a qualified and experienced yoga teacher.

 2. Start the practice of breathing exercises and yoga postures with a short relaxation (2-4 minutes) and conclude with deep relaxation or yogic relaxation for 10-15 minutes.

 3. Morning is the best time for practicing yoga, because our bowels are empty and we are fresh after a long rest. However, for persons who are busy the second best time is evening.

 4. To practice yoga effectively, one’s clothing must be loose and comfortable. It is necessary to be able to move freely.

 5. Practice yoga only in a clean room; make a calm and serene atmosphere because the atmosphere will affect your practice.

 6. There must be at least three to four hours of time-gap between a heavy meal and yoga postures. It is better to start yoga with empty bowels. The empty stomach will help you to experience more physiological, psychological and also pranic freedom for the practice of breathing exercises and yoga postures.

 7. The sick, especially those who have undergone surgery, and who are suffering from heart disease, blood pressure, hernia, and eye or ear problems, must consult their physician and the yoga instructor before attempting to practice yoga postures. Remember: if you have a severe or persistent health problem, meet your doctor as early as possible.

 8. It is better to practice the yoga postures on a mat or on a thick bed sheet.

 9. Use of ornaments during the practice obstructs the free movements of the body. Therefore, avoid all type of ornaments.

 10. Silence helps us to concentrate and to devote all our attention to our breathing and other bodily movements. Therefore Maintain complete internal (do not allow your mind to wander) and external silence (avoid all types of noise).

 11. Practice with full concentration and self-awareness.

 12. Feel and experience each movement of your body and the flow of the air in and out of your lungs during your inhalation and exhalation.

 13. Do not observe your body as an object because whenever you observe your body merely as an object being possessed, you go mentally outside the body. This makes experience of your psyche’s oneness with the body difficult. Instead, give importance for integral feelings and experiences, and your consciousness will be one with the body. Thus, you can attain the union of body, mind and spirit.

 14. If you are attending a yoga session in a group and you need any clarification or you want to ask any question during yoga sessions, raise your hand instead of breaking the silence.

 15. If you have any pain or uneasiness in your body during the practice of different breathing exercises and yoga postures, inform the Yoga Master immediately, without any hesitation.

 16. Breathe only through the nostrils. Breathing must be natural and gentle, and you should experience the unbroken and gradual movement of breath, especially during relaxation and meditation.

 17. Movements must be slow, rhythmic and without strain. Do not go beyond your natural toleration. Stretching or bending to one’s utmost ability is not at all the ideal in yoga postures. Practice of all the yoga postures should be with the rhythm of your breathing. Remember: practice all the forward and sideway bending postures with exhalation and backward bending postures with inhalation.

 18. Relaxation between different postures is very important; therefore before you begin a new posture, make sure that you are completely relaxed and your breathing is normal.

 19. Women who have some difficulties during their menstrual periods should avoid difficult yoga postures during the periods. They can Practice yoga during their pregnancy, but breathing exercises should not include long stretches or holding one’s breath. After the initial months of pregnancy, face down postures should be avoided.

 20. After the practice of breathing exercises and yoga postures we should allow at least fifteen minutes to elapse before we take a bath or eat food.

 21. Read some literature on yoga so that you may know more about the art and philosophy of yoga.

Reference: Swami Devaprasad, (2010). DEVA YOGA for wholeness and wellness. Bangalore, India, Asian Trading Corporation (ATC)

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Our HEALTH is not only our personal property but also the property of our family, society and country. Any negligence to maintain our health is an injustice against our family, society and country.

Devaprasad Swami