While initially practicing yoga mainly two kinds of discomfort can arise. With beginners it is often a slight pain caused by the unusual stretching of muscle fibres. This slight discomfort will disappear soon with regular practice. More attention should be payed to the (quite positive) pain arising out of an old injury or an over-enthusiastic approach. Usually such pain indicates an already existing imbalance in your body. Contrary to the slight discomfort through stretching muscles, this latter pain can arise quite sudden. In such cases it is usually highly beneficial to continue with your yoga practice. Depending on the cause(s) of your imbalance, expert advice from a competent yogateacher is advisable though before continuing your practice.
If you have problems with your eyes, ears, heart, back or have suffered from broken bones and other injuries, it is important to let your instructor know. Same applies to pregnancy or an operation.
A basic guideline to be observed is a physical and mental sensibility, in order to feel and become aware of your own personal limits. Don’t break through them forcibly but allow the ‘process of surrendering and letting go’ take care of the situation. This way you can go beyond the present limitations gently, softly and with the awareness necessary to dive into the deeper realms of your own being. This way most discomfort can be avoided and your yoga practice will be very pleasant and full of joy.
Please also observe the following points:
- Don’t practice with a full stomach. Three to five hours after a full meal or one hour after a light snack must be. Also no more drinks at least twenty minutes prior to your practice.
- Avoid taking a shower or a bath right before or after practice. Cold or warm water can both over-sensitize your muscles.
- In order to carry your body weight evenly stand firmly on both your feet, distributing the weight between heels, ball of the feet, mound of the big toes and outer feet.
- Stretch your legs gently to the maximum. Pull your knee-caps up and gently pull the front thighs against the femur bone. This way your spine is free to move.
- Try to keep the chest (heart) open by gently lifting the breastbone up and forward keeping the lower ribs in at the same time. Keep the shoulders relaxed, back and down away from your ears. This way your spine is being lifted slightly forward and upward and gives you the desired support.
- The neck builds a natural extension of the rest of your spine. Don’t allow the head to tilt to the side (to hang down), especially when you tilt the upper body to the side.
- Deepen your breath. The rhythm of the breath should be even and natural and not be interrupted unless otherwise instructed as in certain Pranayamas.
- If you want to practice yoga regularly, safely and correctly you should look for a competent school, teacher or master. Take your time in this and look for a teacher that suits your needs. And don’t worry about finding the ‘right’ one, cause: If the student is ready the teacher appears!
Yoga cannot be learned from books or from a website!