B.K.S Iyengar the world’s most famous yoga instructor compares the foundations of building to foundations of yoga. Just like a building needs to have its foundations in place before building a house, a person needs to have faith, discipline, determination and perseverance for their regular yoga practice. So here are the daily yoga routine for beginners that you must follow everyday to get the best out of your practice. Throughout the post I am going to be using the word “asanas”, which means poses.
Cleanliness and food
Asanas should only practiced after evacuating your body’s waste or feces. However, if you are constipated or unable to evacuate the waste, then topsy turvy poses like the sirsana and sarvangasana would help. If evacuation still does not occur, then it is better to not perform the advanced asanas.
The asanas are practiced smoothly and efforlessly after a shower because our body feels more energized and refreshed. Ofcourse it goes without saying that you need to take a shower after the practice just like we take a bath after regular excercising but allow 15 minutes for your body to cool down before bathing.
It is advisable to practice asanas on an empty stomach so that you don’t feel the fullness during the poses. Also the digestion process takes up a lot of the energy, which means you will less likely feel as energized after the practice. If you are hungry then take liquids as they digest easily such as milk, tea or coffee. Asanas can only be practiced one hour later after a very light meal. Otherwise, there must be atleast 4 hours gap before asanas can be performed after a heavy meal.
Best time for practice
Morning is the best time to practice the asanas, as in the morning the mind is still, determined and enthusiastic while the body is stiff. As the evening approaches, the mind is preoccupied and unstable but the body is more responsive to movements than in the morning, hence the asanas are performed smoothly in the evening. Evening practice unwinds the body from the daily stress and activities and removes fatigue to prepare our body for better sleep while the morning practice boosts your body and mind with energy and a feeling of lightness with a positive attitude to perform and act in a better way. Hence that is why the morning time practice is more preferable.
If you are practicing your yoga session in the morning, then the pranayamas should be finished before the asanas. The pranayamas should be performed for 15-20 minutes, following some time gap roughly half hour followed by asanas or you could do the asanas some other time of the day that best suits you. If you are doing your yoga session in the evening, then pranayamas should be followed after the asanas, by repeating the same time gap in between as mentioned above. If you are unsure from where to start your practice as a beginner, you might be interested to take a look at the 10 basic yoga positions for beginners in my earlier post.
Environment and surroundings for practice
Do not practice asanas after you have been directly exposed to sun during hot summer season for several hours.
Select a place for practice that is free of flies or noise, so that your practice is not disrupted. Some fresh air is very important during practice, I live in a cold country so I leave a tiny bit of my window open and roll on a cardigan. Neither should you practice on a bare floor or an uneven floor, roll a blanket or yoga mat underneath yourself.
Correcting Body Alignments
In the starting it is advisable to open your eyes while practicing the asanas. Otherwise you would not know if you are performing the poses correctly or if your movements are aligned. Once you have acquired the perfect position then you may close your eyes and feel the impact of the stretches on your body. If you are performing the asanas in front of the mirror, then the mirror should be straight perpendicular to the floor or else if the mirror is angled, it might seem that you are not aligned. Also the mirror needs to provide entire coverage of the body that means the mirror should be located on the floor or else you will not be able to observe the inverted poses or topsy turvy poses properly.
The Brain and body
While practicing the asanas, the body should be active and the brain should be passive; that means the brain should be alert and watchful but not judgemental of your practice. That way you will know what mistakes you are making without developing a point of view about yourself pertaining to the asanas. Feeling of uneasiness and discomfort is a sign that the poses are not being performed correctly.
Precautions during menstruation and pregnancy
Inverted or difficult poses should not be performed during menstruation. If you are having heavy, painful or irregular periods then asanas like the Baddha Konasana, Virasana, balasana, vajrasana would be very helpful in resuming normal periods and providing pain relief.I have covered this section in one of my article, yoga poses for menstruation
For a healthy pregnancy, all the asanas are extremely helpful and they all can be practiced for the first three months of pregnancy. However the standing and forward bending poses should be performed slowly with gentle movements. Baddha konasana and upavistha konasana are the poses that can be practiced throughout the pregnancy and they can be performed at any time of the day even after meals. These asanas strengthen the pelvic and back muscles that are very helpful for a smooth delivery with considerably lower labour pain. Pranayamas should definitely be performed throughout the pregnancy because not only is it very beneficial for a natural and smooth delivery but also supports the growth of a healthy baby and a healthy mom.
After delivery avoid practicing any asanas until a month. Later on few easy asanas may be practiced with gentle movements. Eventually three month proceeding the delivery all asanas can be performed smoothly.
Do you have a routine set for your yoga practice yet or have you thinking of getting into a routine? Leave your suggestions below and I will be happy to get back to you as soon as I can.