Guidelines for Postures

aumsm..Guidelines for Asanas

  1. Professional guidance is essential, especially in correctly understanding and applying fundamental principles. Teachers are very useful especially for beginners in helping them stay on the path and avoid misunderstandings.

  2. Practice asana regularly in a clean and quiet place in nature, sheltered from excess heat, cold and wind.

  3. Before you begin ensure that the stomach, bladder and bowels are empty.

  4. Wear loose and comfortable clothes made from natural fibres. Remove all jewellery, watches and spectacles/glasses. For stability, always practise on a yoga mat or blanket, but not on a thick or large spongy mattress.

  5. Make sure you have plenty of space to freely move around. Do not practise under a ceiling fan or near furniture.

  6. Always warm up and loosen the whole body at the start of a session with dynamic stretches or surya namaskar.

  7. Asana is practised to gain alertness, lightness and steadiness of the body and the ability to remain comfortable in a pose, in preparation for prolonged periods of time sitting in meditation.

  8. Asana practice should be sensible and well structured. Choose asanas that are within your capability. Practise easy asana for several months before attempting advanced variations. Do not over-stretch your limit. Do not strain. Be gentle and avoid injury.

  9. Direct all your positive thoughts to yourself. Each asana should be performed slowly with complete awareness of the body, breath and mind. Without total inner awareness the many benefits are reduced. Learn the awareness point for each asana, whether it is part of the body, one of the corresponding chakras or energy channels, the breath, oneness, or emptiness.

  10. Always breathe gently, smoothly and completely through the nose. Do not strain. It is extremely important to co-ordinate the asana with the breath. Each breath affects the intensity of the asana. Forward bending poses lend themselves to holding the breath following exhalation. Backward bending poses lend themselves to holding the breath following inhalation.

  11. To keep the body balanced and avoid negative side-effects, always do the correct counter-pose for each main asana: a forward bend followed by a backward bend. To avoid creating more tension make sure that the counter-pose is simpler than the main asana.

  12. Accept your starting point and progress gradually with a suitable and structured program. Avoid contortionism and gymnastic competition.

  13. If you feel tired at anytime, rest in corpse pose. At the end of your asana practice always relax in corpse pose for 10 minutes.

These guidelines and precautions should be carefully observed before practicing asana. It is highly recommended to study asana with a qualified and experienced yoga instructor. Though any person may start to practice asana, they are only truly effective and beneficial if practiced correctly and in the proper manner, and after correct preparation. It is recommended that you warm-up the body with Surya Namaskar or dynamic stretches before practicing asana. This will loosen up the body, remove simple physical blockages and can greatly enhance your asana and meditation session.

Regular, systematic practice with patience, gentleness and determination is essential for success. It is advised that you take it really slowly at first. Asana practice should be sensible and well structured. Each asana should be performed slowly with complete awareness of the body, breathing and mind. Inverted and advanced asanas should be practiced with caution to avoid negative side-effects.

Warning: People suffering from sciatica, slipped disc, high blood pressure, coronary ailments and any other serious illness should seek professional medical advice before commencing asana. To avoid injury always consult your medical doctor before commencing any health program. The amount of physical activity you perform should be safely within your physical limitations. Proceed with a suitable and structured program.

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