Yoga tips

  • Any reasonably healthy person can do yoga - it doesn't matter if you are not supple or can't sit in lotus position - neither can most of us! Yoga is about learning to get the best from your body as it is.

  • If you are concerned that you have a medical condition, ask your Doctor's advice before practicing. Also discuss it with the Yoga teacher - they can probably give you some reassurance or advice on how to work in the postures.

  • Wear loose comfortable clothes that don't restrict your movements. Special clothes aren't essential, but often help.

  • Work in bare feet on a non-slip surface - many people like to use a yoga mat, but it's quite possible to work without one. If you're unlucky enough to get a foot infection, make sure the infected area is securely covered to prevent it spreading to others.

  • Always practice safely - if you feel that a pose is risky for you, you can opt out if you want. Discuss it with your teacher - they may be able to suggest something to help.

  • If working in a pose causes pain in your joints or spine, then stop - ask your teacher's advice!

  • If you need to eat before practice, then make it a very light snack at least an hour before.

  • If you are a beginner, you may find you get tired quickly and feel stiff. Rest assured your flexibility and stamina will increase remarkably quickly with practice!

  • Generally, go into a movement on the out breath. Keep the breath soft, gentle and normal whenever possible. Never hold your breath in physical yoga poses.

  • Many poses are best achieved by extending, stretching and "letting go" - as your muscles elongate, your joints can move more freely.

  • Hold a pose only as long as you can continue to "let go". When it becomes a strain, it's often better to ease off or stop. Your stamina will increase with practice, but you won't enjoy it so much if you overstrain!

  • Don't be put off if others seem to be able to get their arms & legs into more extreme positions than you - it doesn't mean they are "better at yoga" or get more from their practice! The best thing is to work in the position that gives you most benefit.

  • Many poses stretch first to one side then the other - hold these poses the same length of time for both sides.

  • Don't worry if one side seems more flexible or stronger or easier than the other - this is quite normal! Practice both sides as equally as possible.

  • Some poses, particularly standing poses, may sometimes seem like hard work - but the reward is usually a better relaxation!


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Page updated January 31, 2009