PRECAUTIONS AND ADVICE FOR YOGA STUDENTS
World Peace Yoga School, Rishikesh,Himalayas
Please read the information below before you attend or practice Hatha yoga.
The Yoga postures are designed in a very simple, systematic and scientific way to make our body, mind, emotions, and soul balanced. We follow the tradition of Yogis and Rishis of the Himalayas and ancient yogic teachings of India which are mentioned in the texts like Yog-Vashistha, Yoga-Sutra, Gherand-Samhita, Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika, Shiv-Samhita, Bhagavat-Geeta. We follow the traditional way of Hatha practices, breathing, concentration and meditation.
ASTHI-GRANTHI KRIYA (BONE-JOINTS EXERCISES), AND HATHA YOGA-SESSIONS
In the morning the body is not that much flexible because at night the body does not move so much and because of cold. In the evening because of heat and so much walking and activeness the body is flexible. So it is good to start with bone-joints exercises in the morning to make the joints and glands prepared for hatha practices. In the evening mainly we focus on the classical postures which may have the slow or rapid movement of the body, smooth flow of the body and the meditative attention of the movement of the body. In many postures according to the students capacity we use different kind of breathing practices and mantras to enhance the quality of Yoga practice. To make the body flexible and strong one need to practice regularly.
GUIDELINES AND PRECAUTIONS
During the hatha yoga classes the teacher will provide you as complete as possible information. Still it is needed for each one of us to always remain aware of some precautions in the practice of asanas. Hatha yoga is all about awareness of what happens in our body, breath and mind. This enables us to listen to our body and to respect its limits in a given moment of time, which may change from day to day. Yoga practice is not meant to be an aerobic exercise or about how far one can stretch or bend forward. As we study our inner Self, comparision with others is pointless. The main principle in hatha yoga is Ahimsa – non-violence to ourselves and to others. Learn to have faith in the wisdom of the signals of our body and breath. E.g.if the breath becomes irregular, we are probably putting too much effort in the practice. Go a little less far. God resides in the body so body is Divine and we have to treat the body with friendliness and respect. Be nice and gentle with yourself.
In case of any serious health problems and in case of doubts regarding health issues, please before participating in the hatha yoga classes share your doubts with the teacher. In this way you enables us to properly give you guidelines to prevent further problems and to help you where possible with specific exercises to restore a healthy body and mind. Here below will follow some general precautions about some common health issues.
- Natural flow of breath – In Rishi yoga Tradition we practice letting the breath flow naturally, no jerks, no noise, no pauses, starting with an even length of inhalation and exhalation. Maintaining a free flow of the breath at all times will help to save us from injuries.
- Practice with empty stomach – Before starting to practice asanas the bladder should be emptied and bowels evacuated, especially before the practice of advanced asanas. Wait at least two hours after having a light meal; wait four hours after a heavy meal. Asanas should preferably be done on empty stomach. If this is difficult, a cup of tea, coffee, cocoa or milk may be taken before starting then.
- Complications – Many postures affect the internal organs. If there is food in the stomach, the practice of asanas will cause discomfort and can lead to complications.
- Practice of asanas for curing diseases must be done under the personal guidance of an experienced instructor.
- The qualifications required for an aspirant are discipline, faith, tenacity, confidence, love and perseverance to practice regularly without interruptions.
- Yoga practices are to be done after cleaning teeth, tongue, and mouth.
- Taking a bath before the practice of asanas refreshes the body and mind, and makes the practices easier. Cold bath should not be taken less than half an hour after finishing practice.
- Asanas should be done either in the morning or in the evening according to the convenience of the yoga practitioner.
- Asanas should be done in a clean place, free from insects and noise.
- Always practice asanas on a level surface, and use a blanket for supine postures.
- Do not wear spectacles, jewellery, watches or hairgrips when you do asanas. They may get damaged or causes injuries.
- Do not practice asanas after being outing the hot sun for several hours.
- No undue strain should be felt in the facial muscles, ear and eyes or in breathing during the practices
- All the practices should be done rhythmically, slowly and without any jerky movements.
- Mental tension, overstrain are to be avoided.
- A mechanical way of doing the practices will not have much effect; therefore, each and every practice has to be performed with a correct attitude of mind.
- During the practice avoid unnecessary talk.
- In the beginning keep the eyes open, in order to observe any mistakes. After some experience, close eyes in particular in particular asana only, in order to adjust the body, feel the correct pose and enhance concentration.
- During the practice of asanas, it is the body alone which should be active while the brain should remain passive, watchful and alert. If the brain is active you may not be able to notice mistakes.
- After completing the practice of asanas, always lie down in savasana for atleast ten to fifteen minutes, as this will remove fatigue.
- All forward bending poses are beneficial for persons suffering from high blood pressure.
- All back arching, and lateral twists are especially advisable for people suffering from
- Those who are suffering from pus in the ear or displacement of the retina should not perform inverted poses.
- Menstruation Women should preferably not practice asanas during this time, but take rest. They should especially not practice inverted postures (this means: the postures in which the pelvis is higher than the head). During menstruation the blood flow is directed downwards; inverted postures would distort this natural flow. Other postures to be avoided are those which strongly activate the abdomen (e.g. fire series or vigorous pranayama). During menstruation it is recommended to concentrate more on joints movements Exercises, relaxation, nadi-shodhanam and meditation. Easy forward movement can be practiced in this period.
- Lower back problems. Be extra careful, listen to your body. Don’t continue your standing posture series if you start feeling pain or irritation in your lower back. Take rest, relax! Always in backward bending postures we have to protect the lower back by properly activating the legs and pelvis. Check the teacher if you have doubts whether you are performing the asanas in a safe way. Whenever you feel strain in the lower back: lie down on your back, bring your knees towards your chest and rest your lower back on the ground to release the tension.
- Eye problems. Take care not to put strain on the eye musles. Practice the eye movement exercises in the joints and glands-series in a gentle way. Avoid doing inverted postures and vigorous pranayama. In case of doubt, ask the teacher.
- Surgery. Don’t put pressure in the still vulnerable areas that were under surgesry. Listen to your body and to any advise that you may have received from your physician.
- High blood pressure and heart conditions. Avoid inverted postures. In breathing practices avoid the holding and vigorous exercises. Consult the teacher in case of doubt.
- Pregnancy. Practice diaphragmatic equal breath and a lot of nadi shodhanam. The oxygen exchange will improve, which helps the baby. Don’t do backward bends, stretch ups or inverted postures (because of the way the placenta is attached). No pelvic rotations, no spinal twists, no vigorous pranayama. Don’t stretch the muscles in the abdomen. Use joints and glands exercises. Trust what your body tells you. Relaxing the face muscles is beneficial: it relaxes the muscles of the pelvic floor.