Support for Your Yoga Practice
The Benefits of Yoga Practice
Getting the Most from Your Classes
As you begin your yoga program, especially if you have not been regularly exercising, you may experience some mild aches or muscle soreness. As yoga returns your body to a healthier postural alignment, muscles are being stretched in unaccustomed ways. Most aches disappear in a few days. Be patient with your body and be persistent with your practice. It is essential to keep practicing and to regularly attend class. You will notice improvement in strength, endurance, muscle tone, and overall fitness level, and a reduction of stress and tension.
Take full advantage of your class membership and you will love the results!
Guidelines for Beginners to Yoga
- Inform your teacher of any medical condition.
- Listen carefully to the teacher’s instructions.
- Pay attention to your body and never force or strain in a pose!
- If you feel pain or discomfort in a pose, stop! Ask the teacher for help.
- Never hold a pose for so long that you cannot come out safely.
- In difficult poses, ask for the teacher’s assistance and go slowly.
- Don’t do any balancing pose if you think you might fall. Use the wall if necessary.
- Be responsible for your body and your practice.
- If you have a lower back condition, bend your knees in forward bends to keep strain off your back. Don’t try to go deeply into forward bending poses.
- Yoga is not competitive. Don’t compare yourself to others.
- Be patient. Work slowly and carefully to obtain the best results.
- Please be on time to class and tell the teacher if you need to leave early
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
First Limb, Yamas -The Five Restraints:
1. Ahimsa: Non-harming.
2. Satya: Truthfulness.
3. Asteya: Non-stealing
4. Aparigraha: Non-greediness
5. Brahmacharya: Conserving your energy.
The Second Limb, Niyama - Five Observances:
1. Sauca: Purity of Mind.
2. Santosha: Contentment.
3. Tapah: Austerity
4. Svadhyaya: Self-Inquiry.
5. Isvara-pranidhana: Commitment to a higher power.
The Third Limb, Asana - The Practice of Yoga Postures
Practice of yoga postures makes the body strong, light, and free from disease. Yoga increases bone density and muscles mass as you age. Keep your strength, flexibility and balance as you get older.
The Fourth Limb, Pranayama - Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises help to calm and quiet the mind.
The Fifth Limb, Pratyahara - Withdrawal of the Senses
Yoga helps you to withdraw from outer distractions so that the mind stays clear and calm.
The Sixth Limb, Dharana - Concentration
Whether you want to learn to play tennis or play the piano, nothing can be accomplished without concentration. Yoga shows you how to focus your mind so that it remains stable and steady, even in difficult situations.
The Seventh Limb, Dhyana - Meditation
Meditation means being able to keep the mind steady for longer periods of time. Medical studies show many health benefits of meditation - including maintaining higher levels of brain grey matter as we age.
The Eighth Limb, Samadhi - Pure Contemplation
This is the goal of yoga. It has many names in many cultures: moksha, nirvana, bliss, Oneness, liberation. This state, which is natural, is within us. Yoga shows us how to live life with freedom, joy and enthusiasm.
Maintain a Regular Daily Schedule
The Yoga tradition recommends you cultivate a daily routine that enhances your life and supports a regular practice of yoga.
- Every day, get adequate rest. Even if your day is very busy, take some time during the day to pause and rest. A few minutes of meditation or quiet reflection can help you feel refreshed and better able to resume your activities.
- Arise before dawn. In the early morning hours, the air is still fresh. The early morning hours are quieter.
- Do your yoga practice early in the morning, even if you only have time to do a few sun salutations or yoga postures. Include a few rounds of pranayama and 5-15 minutes of meditation. This sets the tone for the rest of your day.
- Go to bed at the same hour each evening and get adequate sleep.
Yoga Dietary Recommendations
- Eat foods that are fresh, local and in season.
- Eat foods that have been minimally processed and refined.
- If possible, eat food that you have prepared yourself, or cooked for you by someone who knows and loves you.
- The yoga tradition prefers vegetarian foods, which do not involve killing or harming other beings.
- Eat a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
- Eat without distractions. Do not eat in front of the TV or computer.
- Warm, cooked food is considered most nourishing for yoga.
- Don't eat too much or too little. Eat only when hungry. Avoid snacking.
- Try to eat the largest meal in the middle of the day rather than at night.