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More on the practice of yoga…

June 2, 2011
Yoga should be done in a light and well ventilated room. The room should be quiet and clean. Fresh air is essential. Air conditioning is not recommended as it changes the electrical charge of the oxygen we breathe. This makes it difficult for the body to absorb it. Negatively charged oxygen is more beneficial to the body. This is probably why we feel invigorated after a lightning storm. There should be enough space for you to stretch out and move with ease. If the weather is pleasant do your yoga practise outside. Wear as little clothing as decency and the weather permit. All clothing should be loose and comfortable. Perform your postures in bare feet. If the weather is cold wear socks. Special, sticky yoga mats are available but are not essential. A large bath towel or small mat will suffice. When practising at home choose a time when there will be no interruptions. Remember to turn on the answering machine or take the phone off of the hook. The body is less supple in the morning than in the evening. A warm shower can loosen the muscles and joints before a morning yoga session. Bolsters or pillows and a chair can be used for support in the more difficult postures. Ensure that these items are laid out before starting the session.

  • It is important to relax between postures to allow the heart rate and the breathing to return to normal.
  • Do not do folded leg postures if suffering from varicose veins or venous blood clots.
  • Use the wall or a chair to support extra weight if necessary.
  • When bending forward, stretch out from the hips. Do not curve the spine.
  • Do not clench your teeth while practising your postures.
  • Do not force your body to work to the point that it shakes or vibrates. If this occurs try to relax into the posture or come out of it altogether.
  • One of the basic ethics of yoga is non violence. This includes being gentle with your own body.
  • Never do a spinal twist after a backward bend or a backward bend after a spinal twist. The backward bends open the spine and there is a chance that you could pop a disc if you then twist the spine.
  • If pain is experienced during any posture desist from practising it and discuss it with your teacher. You might be making a basic error which she will be able to correct.

Amber Land completed her yoga teacher’s training at Ananda Kutir Yoga Centre in Cape Town in 1992 and has been teaching yoga ever since. She is trained and teaches in the Sivananda Integral Yoga Style, incorporating what she considers the best aspects of other schools into her teaching. |

Images: Amber Land
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