General Principles of Yogic Practice
1. Yogic practices are not ‘exercise’ as understood. The word exercise is generally applied to vigorous physical movements. Since, Yogic practices do not involve vigorous movements, any kind of violent action should be avoided during Yoga practice.
2. The nature of Yogic practices is varied and involves different mechanisms through which the results of particular Yogic practices are obtained.
3. Asana, one of the most important and best known Yogic practices is static stretching procedures. They should be performed slowly and smoothly to influence the tonic system rather than the physical one.
4. The position in a particular Asana should be comfortably maintained for some time with least effort. Effortless performance and relaxing as much as possible during the final position are the chief characteristics of the techniques of Asanas.
5. Pranayamic practices are very different in purpose and technique from the “breathing exercises”. They are supposed to increase oxygen uptake. However, they are considered of little value in the literature of physical education.
6. Yogic practices should not lead to undue fatigue. If there is fatigue, it should be overcome by the practice of relaxation in Shavasana.
7. All Yogic practices should be performed according to one’s own capacity and without competition with others.
8. All Yogic practices should lead to peace of mind.
9. Any Yogic routine should begin with psycho-physical relaxation centering one’s attention as one would in prayer or actual recitation of some prayer.
10. It would be better to learn the Yogic practices while one is having normal health. An imprudent way of practicing the Yoga practices is sometimes found to lead to impairment of the health of an individual instead of making healthier. Persons who are very weak, or those who have recovered from illness, should be careful in this respect. It is true that many ailments can be cured by nicely administering the Yoga techniques, but for that, one has to take the help of a Yoga Therapist.
11. Age and sex do not offer any bar as Yogic practices are concerned. This does not, of course, mean that every Yoga technique may suit every individual. For example, women should abandon some practices during menstruation and during advanced stages of pregnancy. But there are some practices, which can be continued even during those conditions. Children may start practicing the Yoga techniques at about eight years of age. There is no upper age limit as far as the Yogic practices are concerned.
12. The place for practicing Yoga should be well protected from the menace of animals, rodents and insects. If it is done indoors, it should be well ventilated and having sufficient light. The surroundings should not be noisy. The ground should be plain and flat, not sloping.
13. Morning time is considered better for Yoga practices, while it is the experience of some people, especially the beginners, that the Yoga practices can be done with ease and comfort in the evening as well.
14.Yogic practices should not be done with a loaded stomach. After a full meal, nearly five hours should be allowed to pass and nearly two hours after a snack so that the exercise does not interfere in any way with digestion and absorption of food.
15. Both men and women should, while practicing Yoga, wear as less number of clothes as permitted by the climate and their social customs. In fact, the dress should be clean, simple and least cumbersome.