Nowadays many permutations of Yoga have come up which is not at a healthy trend at all--because Yoga should be practiced as it has been laid down by the seer Patanjali. If done wrongly it can even harm a person. Following are a few factors which ought to be kept in mind before you start Yoga--
1)It is best done early in the morning after the daily evacuation when the stomach is empty, or in the evening, three & a half hrs after lunch.
2)Find a quiet place, spread a mat on the floor & face the East while doing it.
3)The place should be neither too windy nor stuffy-fresh air is essential.
4)The temperature should be neither too hot nor too cold.
5)Choose a clean spot where the ground is level & there are no disturbances. A park would be ideal.
6) Do not talk while doing Yoga.
7)Concentrate on the particular body part that is being impacted while doing an 'asan' i.e body posture.
8)There should be no jerks or force employed while doing an asan. If your body is stiff go only so far as you easily can, in the beginning. Slowly your body will become flexible.It may take six months to one year for you to attain the perfect posture.Do not despair. Regular practice will certainly bring you success.
9)It is best to learn from a knowledgeable person as to how to do the asans. Wrong practice can harm you.
10) Persons ranging from 10 yrs to 80 yrs can do Yoga.
11) People suffering from fever or severe diseases should not practice it. Ladies should desist from doing it during their menstrual cycle & after the first triemester of pregnancy.
12) In the beginning do only a few simple asans.
13)An asan can either be repeated a given number of times or you can hold it for as long as you easily can. The latter is more beneficial .
14)It is important to inhale ,exhale at the correct time while doing an asan. A guru (teacher ) is the best adviser. Generally speaking, one should inhale while stretching upwards &exhale while going down.
15) If you do an asan which involves bending forward, follow it with one in which you bend backwards.
16) Do not eat or drink anything till after half an hour of doing Yoga.
17) Remember if you are not doing it right you will feel tired & breathless after Yoga but if you do it right then you will feel energized.
As far as Pranayam is concerned it too should be done under proper guidance of a guru. If done wrongly or too much , it can even harm you. For a normal person ten minutes of daily Pranayam is enough. Ideally it should be done sitting cross-legged on a mat, facing East or North with eyes closed,spine erect&body relaxed. The air you breathe should be fresh. The focus should be on the center point of your chest or on your breath.
It is best to first do the asans then Pranayam .In the end lying down for some time in Shav-asan or the life-less pose helps to perpetuate the benefits of Yoga.These are some precautions which should be kept in mind while doing Yoga. Yoga not only gives a flexible, healthy body; it also increases the bone-density,heightens immunity,improves memory,enhances concentration,overcomes depression & makes us more tolerant,patient & understanding. So what's stopping you ? Make it a daily habit & soon the benefits accrueing from it will make you so addicted that you would not like to miss it for a single day.
It would be beneficial for all if Yoga regulars share which advantages they have felt after starting Yoga.I myself have been able to halve my Thyroid & BP medicines only because of Yoga.
So what are you waiting for?Get into this routine & have a happy,healthy life!!!!