Tips for Practicing Yoga Asanas

  1. It’s best to practice asanas barefoot on a nonslip surface or yoga mat. Sitting, lying down, and kneeling poses can also be done on a rug or folded blanket.
  2. Wear comfortable clothing, something that allows you to move freely.
  3. Go to the bathroom before you begin your practice so your body feels light and comfortable.
  4. Ideally, the room should be well ventilated. Have enough space to extend your arms and legs out in all directions without hitting anything.
  5. Practice yoga asanas on an empty stomach. After you have eaten, wait at least 3-4 hours before practicing. (There are exceptions to the above general rule: Some standing poses can be done about one hour after eating, and simple neck, shoulder, and arm stretches can be done at any time. Listen to your body—if you practice too soon after eating or drinking, certain postures will feel uncomfortable.)
  6. Unless otherwise instructed, breathe through your nose and take care not to hold your breath.
  7. Stay hydrated. When it’s hot outside or you are practicing in a relatively hot room or if you expect to sweat a lot, mix a large glass of water with approximately 1/8 teaspoon of salt and drink it approximately one hour before your asana session. Do the same 10-30 minutes after your asana practice. (If you are on a salt-restricted diet or have any kind of kidney problems, consult your doctor before adding salt to the water.) Staying properly hydrated helps keep your body limber and prevent muscle spasms and injury.
  8. Be patient. It takes time and regular practice to get the most benefit out of doing yoga asanas. If you are impatient and try to force your body to do what it’s not ready for, you may get injured.
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