Indo American Association (IAA)

Yoga Tips (courtesy Ila Campbell)

  1. Yoga can be practiced by any age group. If any medical condition exists it is advisable to check with a doctor. (Most of the exercises in this session are not advisable during pregnancy). Yoga is generally done on an empty stomach (minimum 2 hours). Good to wear loose cotton clothing.
  2. The aim of yoga is to improve suppleness and strength. Each posture is performed slowly in fluid movement.
  3. A normal healthy muscle is stretched in a beneficial way to the point of discomfort but making sure not to stretch where pain is felt. If you haven't felt the discomfort you haven't stretched enough. If you feel pain you are over stretching, which can cause injury to the muscle.
  4. If you feel a cramp while stretching ease off and take a deep breath.
  5. Good health cannot be taken for granted but must be striven for. Focus on your postures to perfect them, even the most simplest ones. Regular practice with diligence and accuracy will help advance and master them.
  6. It is very important to maintain a balance in the strength of the muscles between the right and the left side of the body. It is equally important to maintain a good balance between the complementary muscles.
  7. While holding a posture, specific muscles are stretched forcing the heart to pump more oxygenated blood with nutrients (absorbed during metabolism) into that area, at the same time removing toxins, resulting gradually into building healthier muscles and flexible joints.
  8. In yoga one has to move with grace and precision, which is with controlled movements. No movement should be violent or rough.
  9. Mind uses a lot of energy in its thought process (on an average 10 thoughts per second). Tension and tightness restrict blood flow decreasing energy level. Relaxation and calmness restore energy.
  10. Yoga involves a thoughtful process. Do fewer exercises but with understanding of what muscles are being stretched. In the beginning it is essential to get the posture movements right.
  11. With daily practice and repetitions yoga will strengthen the muscles, tone up the internal organs, improve circulation and respiration, and increase the flexibility of the joints and the spine. Yoga helps balance and rejuvenate the system.
  12. Many of our daily habits tend to emphasize the use of one side of the body. To achieve a healthy and harmonious balance, it is important to keep all parts of the body equally strong and flexible. Yoga exercises make each group of muscles work equally on the left and right side of the body to maitain equilibrium.
  13. Never force the body into a posture or try to go beyond your limit. Ease yourself gently into the postures. Progress may be slow, but with time the body will become flexible and will get easier to practice those poses. Remember, yoga is not a competitive sport.
  14. Try to practice yoga everyday. A yoga session should be a joy. Set aside a time when you will not be disturbed and you will not have to rush. Morning practice helps loosen up stiff joints after sleep. Evening practice releases the tensions of the day. Whenever you practice yoga, avoid eating for at least two hours beforehand.
  • Yoga is done on an empty stomach (2 hours) and at your own pace.
  • Yoga is not done during pregnancy or if any physical condition exists (unless your doctor give permission).
Beginner's Level of Total Body Stretch

Relaxation

Corpse Pose:
This prepares the body and the mind to relax, which helps to stretch better. Tense muscles are much more susceptible to strain, and spasm. A tense back can go out in an instant, just like a rigid tree in a strong wind will snap.

Preparatory Exercises

Respiratory Cleanse:
This exercise purifies the lungs. It eliminates large quantities of carbon dioxide, and increases the intake of oxygen. The movement of the diaphragm massages the stomach, liver and the pancreas increasing blood supply to these organs.

Neck Rolls:
Neck rolls help remove tension in the neck, shoulders and the upper back area. They improve the flexibility in that area.

Lion Pose:
This helps to rejuvenate the muscles of the face, jaw, & the neck. It improves the circulation in the hands and the fingers.

Warm-up Exercises

Sun Salutation:
Sun salutation is a series of gentle flowing movements synchronized with the breath. Once the positions are learned they are then tuned to a rhythmic breathing pattern.

Supine Exercises

Shoulder Stand:
This is an inverted posture stretching the entire body. The main stretch is felt in the shoulders, neck, and the spine, at the same time stimulating the thyroid and the parathyroid glands that regulate the metabolism process.

Bridge:
This is a counter-pose, stretching the complementary muscles to the shoulder-stand. It opens up the disc spaces in the spine. It helps relieve tension in the thoracic and the lumbar regions. It strengthens the entire back, specially the seat muscles.

Fish:
This is a counter-pose to the shoulder-stand. It gives a backward stretch to the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions. It expands the chest and increases the blood supply in the lungs tissue.

Prone Exercises

Cobra:
Cobra is a backward bending stretch. It increases the flexibility of the spine and brings rich blood supply to the back muscles. It opens up the disc spaces in the spine. It also stretches and strengthens the abdominal muscles.

Locust:
It strengthens the spine and the abdominal muscles and expands the chest.

Bow:
It is a full backward-bend and is a complementary to the forward-bend on the spine. It hyper-contracts the spine and strengthens the muscles. It also strengthens the abdominal muscles and expands the chest.

Sitting Exercises

Forward Bend I:
It hyper-extends the spine and stretches the entire posterior part of the body. Eases stiffness in the hips and legs. Tones the abdominal organs.

Forward Bend II:
Tones the internal organs like the kidneys, bladder and the pancreas and massages the heart muscles, giving a full stretch to the entire posterior part of the body.

Spinal Twist:
Massages the internal organs, increasing blood supply. Tones the roots of the spinal nerves. It helps the spine by retaining side to side mobility. It gives a lateral stretch to the spine. Also relieves tension in the lower back.

Butterfly:
Stretches the muscles of the inner thighs and the hips. It reduces sciatica. It helps increase blood supply to the kidneys, prostrate glands / the ovaries. Is good for the varicose veins.

Standing Exercises

Tree:
This is a balancing pose which requires concentration. Improves alignment of the spine. Gives a sense of strength, stillness and firmness.

Triangle:
Provides the entire body with a lateral stretch. Helps reduce the pain in the lower back and promotes general flexibility.

Warrior:
Helps reduce the lower back pain, specially in the tailbone. Increases flexibility in the knees and the hip joints. Reduces stiffness in the neck and the shoulders.

Deep Relaxation

Corpse Pose:
Helps relax the nervous system and calms the mind.

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Last Modified: July 3, 2013
Please forward all questions about this site to: Ramesh Gupta