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Get The Maximum Health Benefits From Yoga By Taking These 15 Precautions

Get The Maximum Health Benefits From Yoga By Taking These 15 Precautions

Want to improve your muscle tone, strength, articulation, sleep, and immune system? Want to reduce your food cravings? Yoga is an ideal activity for all of this and much more. Many people report that they are less prone to cramps and can improve their flexibility by about a third after two months practicing yoga.

If you are suffering from cardiac problems, high blood pressure, lower back pain and depression, yoga can also benefit you.

However, there are a few precautions you need to take to get the greatest benefits and avoid any negative side effects.

1. You are aware of the different types of yoga courses

Many people are now into hot yoga (Bikram) where the exercises are done in a much more vigorous way. The temperature of the room is usually 105° F with a humidity of about 40%. If you have a heart condition or you are pregnant, then this is not the type of yoga for you. Traditional yoga with the emphasis on gentle stretching and deep breathing will be ideal if you have any health issues.

2. You know about prenatal yoga

If you are pregnant, you will be aware that certain types of yoga poses can be extremely beneficial in preparing for the big event. Just concentrating on breathing techniques may help you with shortness of breath and also when you have to manage the labor contractions. The other exercises concentrate on improving balance and flexibility while learning how to stretch gently. You just need to avoid certain back and abdominal poses but if the class is for pregnant women only, this will not be a problem.

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3. You choose a qualified yoga teacher

If there was a national qualifying certification board, then this would be easy. Unfortunately, due to the many different types of yoga available and the multiple training courses, there is no such body.

The best way is to ask a prospective yoga teacher about how and where they got their training. You can also ask if they have accreditation from a well known yoga association. Their answer usually is an indicator of their skills but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. For example, I had a very demanding teacher who used his knees to push my back in order to straighten my spine. I told him that was torture and left his school!

4. You know the best environment for yoga

You may have to do yoga classes indoors. The room should be quiet and free of clutter. Access to fresh air is ideal so outdoors in the summer is great.

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    5. You wear suitable clothes

    Wearing light and loose fitting clothes that you feel comfortable in, is essential. As regard to the fabric cotton, linen, or jersey are suitable. Forget about corduroy, denim or leather.

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    Women need to wear a well fitting top so there are no embarrassing moments when you do an inversion.

    6. You know about eating before and after yoga

    Ideally, yoga is done several hours after eating which is why early morning and evening are favorite times. But I know some people who did a late evening yoga class who had to give up because it disturbed their sleep.

    7. You know the etiquette about footwear

    Most people know that shoes and socks are removed before you enter the yoga room. Check to see where other students are leaving their footwear.

    8. You inform your instructor about any injuries

    Maybe a past injury could cause you some discomfort while doing some of the poses. The best thing is to inform your instructor at the beginning so that she or he can modify some of the movements for you, if necessary.

    9. You practise basic poses at home

    This can help you to gain confidence more quickly. Some of the basic ones recommended are:

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    • Warrior
    • Downward facing dog
    • Upward facing dog

    10. You know your limits

    At the beginning, it is better to take a rest as you may be getting tired. Yoga is all about listening to your body and it is not a competitive sport. You can easily adopt the child’s pose if you feel too challenged by some of the more difficult poses. This will also help you to avoid overstretching or causing yourself any strain.

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      11. You know that yoga is not just for women

      Yoga was actually designed for men and by men. It is definitely not an exclusive women’s club so if you are male, bear that in mind.

      12. You bring your own mat

      Buying a simple yoga mat is a great investment. Why? The mats in the studios tend to be full of germs. They also tend to be rather flat because of overuse so they are not very comfortable to sit or lie on.

      13. You know how to approach a yoga lesson

      Simply put, you are going to arrive in good time and relaxed. You know that you should be hydrated, not be constipated and your diet is not too toxic. Some experts say that drinking a glass of tepid water 20 minutes before your lesson is also a great way to detoxify your body.

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      14. You know where to sit

      Entering a class for the first time can be intimidating. So, choose your place wisely. The front row is for the experts and geeks. Try the second row so that you can see what people around you are doing and try to learn from them. It can be uncomfortable to be in the front row. The back of the class can be difficult as you may not be able to see your instructor clearly.

      15. You know that yoga follows a structured routine

      You are aware that you want to take your body, mind and spirit for a ride. Yoga can benefit you by giving you a sense of lightness, relaxation and ease, if done right. You also know that doing yoga in a haphazard and disorganized way is unlikely to get you results.

      Let us know in the comments how yoga has benefited you.

      Featured photo credit: 2nd Annual Yoga/David Fulmer via flickr.com

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      Robert Locke

      Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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