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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.

    Yogagirls

      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

      More by this author

      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 January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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