Fitness alert: Start your yoga journey with these easy tips

Yoga is often considered to be all about tough, limb-twisting poses. But, yoga expert Abhishek Otwal says that it is not about “touching your toes, or stretching 98 degrees to your northeast”, rather an easy process of uniting with yourself – “using your breath, body, and mind“.

The expert adds that it does not matter if you’re not flexible or are starting your yoga journey at the age of 40. “This fitness journey will bring much joy and relaxation to you,” he says.

As such, he shares some easy tips for beginners

*Warm up – Gentle warm up exercises help the body to loosen up and prepare it for the asanas. Rotate your neck, both clockwise and anticlockwise, and pump your shoulders to relieve any stiffness and shrug off the lethargy.

*Although it’s best to practice yoga early in the morning, but any time of the day is fine as long as you are regular with it. “Don’t feel pressurised and over-exert your body right in the beginning. Your flexibility and efficiency will improve with everyday practice. Always finish with Yoga Nidra (sleep meditation) for a few minutes, as it helps to cool down the body,” he suggests.

*Whenever you start with yoga, try to start with easy asanas and postures such as downward-facing dog, tree pose, child’s pose, and savasana. “In each pose, try to focus on pressing your hands or feet into the floor, lengthening your spine, and relaxing your hips. If you keep this in mind as you practice, you will be working with every pose exactly as the most devoted practitioners do. There is no need to rush or try to jump into more complex poses,” he adds.

*Always practice yoga on an empty stomach or at least 2-3 hours after your last meal. When practicing yoga, you are much more in tune with your body’s subtle feelings than at any other point, and practicing with food in the stomach inevitably leads to discomfort and feeling unwell. “Eating just before practicing can lead to feeling of heaviness, and can disrupt the digestion process as well. It is also advised to drink at least three to four liters of water during the day in order to flush toxins that are released while practicing out of the body,” he says.

*Breathing plays an important role in yoga as the practice is all about finding a healthier, deeper harmony between our body and mind, and breathing is central to this.

*It’s always best to start doing yoga under the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher who can guide you through the correct way of doing each and every technique. This would help you learn yoga asanas properly and avoid injuries.

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