How to practice yoga

Work starts with loosening the stiffened muscles, strengthening the weak ones, and learning the techniques of complete lung breathing. Exercises follow next. While working through these exercises which are natural for the body, but really unusual postures for us nowadays, your bones are put into positions which are ultimately relaxing for the muscles and joints. The positions sometimes seem to be hard, but always think of the benefits of this experience, and the power we develop after doing them.

Active attendance of your mind is essential for these exercises. You need to focus and concentrate on every small reaction of your body. This accurate and precise attitude, focused on your body as well as your mind will evolve your mental consciousness. This is how long-term health is created. You will get improved immunity against illnesses from the balance of positive and negative energies. This balance will be self-sustaining. While drugs cure only certain parts of your body, and only in the short term, your immunity is still decreased; whereas yoga brings steady health into your life.

Hatha yoga as we have said is about moving, breathing and feeling, and immobility, holding your breath and feeling. You breathe in as you get into position, then while holding your breath, keep the position. This is when you feel the exercise's real impact. Now focus on the reactions of your body and what you feel like during it. The most important things are not seen, but are what really happens inside.

The movements have to be slow, steady, and airy like flowing water. Don't rush, or struggle; avoid immediate movement; don't pull your muscles while stretching! If you are not ready physically for the exercise, don't do it. First loosen your muscles by stretching them frequently, then you will strengthen them appropriately.

Always do a warm-up first. You should never start any exercise without it! You always have to do a warm-up (and this holds true for any other workouts and sports), and move your body all over. Every injury can be predicted by this if you are paying detailed attention!

Yoga exercises are traditionally called "asanas". A period is 6 seconds in one exercise: breathing in is 6 seconds, holding your breath is 6 seconds in position and releasing is 6 seconds with exhaling. As you progress, a period for an exercise can be extended even up to 20 seconds. Every exercise is repeated 3 times. After a short while you will do these exercises confident and easily, and you will know how many repeats you need, and how many long periods you need exactly.

Between each repetition, you need to do complete yoga breathing, without holding your breath, in order to give full focus on breathing during the next exercise. Symmetrical exercises can be executed in both directions. After your sense of balance is fully evolved, you can start practising with closed eyes. During the poses you don't take a breath and you are motionless: neither your lungs, nor your body are moving. When the lungs are not in work (when you hold your breath), the body is actionless as well. No part of your body should be moving: you have to be completely at rest! At the beginning it is okay to take a breath a few times...

Exercising should be always finished with complete loosening of your body. This is called the corpse pose. Tensions released in this position will be defeated by your assembled energy, and your heart and mind will be empowered by this harmony.

Your body needs to understand the new exercise, the new task. When studying a new exercise, it needs to be tried only a few times; it shouldn't be repeated over and over again. If it is repeated badly many times, your body will "remember" the inappropriate way of execution. But, if an exercise is repeated only three times, the body won't remember inappropriate execution. The next time, you will better understand the right method, and this will automatically lead to more appropriate execution.

Focus on quality not on quantity. Execute each exercise three times. Progress is only possible if you are accurate in your practising. I really can't stress too much the importance of practising. This is the most important part: the amazing results of frequent small steps forward will only appear like this! This is the only way of studying and progressing! By repeating exercises you take steps towards the most appropriate and fastest way of warming up, total lung breathing, and execution of exercises.