I have been working out on my own and my routine usually includes light weighs, jump rope and a bit of yoga. But somehow I felt I wasn’t getting much out of the asanas I was practising. When I met Radhika, who has been practising yoga for 8 years now, I requested her to collaborate with me on an article on yoga for runners. However, the first session we did together turned out to be more of unlearning and learning the basics. I realised how floppy I used to be post every asana and used to let go my body too quickly. Before I do a couple of articles on some poses which will benefit us runners, I requested Radhika to write down some very important things she taught me. These are small things which make a lot of difference to the whole routine.
1. While doing yoga, the correct posture is very important and also maintaining it. Doing it the correct way will reap you benefits. You have to be aware of your position. Initially it will create a bit of confusion but with time, muscle memory will help you achieve the right posture without you even thinking twice.
2. Don’t force your body to do something its not ready to do yet. That doesn’t mean you don’t try . There are many stages to one asana. Don’t beat yourself down if you are not flexible enough to do them at that point of time. With regular practice, you will be able to do all poses.
3. At every step, make sure your body is properly aligned. Be conscious of your movement. If not , it can cause pain.
4. Every pose should be done with control and mindfulness. A simple table top pose can have huge results if you are aware of your body. Don’t flop and let go of your posture. Keeping increasing the level and working all the muscles. Every yoga stretch works all your muscles. A pose could be for your core, but at the same time you are working your arms as well.
5. Every asana should be performed for 3-5 breaths, with deep inhales and exhales. Breathing is a major part of yoga. Initially you will forget to do them, but try being conscious with time. Let the oxygen flow to every part of your body. Yoga is a mindful way of working out. At no given point of time, do you do any asana without being mindful of what you are actually doing . It is the connection of body soul and mind.
6. While performing any stretch make sure you your head is in line with your spine, and the crown of the head is towards the sky. Even with pose where you have to bend your neck either forward or backward, make sure you do it with control. No swinging your head. If not careful, you could hurt it.
7. Don’t rush the poses. Try doing it as slowly as possible in the beginning. Let your muscle get use to these poses.
8. In yoga specially, flow or a vinyasa is very important. A set of stretches for part of the body should be done in a flow. You move from one asana to another like a dance form. A smooth continuous flow, where one posture links to another.
9. At any time, if you are tired and you need to take a breather, come out of the current stretch with control, make sure you don’t lose composure and flow into a child’s pose.
10. At the end of any yoga session, savasanna is a must. It’s the time of the workout when you let your body parts rest, and let the blood flow everywhere. Your mind is in focus about each and every muscle in your body pulsating. Keep a control on your thoughts. Take notice of the breathing and relax.
*Pic courtesy – Karan Narang
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