I’ve learned from experience that it’s possible to take hundreds of yoga classes and still be ignorant to yoga’s fundamental theory and principles. When I went through my teacher training course back in Himalayas mountains, I was shocked to realize that I actually had no idea what YOGA really was about.
Whether you're a beginner or have an established practice, here are the principles NO student should miss:
1. Practice YOGA on an empty stomach: You should wait at least 3 hours after meals, and more than 1 hour after any snack (such as fruit).
2. The best time to do YOGA is in the morning before breakfast: This is when you're stomach is inevitably empty, and it's also a way to prevent injuries as our bodies are still naturally stiffed so we can not over stretch it and harm ourselves. The second best time is around sunset after work as we can relive fatigue after a hard day of work.
3. Each YOGA pose has a purpose and a benefit: making our bodies flexible is only one purpose of YOGA practice, every asana or YOGA pose has a physical purpose. Each one targets some area of the internal body; stimulating organs and glands so that they properly function, strengthening muscles, or improving joint mobility.
4. We can get so much more out of YOGA than just exercise-it's actually a spiritual practice: YOGA is considered as a spiritual practice to raise consciousness and awareness. It teaches us how to harmonize our bodies with mind and soul. YOGA is concerned with the inner self, and the goal of self realization or enlightenment. It's ultimate aim is to guide us to true happiness and everlasting bliss.
5. Practice with awareness is imperative: This includes being conscious of the sensations throughout the body, the pose itself the synchronization of breath with movement, and noticing any thoughts or feelings that may arise.
It would be a sad to miss out on yoga’s greatest effects. Knowing how and why to practice make all the difference in taking yoga from a workout to a means of being our best selves, inside and out.