Without doubt one needs to learn yoga from an experienced teacher. On the other hand, because some attempt to perform exercises guided only from a book, these general guidelines might be useful.
1. DO NOT FORCE YOUR BODY under any circumstances. No matter how many times we say this to people, they just keep on doing it. They try to push their bodies into the exercises, whether the body is ready or not. This is a great mistake which does more harm than you can imagine. Work slowly with your body. Respect its limits. These limits will gradually extend and you will gain flexibility if you work regularly and sensitively at stretching your limits. The body will get the message and the tension which is preventing you from proceeding will gradually be released.
2. BE REGULAR in you practice. A few times a week is not enough if you really want to heal, transform or develop your body.
3. DO NOT CONTINUE ANY EXERCISE WHICH CAUSES PAIN. Check with your doctor or exercise instructor what you should do. Pain is a message from the body which must be listened to. In some cases it may simply be the body’s process of changing. In such cases, you simply need to bear with it and continue (without forcing) and it will gradually pass. In other cases you may be doing harm to some part of your body and may have to stop and do some other preparatory exercises before returning to that one.
4. EXERCISE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH at least three hours after eating.
5. REMOVE ALL JEWELRY AND TIGHT CLOTHING. Let your body be free of any restrictions. Find some loose, comfortable clothing or body-hugging dance tights for exercising.
6. BE CONSCIOUS AND CONCENTRATE on what you are doing. Keep your mind on feeling what is happening in the body and concentrate on your breath and position. Do not think about other things or talk to anyone while exercising. If possible, it would be best if you were alone in the room, without distractions such as radio or TV, so that you can concentrate. If this is not possible, just try to concentrate on yourself and ignore what is going on around you.
7. GIVE IMPORTANCE TO YOUR BREATHING. Each exercise has a specific way of breathing. This is an extremely important aspect of the exercise. In many cases, it is even more important than the physical movements themselves. By conscious of your breathing and breathe slowly and deeply, according to the instructions for each exercise. In general (with some exceptions) we inhale when we stretch upward or backward and exhale when we bend downward or forward.
8. COMPLETE YOUR EXERCISE SERIES WITH DEEP BREATHING and, if possible, with DEEP RELAXATION.
9. AVOID EXERCISING AT LEAST THREE MONTHS AFTER SURGERY, unless you have specific permission from your doctor. Some exercises should be resumed only 6 months after surgery, unless you have your doctor’s permission to start earlier. Also, avoid all exercises at any time when you suspect internal bleeding or an inflamed appendix.
10. ALLOW YOUR ATTENTION to flow through the body as you become aware of each muscle and the tension and energy stored there and allow that energy to flow and the muscle relax.