|You do not need special equipment to do yoga excercises. Although you can buy foam yoga mats, a towel on a carpeted floor will do just as well. For practicing indoors, you will need an open space, clear of furniture. The room should be comfortably heated and free of disturbances. Try to practice yoga every day. At the same time, be gentle; do not force yourself.
A yoga session should be a joy. Play some calming music while you practice the exercises. One of my favorite instruments to listen to is the Armenian duduk (the most ancient flute in recorded history). The instrumental artist, Yanni, dedicates a song to this instrument in his album, If I Could Tell You .
Set aside a time when you won't be disturbed and you won't have to rush. Morning practice helps loosen up stiff joints after sleep; evening practice releases the tensions of the day. Whenever you do yoga excercises, avoid eating for at least 2 hours beforehand.
For maximum benefit, you should set aside about 90 minutes. When you're busy, try a shorter session with fewer exercises. It is very important not to feel rushed, and to allow time for relaxation between poses. You can always perform the breathing exercises at a later stage.
getting down to basics
Unlike other yoga poses, doing this pose over and over again in repetition helps open the hips. Go from side to side. Hands can go to prayer position on the chest. Also, the Cobbler's position (see below) helps open up the hips for the pose.
-- Bring the first foot to the opposite hip, on top of the opposite leg.
-- Bring your heel toward your body, and knee down.
-- Carefully lift up the other foot and place it over the opposite knee, toward the hip.
Note: Bringing the first knee down helps you get the foot up near your hip.
The Sun Salutation
-- Stand up straight with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
-- Take a deep breath, and then exhale while bringing your palms together at chest level.
-- Inhale and stretch your arms up over your head.
-- Arch your back so your hips come forward, and stretch as far as is comfortable.
-- Exhale as you stretch forward and bend down into the third Sun Salutation position.
-- Bring your hands down to the floor, and place them next to your feet, palms downward.
Note: Your hips should be kept as high as possible; if necessary, bend your knees so you can touch the ground.
-- Tuck your forehead in toward your knees.
-- Inhale as you stretch your right leg back as far as possible and bend your right knee, lowering it to the floor.
-- Stretch your head and look upward. (Your hands should stay in the same position throughout the movement.)
-- Retain your breath.
-- Bring your left foot back, next to your right foot.
-- Keep your spine straight and do not let your head or hips drop. Exhale.
-- Lower your knees to the floor and your chest straight down between your hands, without rocking your body.
-- Bring your forehead to the floor (for beginners, you may need to lower the chin instead). -- Inhale as you slide your body forward and bring your hips down to the floor.
-- Arch your chest forward and tilt your head back.
-- Slightly bend your elbows into your body.
-- Exhale, tucking your toes under and raising your hips to come into the inverted V.
Note: Do not move your hands or feet as you come into the position.
The Sun Salutation is a 12-part warm-up exercise. It limbers up the body and mind in preparation for the ensuing yoga session. Each of the 12 positions brings a different vertebral movement to the spinal column and is tuned to the inhalation or exhalation of the breath, thereby instilling a feeling of balance and harmony. The positions follow one after the other, making the Salutation a graceful position to perform. Attempt doing at least 6 sequences at the start of every session.