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Yoga is an ancient Indian lifestyle. In the ancient time it was limited to India only. But now it is practiced worldwide. It's the best method discovered by the Indian sages and yogis. It is simple, safe and based on science. Anyone can practice it according to their physical abilities. In this article, we'll explain in detail, "What is yoga, and how to practice it?"

Table of contents :-

• What is Yoga?
• Yoga, according to Patanjali.
• What is Ashtang Yoga?
• How to practice Asana?
• How to practice Pranayama?

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What is yoga?

Yoga is the ultimate practice for physical and mental well-being. Originally, it is a spiritual activity. However, in modern times, it is primarily regarded for its health benefits.

It is an invaluable gift to the world from Indian sages. In ancient times, yoga was limited to the ashrams of sages and hermits. The credit for bringing it to the general public goes to the great yogi Patanjali, who compiled and systematized it.

The Meaning of Yoga :- The meaning of yoga is 'to unite.' Recognizing oneself is Yoga. Connecting oneself with the divine is Yoga. It teaches us what is the body? And what is the 'prana' (life force)? It also teaches us how to keep the body and prana healthy.

Yoga, according to Patanjali:

Sage Patanjali defined "Yoga" in detail. He begins his "Yoga Sutras" with the following sutra: 

अथ: योग अनुशासनम्।

(Atha Yoga Anushasnam.)

 (Let us begin the practice of discipline-yoga.)

In this sutra, yoga is described as a discipline.

He goes on to provide the definition of Yoga as: 

योगश्चित्तवृत्ति निरोध:।

"Yogash chitta vritti nirodha".

It means "Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind." According to Patanjali, yoga is about concentrating the mind. He outlines the path of this as "Ashtanga Yoga."

What is the Ashtang Yoga?

Ashtanga Yoga is considered the complete yoga. It is defined in detail in the Yoga Sutras. These are the eight limbs of AshtangYoga :-

1. Yama.

2. Niyama.

3. Asana.

4. Pranayama.

5. Pratyahara.

6. Dharana.

7. Dhyana.

8. Samadhi.

According to Patanjali's Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga is the entirety of yoga. However, in modern times, people primarily practice only the Asana and Pranayama for health benefits. Asanas keep the body healthy, while pranayama strengthens the respiratory system and energizes the body.

The Rules and Precautions of Yoga:

The practice of yoga should be done with certain rules and precautions. Following these rules enhances the benefits of yoga.

General Rules of Yoga:

Timing of Yoga: Morning is considered the best time for yoga, but it can also be practiced in the evening or at other times under special circumstances. However, always remember to practice yoga on an empty stomach.

Right Place: Practicing yoga in an open and natural place, like a park, is ideal. If you practice at home, choose an open and well-ventilated area.

Comfortable Attire: Wear loose-fitting clothing while doing yoga. Choose attire that allows you to sit comfortably.

Weather: Yoga can be practiced in all seasons. During the rainy season, practice yoga under a roof, but avoid practicing in the open.

Proper Diet: Yoga practitioners should pay special attention to their diet. Consume light and nutritious food. Avoid heavy and oily meals.


• Perform all yoga activities according to your body's capability.

• Avoid practicing yoga immediately after meals.

• Focus on simple postures and simple breathing exercises.

• Do not practice continuously; take rest and relax after each yoga activity. Start the next practice after resting.

• Do not practice yoga when you are ill.

How to practice yoga:

For good health, one should practice both "Asanas" and "Pranayama." Practicing Asanas and Pranayama in the correct sequence is more beneficial in Yoga. In the Yoga practice, start with practicing "Asanas" first. In the second step, practice Pranayama.

Read more :- The Right Sequence of Yoga.

Practice of Asanas:

Begin your yoga practice with Asanas. This practice activates the body's limbs and increases flexibility in the spine.

What is an Asana: To define Asanas, Mahrishi Patanjali provides a "sutra":


"Sthira Sukham Asanam"

It means that a posture in which one can sit comfortably and steadily is called an Asana.

In the beginning, newcomers should avoid difficult asanas. Practice simple asanas, as they are beneficial. Hard practice can be harmful.

How to perform Asanas?

• Spread a mat or cloth on the ground for yoga postures.

• Stand on the met.

• Warm up your body for a while.

• Start with the Surya Namaskar pose. After Surya Namaskar, lie on your back for a brief rest.

• After resting, perform two or three postures in sitting pose.

Asanas in Sitting Pose:

• Paschimottanasana.
• Janu Sirsasana.
• Kati Chakrasana.
• Ardha Matsyendra Asana.
• Vajrasana.
• Shashankasana.

After practicing these poses, lie on your chest. Practice some poses in this position.

Chest Poses:

• Bhujangasana.
• Shalabhasana.

After practicing these poses, rest for a while. After resting, lie on your back. Perform some poses in this position.

Poses lying on the back:

• Halasana.
• Makarasana.
• Pavan Mukhtasana.
• Sarvangasana.
• Matsya Asana.
• Shavasana.

Choose some poses from these based on your ability and need. Perform Shavasana after all the poses; it's a relaxation position.

Precautions for Asanas:

• Practice according to your physical abilities.

• Do not attempt difficult poses if you are a beginner.

• Avoid continuous practice; take a few seconds of rest after each pose.

• Pregnant women should not practice yoga postures.

• Elderly individuals should avoid difficult poses and focus on gentle exercises or simple postures.

• If you have had surgery on any part of your body, refrain from practicing yoga postures.

• In case of illness, seek the advice of a medical professional. Do not practice without a doctor's guidance.

Practice of Pranayama:

After practicing all the postures, engage in the practice of Pranayama. This is a breath control exercise. According to "Patanjali Yoga," the correct method of inhaling, exhaling, and holding the breath constitutes Pranayama.

There are three states of breath in Pranayama :--

1. Inhalation: This is called the "Puraka" state.

2. Exhalation: This is the "Rechaka" state of breath.

3. Breath Retention: This is the "Kumbhaka" state of Pranayama. Kumbhaka is used in both "empty breath" and "full breath" states.

(Read in detail :- What is Kumbhaka?)

How to do Pranayama?

• Sit in Padmasana or Sukhasana position.

• Close your eyes gently.

• Keep both hands in Gyana Mudra on your knees.

• Take long and deep breaths and release. Repeat these three to four cycles. After completing these cycles, proceed to other exercises.

Main Pranayama Techniques:

• Kapalbhati

• Anulom Vilom

• Bhastrika

• Nadi Shodhana

Benefits of Pranayama: Pranayama strengthens the lungs and respiratory system. It enhances vital energy. Sufficient oxygen intake through Pranayama benefits the heart's health.

Precautions for Pranayama:

• Beginners and those with weak respiratory systems should start with simple Pranayama.

• People with asthma should practice gentle Pranayama, avoiding breath retention.

• Individuals with heart issues and high blood pressure should perform Pranayama slowly.

• Breath-holding practices are suitable for healthy individuals only, not those with weak respiratory systems.

In summary :-

Yoga practice is a beneficial activity for health. It's essential to start with yoga postures before moving on to Pranayama. Perform all yoga activities according to your body's capacity.

Disclaimer :-

This article is not meant for medical treatment. It provides general information about yoga. All practices mentioned in the article are intended for healthy individuals. Excessive or forceful practice can be harmful.

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