Feb 1, 2015

Doing yoga without an objective can be frustrating

Yoga is a very elaborate system of healing as well as spiritual attainment. It does not stop at doing some twists or taking breath in a certain way. You can use yoga with different objectives. It is better to be sure of your objective beforehand so that you stay on course and are able to achieve those objectives. We give you a few examples of what you can wish to achieve from yoga and what are the requirements for that. Yoga Learner post on 'immense benefits of yoga' might help you decide.

I am a fit adult. I need yoga just for keeping fit.

  • You will need half hour a day, every day. Of course, you can slowly increase the time to one hour or so. You should learn some simple asanas and pranayamas from qualified teachers or even online. You can do these exercises in addition to other exercises too, but preferably not at the same time.

I am a busy person and can't afford to do brisk walking or light aerobic exercises recommended to me due to paucity of time. Can a quick yoga regimen help me?

  • You can go for a quick, but not hurried, session of yogic exercises as given in this post: yoga for busy people. Follow it regularly and add more exercises once in a while. 

I am a rather fit adult, but with a chronic metabolic ailment (high or low blood pressure /  diabetes / blood cholesterol / etc). I need yoga for reducing the severity of the ailment without medicines, and keeping fit.

  • You will need to do specific yogasanas, pranayamas and mudras regularly in addition to simple yogasanas. Do look at the left sidebar for yogic procedures that are specially beneficial in different health conditions.

I am a rather fit adult, but with slight chronic pain in spine / joints. I need yoga for managing that pain without medicines, and keeping fit.

  • You will need to do specific yoga exercises in addition to simple yogasanas, as said above. You will have to begin with very easy ones. Whether you will be able to reduce or stop medicines will depend on many factors. 

I am an aged person and generally healthy. I need yoga just for keeping fit to the extent an old person should normally be.

  • Keep doing simple yogic exercises, but not exerting or bending much. Do not exhale, inhale or hold breath with force or for long periods. If you feel pain in doing an asana or pranayama, stop that for some days to let the muscles / joints heal. It will also help you diagnose if that yogic exercise was the cause.

I exercise regularly and fiercely. I have a strong, muscular body. I need yoga as I am told it can get me some extra benefits not possible through routine exercise.

  • You can do more strenuous yogic asanas and for more duration. However, you will need expert supervision. 

I want bodily relaxation and mental peace through yoga.

  • You will need to follow a regimen of meditation and pranayamas more than asanas. You will need a few minutes of time all for yourself in a calm, clean and ventilated place. Care to look at this post: Yoga in times of stress?

I want to do yoga for spiritual attainment.

  • You will need to learn yoga in its entirety. That would mean reading yoga literature, clarifying doubts from a learned yogi, doing some asanas but more breath and mind control exercises. It will need a lot of time, detachment from worldly attractions, and a great deal of patience.

You should start yoga practices after analysing your goal as well as limitations posed by health problems, climate, business etc. You can, if you feel after a while, spend more time and energy and raise the bar.

Do also look at the 'side effects of yoga', 'Yoga in the news: spine problems' and 'Sarvangasana and body damage' posts so that you take enough precautions not to hurt yourself trying to do yoga.