Yoga is a physically intensive and mentally engaging process that requires perfect postures and full concentration. This must not be taken lightly and one must do their best to prepare and reap the after effects of this practice. In order for the body to move smoothly and maintain willpower for Hatha Yoga, precautions must be observed and the aftermath of an hour’s workout must be reaped well. For this to happen, there are things we can do before and after Yoga in order to have optimal benefit from this practice.
What to do before performing Asanas?
Before any workout or intense bodily function, it’s always recommended to stretch the body and make it ready for Yoga. The neck, hands, hips and legs must be loosened in order to perform Asanas smoothly and without strain. Without this initial stretch, one can damage or overstrain the muscles or feel fatigued very easily. Apart from physical preparation, we must make sure we’re not doing Yoga on a very hard floor and our dressed in comfortable and loose clothing. Cotton fabrics are recommended and we can have soft instrumental music playing in the background.
As far as the mental state goes, we must be very dedicated towards our practice as yoga is usually about the mind, not the body. On days when we feel energetic and positive, our Asanas are better and we push our limits more. On bad days, we’re sluggish and the postures are unsteady and limp. If the mind is fully concentrated on the stretches felt in the body and the will to push harder, Yoga becomes easier to do with time and apart from the body, our concentration powers are excersised simultaneously.
What to do after performing Asanas?
The feeling after a good Yoga session is usually of elation, peace and fulfillment. In order to further reap the benefits of being in this state, the best thing to do is meditation. It is essential to rest the body for at least ten minutes before meditation or pranayama and the best way to do this is lying down in Shavasana. Some people have the tendency to fall asleep in Shavasana but if this asana is performed properly, it acts as another form of meditation, not slumber. Asanas essentially bring us to a state of meditation as the body is relaxed and the mind is quiet after this kid of workout. Pranayama is highly recommended after Yoga and just ten minutes of elongated breathing can do wonders for our body, mood and one couldn’t possibly have a better start to a new day.
What to eat before and after Yoga?
Ideally Yoga should be done on an empty stomach as digestion should not interfere with something as intensive as Yoga. For people who must have something, tea, coffee or milk with cocoa can be consumed. For people with gastric issues or other health problems that compel them to eat in the morning, a fruit (apple/banana etc.) can suffice but nothing too heavy should be eaten. If you can, just have some water, and nothing else before doing Yoga.
After Yoga and meditation, if you want to do it, we must wait at least fifteen minutes before eating or drinking anything. Having breakfast or a snack is perfectly okay as it is important to fuel the body after so much strain.
When is the best time to do Yoga?
The best time to do Yoga is in the morning as stretching your body and it’s interiors help with activity for the rest of the day. Though Asanas are smoother and easier in the evening, doing them in the morning kick starts the day beautifully and since the mind is better focused in the morning, we can reap mental benefits by doing Yoga early in the day.
Yoga should ideally be followed by meditation or Pranayama or both. Pranayama should not be done before Yoga and though it is ideal to do it in the morning after Yoga, we can also do this in the evening. Though the whole process of doing Yoga is a kind of meditation, one can sit with closed eyes for ten minutes to rest the mind and rejuvenate the body in the morning. Just two weeks of this routine will bring a humongous change to one’s life as long as we are dedicated to our well being and disciplined in our approach.