General Practice Guidelines

yoga practice guidelines
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Our General Practice Guidelines for yoga is a must read if you are new to the practice.  We cover all of the do’s and don’ts to having a successful yoga experience.

When not to practice yoga
Please read the contraindications for each posture before doing it. Menstruation, pregnancy, high blood pressure and injuries to the knees, shoulders, and neck are all conditions where certain postures must be avoided and special care must be taken in all postures. If you have any medical condition, you should check with your health care professional before starting a yoga practice.

Modify the postures for your body
The instructions and pictures of the yoga postures are the “goal,” meaning the direction you are going towards, not where you need to be. Experiment and explore different positions and alignment to make the posture work for your body.

Moderate the level of intensity
You can make your yoga practice as challenging and vigorous as you want. We recommend you start slowly and make sure you understand the alignment of postures. There are three ways to increase the intensity of your practice: one, hold postures for longer and longer periods of time; two, slowly build your practice up to more advanced and challenging postures; three, move quickly between postures. Read our Challenge Yourself article.

How to choose postures
Choose to practice postures that look like you can do them. Postures done on the floor are going to be easier than standing postures, as they do not require as much strength or balance. Also, postures that have longer recommended hold times (in breaths) are going to be easier to do.
Use our  yoga posture sequences as a starting point and foundation for your practice sequence.

Duration of practice
Your daily practice should be between 15 to 90 minutes long and done 1-6 times per week, depending on your schedule, goals and ability.  Practicing more frequently with shorter practice times will yield greater results that practicing less frequently with longer practice times.

What to wear
Loose, comfortable clothing or tights / unitards work best. Its important to wear something that will not restrict your movement.

Drinking and eating
It is not advisable to eat or drink right before a yoga practice (especially if you are practicing inversions). Eat no less than 1-3 hours before and drink only small amounts of water before practice, and do not drink during your practice if possible.

Comments 17

  1. the articles above were very impressive and precise. I am a Yoga Instructor and I wish to suggest that it will be good if we may add the following.
    all asanas (postures must be done to ones maximum only. one should only do what can and not what others can. Use the pictures of asanas as the position you should attain.



  3. For the sake of time, my exercise routine each day has been; 6-10 cycles of the sun salutation sequence, and then sit ups and push ups. Would you have anything to comment on this, or does this seem like a good routine?

  4. stewaspe000 – I don’t see anything wrong with the routine you are doing, my only thought would be to do some variations of the sun salutations to spice it up a bit. But if the routine works for you then there is no reason to change it.

  5. Thank you for your response, that seems like a good idea. Do you perceive that doing sun salutations unaccompanied by other, more thorough, stretches will benefit me, as far as my flexibility is concerned? My concern is that, as far as I know, sun salutations are intended as a warm up, to be followed by other stretches.

    Thank you!

  6. stewaspe000 – Sun salutations are not going to really increase your flexibility but they can maintain your current level. You need to hold a pose / stretch for about 30 seconds before you start to increase your flexibility. I guess for me to thoroughly answer your question I need to know what your intention and goals are for your practice?

  7. RE: Age, some of the most amazing yoga teachers, Patricia Walden, Ben Thomas, Lolly Font, etc. are all older than 60 thus, age is a US discriminator. Also I have been teaching over 19 years and with that said my age is higher in the nos. ;) It is very important to find a teacher who will asses you, talk with you, answer all your health questions prior to a class or a private. You need to trust your teacher and believe s/he is knowledgable, and resourceful. Also note my mother who did yoga until she was 90 quit because the ‘cute’ teacher in the front had her back to the class, was doing her practice and my lil mom could not hear her. Rather than share it she left. It’s always about lessons learned, the most credentials do not necessitate the BEST, it’s what you define as what you want and take time to feel comfortable.

  8. I’ve just found your site and it’s just great. Exactly what I need as I’m starting practising again so I have to go slowly – I’m so inflexible. I signed up for the free membership at the moment, but I can’t seem to get the login to work. Later I’ll get a full membership once I’m underway.

  9. I’ve just signed up for your free membership and will get the full one soon but I’m having trouble with the Login although I have my username and password. I’ve just restarted yoga so I’m really inflexible and your site gives great guidance. Many thanks for it.

    1. Post

      Hi Catherine, welcome to the site! If you are still having login issues please message us directly using our contact us page.

  10. started Yoga 2 years ago to help me deal with family health issues and bereavement. I’m still very much at the beginning of my journey but after a particularly rough time I took part in a water element class. the release of emotion that I couldn’t control completely took me by surprise . Yoga can be very powerful !!!! Glad I found your sitexx

  11. M 26 yr old and having slight compression in C5-6 intervertebral space leading to neck, shoulder and back spasms. Two episodes till now in past 6 months.Can I do these basic yoga’s for strengthning my muscles without any harm? Please advice. Thank you.

    1. Post

      Please consult with an MD or physical therapist to see if yoga is appropriate for your specific condition.

  12. Wondering if it is possible to receive permission to reprint this article in the magazine being created for the International Day of Yoga (Canada)? Happy to send a PDF of how the page would appear, and of course definitely would credit the author. Much thanks for considering.

    1. Post

      Yes, this is possible but please use our contact us page to submit the request.

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