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Get yogic in 2008!

February 8, 2008
Most people want to do yoga at some point in their lives. Others who have started a sporadic affair with it wish to make it a permanent one. Yet, the simple act to getting on to the mat daily trips most people. Here is how you can make yoga work as your new year's resolution.

Here are seven simple tricks:

~ Enroll in a class. Choose a time that will not be difficult to commit to on a permanent basis. Do not choose this time idealistically. Early mornings, for instance, would clearly be difficult for those who have night shifts, or enjoy being up late at night. Evenings won't work for those who have an excessive workload -- you are likely to skip practice on days when your workload is high or you feel a natural state of tiredness after a hectic day.

Join a school or institute of yoga that teaches simple steps initially. This is good for the morale. Joining a competitive or a tough class can be discouraging if you have been physically inactive. The ensuing body stiffness will put you off from doing even simple, though exotic-looking, postures. However, remember that this stiffness wears off with just one to two months of regular practice.

Once you begin to enjoy flexibility of body and the routine of yoga, shift to a more challenging yoga school. Your body will appreciate this; besides, it needs the challenge. Otherwise, the boredom that sets in with too easy a routine may make you lose interest in yoga. Since there are so many variations to any given pose, it is a good idea to keep your body motivated by challenging it constantly.

If you have a chronic problem ensure that your class is designed to first either rectify it or control it. This is absolutely essential to ensure that the problem does not worsen or erupt in a full-blown form later on.

Ideally, your yoga practice must include all the three major aspects of yoga -- asana (practise of poses), pranayama or breath control practises, meditation or dhyana. Each of these cements your connection with yoga. Some schools completely bypass pranayama or meditation because their teachers are not trained to teach these more advanced aspects of yoga. In that case, you may complement your practise by joining institutes that cover this aspect too, or attend workshops that deal with these in detail. This will help you incorporate both pranayama and meditation in your daily sadhana or practise.

Always keep an emergency chart. This means having a short yoga capsule with a few asanas, pranayama and meditation which may be covered in 15 minutes or so. This will ensure you will never skip your practise. Doing yoga daily, even if for a short while, is better than doing long sadhana erratically.

Try to peg your sadhana for the mornings if doing yoga on your own.

This is a surefire way of ensuring you never, ever, skip practice. By the time evening trundles in, excuses also creep in for not doing yoga that day. Now for that exciting bit: preparing your personal yoga planner for this year...

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

Text: Shameem Akthar
Photograph: Jahnavi Sheriff
Illustrations: Dominic Xavier
Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and about her upcoming workshops at

Harmony Foundation recently published Shameem Akthar's book, Yoga for Silvers. To place an order, please write to:

Also read: Strengthen your body with these yogic leg raises

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