Without firm foundations a house cannot stand. Without the practice of the principles of yama and niyama, which lay down firm foundations for building character, there cannot be an integrated personality. Practice of asanas without the backing of yama and niyama is mere acrobatics.
The qualities demanded from an aspirant are discipline, faith, tenacity and perseverance to practice regularly without interruptions.
Cleanliness and food :
Before starting to practice asanas, the bladder should be emptied and the bowels evacuated. Topsy – turvy poses help bowel movements. If the student is constipated or ti is not possible to evacute the bowels before the practice of asnas, start with Sirsaana and Sarvangasana and their variations. Attempt other asanas only after evacuation. Never practice advanced asanas without having first evacuated the bowels.
Asanas come eaiser after taking a bath. After doing them, the body feels sticky due to perspiration and it is desirable to bathe some fifteen minutes later. Taking a bath or a shower both before and after practising asanas refreshes the body and mind.
Asanas should preferably be done on an empty stomach. If this is difficult, a cup of tea or coffee, cocoa or milk may be taken before doing them. They may be practiced without discomfort one hour after a very light meal. Allow at least four hours to elapse after a heavy meal before starting the practice. Food may be taken half an hour after completing the asanas.
The best time to practice is either early in the morning or late in the evening. In the morning asanas do not come easily as the body is stiff. The mind, however, is still fresh but its alertness and determination diminish as time goes by. The stiffness of the body is conquered by regular practice and one is able to do the asanas well. In the evening the body moves more freely than in the mornings, and the asanas come better and with greater ease. Practice in the morning makes one work better in one’s vocation. In the evening it removes the fatigue of the day’s strain and makes one fresh and calm. Difficult asanas should therefore, be done in the morning when one has more determination and stimulative asanas should be practiced in the evening.
Do not practice asanas after being out in the hot sun for several hours.
They should be done in a clean airy place, free from insect and noise . Do not do them on the bare floor or on an uneven place, but on a folded blanket laid on a level floor.