Depending upon various understandings of the targets of yoga there exist a number of various styles and methods of yoga practice. Here I would like to give some explanations concerning my view of the initial practice of the yoga that I call yoga for life.
Those who start practicing yoga should take into account the initial condition of their organism that depends upon numerous factors, the basic of them been: the medical condition, the sports habits, the age, the body type. And it is not only the physical load on body but also the proper consequence of the methods of working with this body that should be correctly matched in consideration of these aspects. So, here are a few words about these factors.
A person having some serious diagnosis should start from therapeutic yoga groups or, if the case is even worse, from the doctor-led rehabilitation therapy. A competent yoga instructor knows the list of diseases that can entail negative results if practicing in scope of a standard group. I shall remind here that in defining the category of health the World Health Organization considers not only physical, psychical and moral well-being, but takes account of the social and material as well. And in one’s preparation to yoga practice of advanced level one should consider the situation in all of the said aspects. The required basic level of the strong organism ready for yoga practice assumes the availability of time, energetic and material resources. In this case the person shall not be driven by the desire to merely escape to yoga from his everyday problems.
In our reference to sports habits we obviously mean the kinds of sport that actively engage the whole of physical body. That is, the body has been formed under the influence of the respective physical loads and it’s as if been “sharpen” for them. Usually this is the level of the 1st sport category and higher. Even in case there were some athletic injuries or occupational health problems in the sphere of sport the sportsmen usually come as already rehabilitated persons, or at least they know how to deal with it. As a rule, these people have a good feeling of their body and in scope of matching the exercise load their age limits can be increased by another few years, so that such people can be suggested visiting the basic yoga group ca. up to their age of 40. However, here we should also consider the remoteness of the person’s professional sport activity.
As an instructor, in terms of intaking the groups of those who want to practice I usually focus on people aged 20 to 35 (here a rather mean the biological age than the one given in passport) – this is the basic group. I shall explain the figures. Though in this country the person officially comes of full age at 18 and some people only start living when they turn 35, for me such choice is not random. The young generation of our age is characterized by some later emotional maturation. And it is only by one’s 20’s that one may have some moments initiating to adult life, so that the person starts to think and take decisions on his own. One shall then proceed to accumulate the life experience, while there is some solidarity in interests of the people belonging to the ‘up to 35’ (approximately) age category. Besides, the condition of the physical body in this period is more or less the same, and it makes one’s practicing in one basic group more comfortable.
To my mind, further effective division of groups in compliance with age scale shall be approximately the following: 35-45 years, 45-55 years and so on.
It also depends upon both the age and the medical condition of the person – whether the work with one’s body should be of training, maintaining or therapeutic character.
Within the process of mastering yoga techniques one should always take account of the specific features of one’s body (first of all I mean the muscular tissue to adipose tissue ratio). It’s not always that the person who starts to practice yoga can sort this out himself. For instance, one usually becomes alerted when having excess weight or being skinny. But don’t you make haste in getting rid of the overweight by means of increasing the physical load without establishing the reasons of the excess kilograms. This may be the consequence of puffiness or some disease of the cardiovascular system. Sometimes the excess adipose tissue may come as a result of hormone disregulations or other malfunctions that assume contra-indications against abrupt increase of exercise load. The proper diagnosis should also be established if one’s figure is too gaunt (you can at least start with general blood test), especially in our time when the line between telling the slender body from the sickly thin one is too vague.
I don’t adhere to yoga practice treated only as the means of upgrading the capabilities of one’s physical body. I shall be satisfied with the minimal required level of my organism’ survivability that can provide my life with colours and my body – with pleasant sensations.
Some of the wise men used to compare the body with a camel that the soul rides during its life journey. Should the camel die early, the soul will be unable to see all the delights of its journey. But it will be a great disappointment and regret if the whole journey turns into mere process of taking care of the camel and combing out his hair.