10 Facts you need to know Before Starting Yoga

1. Take some space: In a typical yoga class, place the mats facing the front of the room in a loose grid. It's best not to line up your mat exactly with the one next to it because you and your neighbour will need some space in certain poses. You may start yoga by chanting "om" three times, there may be a breathing exercise or short meditation at the start of yoga . This is followed by warm-up poses, more vigorous poses, then stretches and final relaxation.  

2. Yoga is not Gymnastics: Don't avoid yoga just because you think you aren't flexible. In fact, if you have tight muscles, yoga is just the thing to loosen you up. The point of yoga is not to show off how flexible you are, but rather to become more flexible over time while enjoying yoga's health benefits. Yoga is not like gymnastics, in which the most flexible person gets a medal. It is a personal practice, infinitely adaptable to fit your needs.

3. How To Prevent Yoga Injuries: With all the buzz about yoga's benefits, it was just a matter of time before people starting talking about its potential pitfalls as well. Time Magazine has reported that doctors are seeing more yoga-related injuries than ever. While this is undoubtedly a function of the increasing popularity of yoga, there are some precautions you can take to make sure you do not sustain any injuries that will prevent you from enjoying your practice for years to come.
4. Find a Qualified Teacher: Until recently, yoga teachers were trained over years of intensive study with a yoga guru. While this is a wonderful model, it is no longer realistic for every teacher to be trained this way. Make sure the teachers you take classes with have obtained at least this minimum amount of qualification. This will greatly reduce the chance that you will be injured because a teacher is pushing you to do something you are not ready for, or has given you a bad adjustment. If the idea of being adjusted makes you uncomfortable, be sure to tell any teacher and they will undoubtedly respect your wishes.
5. Have Realistic Expectations: Unless you are a dancer or a gymnast, you will not be able to put your leg behind your head after a few yoga classes, even if you are a fantastic athlete in amazing shape.
You may never be able to put your leg behind your head, especially if you are only doing yoga occasionally. Advanced yoga poses require strength, flexibility, balance, and often, many years of practice.

6. Do Not Compete: One of yoga's most useful tenets is an emphasis on getting to know your own body and making decisions that are right for that body. Many yoga injuries come from attempting to do poses that your body is not ready for because you see someone else in the class doing them. Even if your teacher encourages you to try something, cultivate the wisdom to know when to stop. So many times I have heard teachers instructing advanced variations on poses say things like, "do not go any further unless your heel is down, your hip is on the floor, your shoulder is under your knee, etc.," only to look around the room and see many students progressing to the next variation when they have not mastered the previous one. This is how injuries happen.
7. Do Not Compete With Yourself: Extend the spirit of noncompetition to yourself. Every day, every practice is different. Listen to your body first and foremost. While it's fun to try difficult poses, it is not worth the risk of injury if you are not feeling up to it on a given day.
8. Chose Alignment-Oriented Practices: One of the best ways to avoid injury is to pick a style of yoga that emphasizes alignment, especially if you are already nursing an old injury or have a problem area. Some styles of yoga, particularly fast-paced ones, have a tendency to gloss over alignment. Having good alignment is the key to avoiding injury.
9. Injury-Prone Zones: Hamstrings, neck, low back, and knees are areas that are very prone to injury, so approach poses that stretch these areas with particular caution.
10. When Bad Things Happen to Good Yogis: Despite your great care, you may hurt yourself accidentally. If this happens, take your injury seriously, see a doctor, and only return to your practice when you are healed. Make sure to tell any teacher about a recent injury so that they can take special care when adjusting you and offer you adaptations on poses that might aggravate your condition.
Therefore to keep oneself healthy & fit. Yoga is one of the ways, but only if performed in a proper manner and taking into consideration all the precautions.

Lecturer Deptt. of Kayachikitsa
Dayanand Ayurvedic College & Hospital,