Personal Limitations, Contraindications, and Modifications

Everyone is different. Therefore, each body should be treated differently according to its own personal needs. It is important while practicing Yoga to keep focused on the body and mind. You need to acknowledge when the body, mind, or both are giving you resistance. This is why most Yoga teachers will encourage you to listen to your inner self. When you are listening to what your body is telling you, there is less risk of injury.

The principle of Ahimsa (non-violence) may apply during all your practices with your body and mind. It is important to eliminate all negative and polluted thoughts that may drain your energy and concentration as you enter into union with your infinite self.

Yoga does not measure how flexible one is. What is happening to the outside of your body is the manifestation of what is going on on the inside and vice versa. Respect yourself by acknowledging your own self-limitations, and build up your tolerance from there.

When someone mentions Yoga, almost everyone visualizes a pretzel-like body posture. Always remember that twisting like a pretzel doesn’t make you a better yogi or yogini (for women). This concept would make the acrobats of “Cirque de Solei” the best yogis, and this is simply not true.

In Yoga positions (Asanas), there are modifications to these challenging positions. When you are in doubt, always use your common sense. Use props if you need them; they are fun, and can help you to get into deeper positions.

It is okay to practice Yoga while pregnant. This is a great way to keep fit during pregnancy, and it also has many benefits. Practicing Yoga helps to open the chest for deeper breathing, lifts the breastbone to make more room for your baby, stretches the legs wide to exercise the pelvic muscles, holds the spine erect for free energy, helps you to maintain steady emotions, centers you to cope with change, and accesses the deep relaxation that lies within you.

Avoid inverted positions, risky twist poses, abdominal strengtheners, extended holding of any pose, or energized breaths (Breath of Fire) during the first two days of menstruation and during pregnancy. Instead of Breath of Fire, you can do Long Deep Breathing. The concern is that these practices might interfere with the downward flow or cause discomfort.

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