12 Things You Need to Know Before You Practice Yoga

by YogaNorman on April 11, 2012

in Hatha Yoga, Yoga

How to Prepare Yourself Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Practice.

1. Choose a clean, quiet room where you will have some privacy and as little distraction as possible. Try to have a comfortable, even temperature that allows you to wear a minimum of clothing. See to it that the room has plenty of fresh air but no cold drafts along the floor.

2. Let the clothing be loose enough to give you freedom of movement, yet warm. Since you want your skin to breathe and be healthy, wear clothes made of natural fibers. Unless your feet are very cold, do the session barefoot. Remove eye glasses and any jewelry or clothing which might irritate you or restrict your movements.

3. See that the floor you use is level and even. Use a cotton towel over some sort of padding. Underneath the cotton towel a wool blanket folded enough times so that your bones do not hurt on the hard floor would be ideal. Wool tends to insulate you from the the downward pull of energy and is very beneficial for meditation as well as the practice of hatha yoga. Foam does not work as well. In addition to not providing the right kind of padding, foam may not give you a stable base, especially for the standing postures.

4. Come to your session with an empty stomach. Some teachers suggest that you eat not less than two hours before the session. However, with time you will find that the sessions are much more enjoyable and that your concentration is much better when you come with an empty stomach. This is one of the reasons why the first thing in the morning before you eat is such a good time to practice yoga.

5. Do not practice the poses in the hot, noonday sun or right after you have spent some time in the hot sun. This is very hard on your system and you will probably experience weakness. Outdoors in the open shade or indoors with good ventilation is best.

6. It is best to bathe before doing the poses, but if you feel the need to bathe afterwards, try not to take the shower immediately after finishing the sessions so that you do not disturb the work of the hormones. Also, see that the water is not too hot or too cold for the same reason.

7. If you do other exercise, it is best to do the exercise and hatha yoga at different times of the day. If this is not possible, do the other exercises first, rest as long as possible, then do your hatha yoga. If you do hatha yoga first, and then follow immediately with hard exercises, you will lose a lot of the benefit of the yoga.

8. Try to have your session at the same time every day. In the beginning the easiest time is later in the day when you are more flexible before the evening meal. This is also a good time to relieve the stresses of your workday. As you progress, consider doing the session first thing in the morning when the mind is clear and the stomach is empty from the long night’s fast. Doing yoga at this time helps set a positive, peaceful, centered mood for the whole day. Also, the one who does yoga first in the morning is the one most apt to do it regularly. Later in the day it is easier to be occupied by other engagements, unexpected guests, or job and family demands.

9. To the best of your ability, evacuate the bowels and bladder before your session. If you feel the urge during the session, stop and take care of your elimination and then return to your practice. The shoulderstand and headstand will sometimes trigger off the evacuation of the bowels.

10. If you have trouble with elimination, and/or if you would like to cleanse your system, try this old yoga technique: Squeeze the juice of one lemon or lime into a glass of warm water and drink first thing in the morning. This will usually start the peristaltic action of the bowels as well as cleansing and disinfecting the intestinal tract, kidneys, bladder, and urinary tract. In fact, for centuries yogis have extolled the virtues of lemon and lime as a disinfectant of the internal organs and glands as well as a great cleanser. See my post How Lemons and Limes Keep You Healthy. Mahatma Gandhi drank water with lemon and honey when he fasted.

11. Keep a positive attitude and concentrate upon what you are doing. This will give you maximum benefits. You can increase tremendously the value of the practices if you will focus upon what you are doing and visualize the benefits as you do the poses. Some yogis say that the benefits can be increased 100% in this way. Also, when you concentrate, you do not experience boredom. If you are bored, it is far better to increase your concentration, than it is to try and divert your mind by listening to music or watching TV or talking to someone. Diverting the mind not only minimizes the benefits of the exercises, but also keeps you from listening to your own inner signals and wisdom, making it much more difficult to gauge the safety of your exercises. Is it possible that many of those who injured themselves or died of heart attacks while running or playing competetive sports could have prevented this if they had paid attention to their inner wisdom instead of diverting their minds and tuning out the distress calls?

12. Enjoy what you are doing. This is a good way to determine if you are doing everything with the right attitude and touch. When you are trying to reestablish harmony in yourself, it is important that you realize that harmony goes hand in hand with pleasure. There can be no harmony when your muscles are crying out for rest, when your heart is strained, or when your mind is trying to force progress. Remember: Where there is strain, there is no yoga. Learn to do everything with peace, love, and joy. This way leads to harmony. And harmony leads to permanent  success.

To the disgruntled does not belong discriminationn or meditation.
To the unmeditative there is no tranquility.
To the peaceless how is happiness possible?
–Bhagavad Gita II:66

Related Post:  How Not to Hurt Yourself Doing Yoga


Please feel free to ask questions and make comments below, which will require you to sign in with your name and email address in order to prevent spam comments. Your email will not be posted on this blog nor will it ever be sold or otherwise distributed without your permission. I dislike spam as much as you do…Norm


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

SUK December 8, 2016 at 3:42 am

Hello Sir,
Could you please suggest some yoga for working women in evening, cause I wake up around 5.30am daily and leave home around 8 so at this time I don’t get time for yoga.

Norm December 9, 2016 at 9:11 pm

Hi Parul,
Self-Heal Your Back Pain Yoga VIDEO Pts 1, 2, 3 will work specifically to improve circulation, and to relax and reverse your back pain.

Toes: Improve Your Circulation.
Knees, Hips, Ankles, Toes

Legs-Up-the-Wall pose will help you to reduce the numbness in your toes, will help to energize your body, strengthen your immune system and make you relax and feel better. A photo is included in this post: Heal Hemorrhoids and Constipation the Yoga Way. At the bottom of this post is a link to an article on Triphala, which will greatly help you to heal and rejuvenate yourself.
Please let me know if you have questions.
I wish you great success,

Norm December 9, 2016 at 9:39 pm

Hello SUK,
My How to Stay in Shape With Very Little Effort:Yoga Sun Salutation-VIDEO is less than 12 minutes long and can be done in the morning or evening. I have other short videos that can be done whenever you have a few minutes. Until I create a grouping of them on this site, you can see them all on my YouTube YogaNorman Channel
Please let me know if you have more questions,

HHHHhH May 30, 2017 at 10:29 am

hello sir,
Could you please suggest that Should I drink warm water with lemon before or after doing yoga? and also tell me the time gap between the two Please?

P.yeshoda May 31, 2017 at 8:44 pm

I do yoga in AC room during summer.is it advicable?

Norm June 4, 2017 at 11:16 am

As I explained in Number 10: “Squeeze the juice of one lemon or lime into a glass of warm water and drink first thing in the morning.” Ideally, this will help you to evacuate your colon and bladder. Then do your yoga practice. If you are unable to evacuate your colon or bladder, go ahead and start your yoga session, but be ready to interrupt it when you get the urge to evacuate.

As also stated in Number 10 you will find more help with this on my post How Lemons and Limes Keep You Healthy..

I wish you success in your yoga practice,

Norm June 4, 2017 at 11:35 am

Hi P.yeshoda,
Ideally, we want to do yoga in as natural a place as possible without artificial cooling or heating. However, if you are in a place that is very hot or very humid, it is fine to have air that is cooled but try to not go to an extreme. Use as little cooling as you can while still being comfortable. If you are in a place where you cannot control the temperature, then wear enough clothes that you will not feel cold.
Let me know if you have more questions,

Shristi June 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm

What yoga should we to to reduce the sleeping hours

Norm July 10, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Dear Shristi,
Many people report that after they have been doing yoga asanas for some time, they find that they don’t need as much sleep. There are no specific poses for this. Rather, while practicing yoga, you learn how to relax better, you have more energy, and you sleep better, so you don’t need as much sleep to be well-rested.
I wish you success in your yoga practice,

anurag singh August 22, 2017 at 7:32 pm

sir please suggest me some yoga to improve my eyesight.

Norm September 3, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Hi anurag singh,

Here are some links to help you improve your eyesight:

Heal & Strengthen Your Eyes with Yoga – VIDEO You will find more help in the “Comments” at the bottom of this video. Also add the linked Videos to your practice.

Please let me know if you have questions and want more help.

I wish you great success in your Self-Healing Yoga practice,


Pema Rinchin September 26, 2017 at 4:44 am

A have a problem of giddiness and a feel of imbalance in body since long. It Is more severe this year. In fact every day I have the problem. Now, to overcome the problem, I have started doing yoga since a month regularly every morning. But the problem is soon after the completion of Yoga practice I feel uneasiness or restless!!!! Why? Please help me.

Norm October 2, 2017 at 6:22 pm

@ Pema Rinchin Since this condition started way before you began doing yoga, I cannot say what the cause is. However, usually yoga would tend to improve this condition. If the condition returns after a yoga practice, it could mean that you should be more gentle in your yoga practice.

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