Yoga is a scientific pattern of life that is much needed in this hectic world of ours. Through the practice of yoga, our body, mind and soul are benefited. Yoga originated and was organized as a form of art in India, many thousands of years ago. It was Patanjali who coded it in a systematic pattern in his Yoga Sutra. Even today, this treatise is referred to as the most authentic one on the subject. The main aim of practicing yoga is the attainment of mental, physical and spiritual health. Through precise observance of yoga, one attains the state of perfect bliss and harmony.
The discipline of yoga has eight stages. They are yamas (restrains), niyamas (observances for the control over ego), asanas (physical postures), pranayama (control over breathing control), partyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (perfect contemplation), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (realization of the super conscious state).
There are certain set rules that are to be followed for the attainment of maximum positive results. If ignored yoga might affect our health negatively as well. No specific time schedule is prescribed for doing yoga. However, it is advisable to choose mornings as yoga time. Whichever time is selected, that particular time should be set apart on all days for doing yoga. Consistency is very important. If done in an irregular manner, yoga will not yield desired results. Those people with a busy schedule should at least practise it for five days a week. As far as possible, yoga needs to be done on an empty stomach and in solitude. If in case of a full stomach, wait for more than two hours for the food to digest before commencing yoga.
Yoga should be done only once in a day. At a stretch, yoga can be practiced for fifteen minutes during initial stages. Over a period of time, this can be increased to one hour. Yoga practitioners should avoid spicy and hot food compulsorily. A balanced diet will be highly beneficial. In between each physical posture (asana), adequate rest should be taken. During this interval long breathing exercises can be done to increase the oxygen intake. At the end of asana session, it is recommended to rest one fourth of the total practice time. That means, if the total yoga time is forty minutes, rest should be taken for ten minutes.