“Yoga in Daily Life” has a perfect eight-level structure, which should be followed systematically, level by level. The exercises are structured so that an optimal effect is gained for body, mind and soul. Therefore, it is recommended not to omit any exercise, except for health reasons. Any exercise that causes pain or strain should be avoided. If there is uncertainty, any problem or illness, a doctor, therapist or Yoga teacher should be consulted for advice beforehand.
The first level of exercises comprises the Sarva Hita Asanas, exercises that are “good for everyone” . These preliminary exercises, practiced prior to the true Yoga Asanas, offer an easy entry into the system of “Yoga in Daily Life”. They are suitable for everyone and bring relaxation and wellbeing to the body.Each of the six sections of the Sarva Hita Asanas should be practiced for at least two weeks.
The exercises of Levels 2-8 are each practiced for at least 12 weeks, together with the Pranayama (breath exercise) and Meditation, which belong to the relevant level.The exercises are described and illustrated so they can be easily learned by those who are practising on their own. However, the eighth level (with Lotus and Headstand) should only be practiced with a “Yoga in Daily Life” teacher.
Each exercise sequence constitutes a preparation for the next level. Only if each Asana from Part 1 is practiced as described can the many benefits be experienced and the next levels be mastered more easily.
When you have completed all eight levels of “Yoga in Daily Life”, you then have two ways of continuing:
- You can begin again at Level 1, but now practice with deeper concentration and relaxation.
- You can select exercises that are particularly beneficial and appropriate to your present physical and mental state. Nevertheless, practice the entire series of exercises again from time to time. In Yoga and in life, one never ceases learning.
With all Asanas both the Sanskrit expression and the English translation are given. Unfortunately, much of the meaning and vibration that are inherent in the Sanskrit names are lost in the translation. Academics have determined that Sanskrit is one of the few languages that has a holistic effect on both sides of the brain and consequently harmonises both mind and body. Therefore, try to memorise the Sanskrit names of the Asanas and visualise them during practice.
Whoever practices Yoga gains strength, courage and a zest for life. The Asanas and Pranayamas (physical and breath exercises) form two of the most important pillars for health and long life.
The breath exercises are considerably more effective than the equally important physical exercises and this is why they should form an integral part of each exercise programme.
An ideal combination is the practice of physical and breath exercises, together with relaxation. Physical and mental relaxation are prerequisites for the correct execution of all Yoga exercises, because only in this way can the benefits of the Asanas completely unfold.
It is important to develop the capacity to close your eyes for a few minutes and relax outwardly and inwardly. In this way the Yoga session becomes the most beautiful, most peaceful time of your day, after which you feel better and refreshed in every way.
Diet plays a particularly important role in physical and mental health as well as in spiritual development. The type of diet recommended in Yoga is a lacto-vegetarian whole food diet.
Guidelines for Practicing “Yoga in Daily Life”
- It is best to allocate 40-60 minutes daily for your Yoga practice. For success, regular and careful practice are equally important. The early morning hours are best suited for this, but the actual hour of practice is not the most important criteria.
- Never practice Yoga on a full stomach. Allow at least 3 hours after a meal.
- Wear comfortable, unrestrictive clothing (e.g. tracksuit). Belts, jewellery and shoes should be removed.
- Practice in a quiet place, using a mat or blanket to lie on.
- Consciously try to switch off during your Yoga practice. At the beginning of your practice lie for a few minutes in Anandasana (Relaxation Pose) and relax your body and your breath . Observe your inhalation and exhalation and try to detach yourself from all thoughts.
- Practice each Asana with complete attention and concentration. Keep your eyes open during the practice, except when it is written that the eyes should be closed. Consciously be aware of the influence of the individual exercises and always relax the whole body for a few breaths between the exercises.
- In order to practice “Yoga in Daily Life” successfully and to experience the benefits of this system in their abundance, keep to the given sequence of exercises. Always practice the exercises according to the original instructions. They should neither be altered nor mixed with other techniques.
- If it is not possible for you to perform certain exercises on the basis of physical limitations (e.g. stiffness) or other problems, then leave these exercises out.
- If for some special reason - whether through travel, lack of space, tiredness, illness or a stay in hospital - you are unable to continue with your usual daily practice, then practice mentally, either sitting or lying down in a relaxed position.
- If the correct performance of an exercise is not possible for you, don't give up immediately. Hold the position for a while, as well as you can, and then try it again. Everything takes time.
- “Yoga in Daily Life” also leads us to reflect upon habits and to change them if necessary. Particular emphasis is placed on correct diet. The recommended Yogic diet is a lacto-vegetarian whole food diet .
Sarva means “all”; Hita means “beneficial”.If you practice the exercises in the morning it is better to leave out the relaxation at the beginning as you can easily fall asleep again.See chapter “Vegetarian Food”.
Spiritual life means not only to meditate and to pray day and night, but to be active and creative, to work, to do good and to help. Before God, helping hands have more value than praying hands.