There is no doubt that yoga has immense benefits for everybody. Yoga, the Sanskrit word literally translates to ‘union’: the union of body, breath and mind. Yoga not only helps shape up your body but also your mind. The thousands of years old time-tested set of practices has benefitted not the only human race, but life in its entirety. Yoga relaxes our body and mind, uplifts our spirit, and attunes our vibrations with nature, inspiring us to live in harmony with nature. But, while yoga’s benefits are aplenty, there needs to be proper caution administered when you are doing under certain circumstances. Here Dr Sajitha K, Head of Department, Swasthavritti and Yog at The Art of Living’s Sri Sri College of Ayurvedic Science and Research Hospital explains further.

1. For pregnant women, there is a separate yogic practice to suit the physical and mental needs of a would-be mother. In addition to providing relief during pregnancy, it helps the mother prepare her body for labour and delivery. The gentle movements and slow breathing also aid in stress-relief. For pregnant women, there is a special set of yogasanas prescribed after consultation with the doctors. The asanas in the common yoga protocol are counter-indicated for pregnant women. But during pregnancy, they can do all pranayamas or breathing exercises. For the other set of asanas, yoga experts decide the yoga sequence only based on the condition of the patient because there are certain (not all) conditions in pregnant women, where even sitting postures are counterindicated.

2. People with IVDP or intervertebral disc prolapse should exercise caution while practising yoga. For these patients, forward bending asanas should be avoided.

3. Anybody undergoing mental illnesses that render the patient incapable of cooperating and taking instructions from the yoga teacher should avoid doing it.

It is important to disclose your medical conditions to your yoga teacher before you join a yoga class. It is also imperative to consult with a doctor to find out if yoga asanas are safe for you.