17/09/2010 14:03 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Yoga: Begin At The Beginning And Master The Basics

Developing good habits will help you get the most out of this potentially transformative exercise that has becomes a life-long pleasure for millions of contented, bendy people the world over.

Flickr: lululemon athletica

1. Avoid eating a big meal beforehand
Your body needs its energy to make the most of the yoga, not struggling to do hold a pose because it's already busy digesting lasagne and chips (no matter how scrummy).

2. Adopt the most helpful attitude

Yoga isn't about trying to do postures perfectly but making the postures work for your body. Here's a paradox: approach what you're doing with a sense of ease and patience and you'll see quicker results.

3. Breathe, breathe, breathe

Ten years into yoga, I still find myself holding my breath when changing from one pose to another. Doh! The sooner you can get into the habit of working with your breath - in fact, letting it lead each movement - the better. The freer the breath, the greater the body and mind's chances of enjoying the positive effects of your practice. A good teacher will remind you to pay attention to your breathing.

4. Look after your health
If you have a permanent injury or condition - such as a damaged knee or shoulder - that you think could be worsened by doing yoga, ask your doctor and/or yoga teacher about which poses to avoid. Whatever the state of your physical health, aim to approach each pose in a relaxed way. Easy does it best.

5. Enjoy yourself
Why has yoga hung around for thousands of years and been lapped up by the west? Because it makes people feel good - before, during and after. If you don't like one class, try another with a different teacher, opt for another type, or stay at home and be your own instructor with the help of a yoga DVD.