Dealing with pain or other problems
If you are trying to deal with some sort of pain or problem then the place to look is at the muscle or joint that is the approximate location of the pain or problem.
As with anything internet related, take it with a grain of salt, and use at your own risk. I should point out here that my methods for dealing with pain involve learning to deliberately activate or relax particular muscles both as a way to try to isolate a problem and to fix it.
Muscles are the fundamental units that drive movement and that actively power the ability for us to feel our body.
For a list of all pain related articles on this website, check out the APPP (Anatomy, Proprioception, Pain, Posture) index.
If you are getting into yoga (or are looking at this website) to find out more about stretching and getting more flexible then it again helps to be specific.
Do you have a particular set of muscles that you want to get more flexible? The central tenet of this website is that of using muscle control to improve flexibility. That means deliberately activating them or relaxing them.
Check out the flexibility page for more on stretching and improving flexibility.
Another option is to check out the stretches index.
You can also check out the tips for improving flexibility section in that index for general articles relating to improving flexibility.
Another potential area of interest may be in strengthening or working towards poses or actions that require strength. As when dealing with pain or trying to improve flexibility, muscle control is again the central tenet. You can look at body parts that you want to strengthen, or you can head to the strength or yoga pose pages to find the poses that you want to work towards.
To look up poses alphabetically, check out the alphabetical yoga poses page. A newer option for looking up yoga poses on this website is the alphabetical poses index page.
Dealing with stress
If you are getting into yoga as a means of destressing or dealing with stress then one of the prime exercises for doing that is to focus on breathing.
Breathing is a muscle driven action and you can get similiar benefits to breathing if you focus on smoothly activating and contracting muscles, any muscles, not just your respiratory muscles.
So if you are interested just in breathing, then check out the section on breathing, or double the benefits and work on feeling and controlling your body via muscle control.
To that end (of feeling and controlling your body via muscle control), why not pick an area that interests you? If your stress is from doing things that you don't want to do or have to do, why don't focus on something that you do want to do as part of your destressing activities.
Pick one and start.
I just want a routine to follow
What if you just want a good routine to follow? One good place to start is with Ashtanga. It's a fixed routine. What I would suggest is that once you've learned the poses, start focusing on feeling your body while doing the poses. Muscle control again. Many of the poses from the ashtanga yoga series are covered on this website.
Hmm, how do I learn to sequence poses?
For an overall schema for sequencing poses or stretches, another possible starting point is the meridians. They can be used to guide how you stretch and strengthen.
For more general tips, some of the pages have mini-routines but for an overview of how to sequence without screwing yourself up in the process check out the post on counterposes first.
For some simple follow along video routines, check out the section of Video routines below. These routines are designed to teach you some aspect of muscle control. But they can also be used together to develp
Is there a way to practice first principles thinking?
If you want a way to practice "thinking from first principles", I'd highly recommend practicing the dance of shiva.
I learned this practice from Andrey Lappa , but I teach it in a different way.
For more on working from first principles, you can also check out another of my websites Zero parallax.
I should point out here that while I've been working from first principles in most areas of my life it was Andrey Lappa who opened the door for me in applying it to a yoga practice.
For a really good foundation in sequencing yoga poses and working on the body I'd highly recommend one of his universal freestyle yoga teacher trainings.
If you are interested in learning to feel and control your body so that you better understand it and can better use it, then check out the ebooks and videos below.