Are you wondering how to start yoga? You’ve come to the right place!

If you practice yoga, you can experience a profound sense of harmony both within yourself and the world around you. Before you get into it, though, it’s important to set the right kind of atmosphere both inside and outside. Here are 5 pointers to keep in mind to optimize your yoga practice:

1. Make sure your stomach and bowels are empty.

Yoga is not just an exercise but a way of enhancing the human energy system. As Sadhguru explains, “Anything that is not the body should be out of the body if you want to move your energies upward.” So make sure to do your yoga practice before you eat (ideally in the morning before breakfast) and after emptying the bowels. And in the same vein, there should be no intake of food or water while you do the yoga practice itself.

2. Take a shower or bath.

Bathing is not just about cleaning your skin; when water comes in contact with your body, one’s interiority gets washed as well. Sadhguru recommends cool or tepid water as it makes “the pores between the skin cells open up, and that’s important for practicing yoga because we want the cellular structure of the body to be charged with a different dimension of energy.”

3. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes.

As we looked at, yoga works on one’s energy system. Wearing loose-fitting clothes assists in this process. Sadhguru says, “When your energies begin to expand within you, you will notice tight-fitting clothes will not be comfortable on your body. Naturally you would want a very loose fitting cloth.”

4. Consume neem and turmeric before the yoga practice.

“The consumption of neem and turmeric with tepid, light honey water is a wonderful way of cleansing and dilating the cellular structure in such a way that it is able to absorb energy. When you do sadhana, the dilation brings flexibility to the muscles. The flexibility helps you to slowly build the system into a more powerful possibility.” -Sadhguru

5. Start with an invocation.

An invocation is a way of bringing out the best in you before you practice yoga. In the yogic culture, invocations are usually in Sanskrit, an ancient language that directly connects sounds with forms. Using sounds to activate the human system is the basis of Nada Yoga, or the yoga of sound. An invocation is a very simple form of Nada Yoga. A simple invocation that you could start with is:

Asato ma sadgamaya
Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
Mrityor ma amritangamaya
Aum Shanti Shanti Shantihi
Lead me from untruth to truth
Lead me from darkness (ignorance) to light (knowing)
Lead me from death to deathlessness

Learn more from this beginner’s guide on how to practice yoga.