People think planning is the main thing and execution is a piece of cake. But when it comes to implement, many fail. Below is not an article about execution. It is about what the journey of a successful Yogi needs to look like. To make any meditation or yoga plan successful, here are some practical tips for beginners :
1. Pre requisites, check ?
- Have your yoga accessories – mats, blocks, bolsters, etc. Start with a good quality yoga mat, preferably non-slip, that suits your needs and will last a long time. Use the resources around you well to substitute blocks.
- Select a pleasant setting. Look around and locate a spot where it’s quiet and calm, with enough space to move around. If you have a spare room that you can dedicate to your practice, amazing !
- Have a self safety audit. Observe your boundaries and especially be mindful of your body’s vulnerable parts – knees, neck, spine and hips. Make sure that body is all warmed up before attempting any advanced poses, and keep checking if it feels okay to be in a pose.
2. Zero distractions
- Family members, assistants, mobile, personal secretaries all need to be kept aside. Ask Alexa to take a break. Shift your focus away from worries and observe your body, breath and intentions during practice.
- Place an alarm clock and put it away. Just don’t think about it anymore. It will remind only when time’s up.
- During meditations, it may seem that ten minutes feels like an hour, just as an hour can feel like ten minutes. Don’t think much as thoughts’ amplify. As you practice it daily, it will slowly but surely be easier to let go of time.
3. What’s the Plan?
- Even if you have already prepared the plan, cross check that it has small doable goals.
- Follow the SMART plan (specific, measure, attainable, relevant and time based) 
4. There is no secret ingredient. Po !
- The story behind the above quote: Kung-Fu Panda is the story of Po, a large and clumsy panda who aspires to become a Kung Fu Dragon warrior. The quote is uttered by his father and heard at climax of the film. Po receives the Dragon Scroll, which is supposed to unlock limitless power within someone. However, the scroll turn out to be blank and only has a shiny surface inside. His father’s casual remark becomes a startling revelation.
- Hence, wisdom is, as long as you believe in yourself, you can do fantastic and amazing things ! All you have to do is think and believe that you are exceptional in your own way.
5. Inhale the future, Exhale the past
- Don’t forget to breathe. Couple of minutes of conscious deep breathing can be astonishing !
- Breathe slowly and rhythmically throughout the pose.
6. More isn’t always better
- Be it Yoga or meditation, when it comes to working out, more isn’t always better. One should give optimum time. Instead of going for long sessions in starting days, try to keep it small and save the enthusiasm for subsequent days.
- Even the variety of activities involved in your practice should not be too many. Stick with limited no of activities in any practice session and follow them for couple of weeks.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day. Relax ! take practice at a slower and steady pace.
7. You can’t ignore your diet
- Diet should be rich in sattvic food items. Sattvic foods are basically grains & legumes, fresh vegetables, gently sweet foods, etc. Spices should be as less as possible. It does include milk and dairy products. e.g. cows milk and ghee. Milk used is organic, raw & unpasteurized – direct from the cow’s nipples.
- Barley, rice, sastika rice, wheat, milk, sugar candy, ghee, good corns, sugar, butter, honey, Parwal (a vegetable), the five vegetables, dried ginger, moong, pure water, are very beneficial.
- Practitioner should eat tonics (things giving strength), greasy (made with ghee), milk, well sweetened, butter, etc., which may increase humours of the body, as per his desires”. For understanding these requirements refer Indian medical work Susruta. 
8. Feeling Sleepy ?
- It is really important to give your body time to relax in shavasana (known as corpse’s pose) after a yoga practice. The nervous system needs time to soak in the benefits it has gained during the practice.
- You can otherwise feel unnecessarily wired after a yoga practice, especially after an intense session.
9. It takes self-discipline
- A regular consistent approach is must to set a flow of practice. Progress in any pose / form is attained by continuous efforts. Practicing Yoga or meditation on a regular basis helps in achieving mental discipline, which will eventually become a part of your routine.
- Avoid irregularity in between and practice on fixed time. Follow regular sleep schedule. To avoid discontinuity, and also keeping it interesting, one can practice with friends. Thus enjoying it as a team and reaping benefits together.
Control over the mind’s fluctuations comes from persevering practice and nonattachment. These two guiding concepts - abhyasa (persevering practice) and vairagya (nonattachment) - are not just the key to overcoming your resistance; they are also the key to yoga. - Patanjali's Yoga sutras, Chapter 1, verse 2
- Discipline is not something that we force upon ourselves. It is something that we cultivates and which arises in us as a result of two things: our clarity of intention and our commitment.
10. Be Patient with your plan
- Meditating is a personal process. You can’t compare yourself with others. Our mind tends very quickly to comparisons. Be patient and make an effort every day, with no desires, and the rest will follow on it’s own.
- The trick is to keep going, no matter what.
11. It must be Attitude.
- An individual should be abstemious in his diet. Try to avoid laziness, habitual languor, ease and excess of sleep. You should observe silence. Keep occasional fasts as it ensures a good tone to your constitution.
- Practitioner should develop correct habits. He should check all sorts of ambitions and counter-currents of worldly desires by enquiry, thinking and discrimination.
Fire, women, travelling, etc. should be avoided. As said by Goraksa, one should keep aloof from the society of the evil-minded, fire, women, travelling, early morning bath, fasting and all kinds of bodily exertion– Hatha Yoga Pradipika
12. Teacher, the last resort
- Sometimes, you feel that yoga exercises or meditation that you are doing aren’t delivering same outcomes as expected. Maybe you are going through hard times and judge yourself as worthless. Don’t hesitate to ask the guide to show how it is done.
- A person who has walked the same course can guide you. He can inspire and stimulates. And even warn when necessary. Some meditations and yoga poses are actually impossible without the consistent guidance of a teacher.