To make your practice more mindful and
awareful please keep in mind the following guidelines.
Is it your 1st yoga class? Let us start together! Read the guidelines carefully and contact me for further information or in case of any doubts.
- Come to the practice 10-15 minutes before the start
- Your clothing must be comfortable and should not restrict your movements and breathing
- Practice bare feet
- Avoid consuming any food 2 – 3 hours before practice. A cup of light tea or milk -30 minutes before practice
- Try not to drink during your practice, only if needed drink small amount of warm water or herbal tea
- Inform your teacher about injuries or other conditions (like pregnancy, acute pain etc.)
- Do your practice with full awareness. If your mind wanders bring it back to the poses and breathing
- Do not strain or push yourself beyond your capacity. Be patient and move into your poses with care and precision
- Do not challenge and compare yourself with others
- While practicing poses breath properly following the instructions of your teacher
- If you have any medical condition, you should check with your health care professional before starting a yoga practice
- Inform your teacher about existing injuries or health challenges and be aware of the contraindications for each posture before doing it
- Surgeries, pregnancy, menstruation, high blood pressure and injuries are all conditions where certain postures must be avoided and special care must be taken in all postures
- Follow the modified instructions of your teacher
The word Yoga (Sanskrit, derived from the root yuj – “to join”, “to bind”, “to yoke”) is understood as a union of the Individual Consciousness (Soul) with the Universal Consciousness (Totality). Union of oneself with one’s true nature. Samadhi or Enlightenment. It can also mean – integrating various aspects of the human being.
Yoga Sutras (created by the Indian Sage Patanjali more than 3000 years ago, seems to be even before Lord Krishna who taught Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna) is a collection of 195 statements or aphorisms that serve as a guiding light for Yoga that is practiced today. It presents eight limbs of yoga (Ashtanaga yoga) : Yamas (Deeper values to be contemplated and assimilated), Niyamas (personal observances to be practiced), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (extension of life force through breathing exercises), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption). As we explore and practice these eight limbs, we become more sensitive and empathetic, and then we move inwardly resulting in series of Samadhis culminating in Sahaja Samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).
Today most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, Asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the system and provide the physical strength, flexibility, stamina and total body control leading to long periods of meditation.
Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and the end of a yoga session.
Om is derived from the Sanskrit root Ava – “to protect”. It also means that which leads us in the right direction.
Om is made up of sounds A U M. A – is the first sound to come when we open the mouth. U – indicates rounding up of all sounds as we slightly close the mouth. M – is the last sound when we close the mouth. This indicates that AUM or OM contains all sounds. Every object has a name and name is a sound. Thus Om is the name of the Totality.
Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us—that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.
Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, we are invoking the Universe, and awareness moving through the vibrations of our physical body, breath and emotions and we begin to sense a bigger connection with the Creation which t is both uplifting and soothing.
All you really need to begin practicing yoga is your body, your mind, and a bit of curiosity. But it is also helpful to have a pair of yoga leggings, or shorts, and a t-shirt. No footgear is required because you will be barefoot. It’s nice to bring a towel with you. As your practice develops you might want to buy your own yoga mat, but most studios will have mats and other props available for you.
Unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical postures. Patanjali’s eight-fold path illustrates how the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga. Even within the physical practice, yoga is unique because we connect the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.
Yoga is amazing—even if you practice only for one or two hours a week, you will experience the benefits. If you can do more than that, you will certainly gain more. We suggest starting with two or three times a week, for an hour or an hour and a half each time. If you can only do 20 minutes per session, that’s fine too. Don’t let time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle—do what you can and don’t worry about it. You will likely find that after a while your desire to practice expands naturally and you will find yourself doing more and more.
The first principle of Yoga Philosophy (Yama) is Ahimsa, which means non-violence to self and others. Some people interpret this to include not eating animal products. There is debate about this in the yoga community—we believe that it is a personal decision that everyone has to make for themselves. If one considers becoming a vegetarian, one should be sure to take into account one’s personal health issues as well as how one’s choices will affect those with whom he or she lives. Being a vegetarian should not be something that one imposes on others—that kind of aggressive action in itself is not an expression of ahimsa.
Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5000 years ago. The father of classical Ashtanga Yoga (the eight-limbed path, not to be confused with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga yoga) is said to be Patanjali, who wrote Yoga Sutras. There are many other Scriptures which provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical body and mental health. Yoga philosophy is close to another two schools of Philosophy, they are Sankhya school of philosophy, Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism.
It is not required to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga.
Yes! You are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that’s a little bit like thinking that you need to swim in order to take swimming lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.
The new found flexibility will be balanced by strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, self-confidence and overall well-being.
It’s good to keep the stomach empty before the yoga practice begins. In yoga practice we twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward. If you have not fully digested your last meal, and if it’s still in stomach it’s definitely not good. If you are a person with a fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might get hungry or feel weak during yoga class, experiment with a light snack such as yogurt, a few nuts, or juice about 30 minutes to an hour before class.
The Sanskrit chants are mostly from the ancient Vedas and they are prayers addressed to the Universal Intelligence for the welfare of the teacher and the student together. Some of them are universal prayers for the well-being of everyone around including animals and plants. This helps in collecting oneself before the class, improves concentration and also helps correcting one’s attitudes and dispositions.
Generally, nowadays most of the Asana’s as well as other practice’s and concept’s names are taught in English but to preserve the traditional and authentic aspect of the teaching the names are given in Sanskrit, as even most of the medical terminology is in Latin.
Asanas are important for improving health, flexibility, strength, posture and looks. Positive emotions like Happiness, Joy, Love and negative emotions like Anger, Jealousy and Depression are experienced in the mind. Mental health, flexibility, strength and clarity are more important than the body. Hence importance needs to be given to inner energy, emotional well-being, clarity of thought and good decision making ability.
Ancient Rishis (Seers) who gave Vedas and all yogic knowledge worked on this topic and discovered fundamental principles and their application, which govern Psychological welfare. We don’t need to re-invent the wheel.
Hence yoga begins on the mat but not to end on the mat. Yoga should culminate in to discovering the unconditional, uninterrupted and unlimited Joy and Love.