Yoga Questions Answered
Yoga Questions Answered
I am New to Yoga! Have limited understanding about it?
You don’t need to be 25, supple, a size 6 and to eat tofu to benefit from Yoga! It suits any body shape or life stage – kids, teens, pregnancy, middle and advanced years.
Yoga is for everyone: men, women, kids + teens, through to seniors, mothers-to-be and new mums. If pregnant we recommend that you do not practice for the 1st trimester. Taking your first step onto the Yoga mat is an exciting new beginning. Whichever style, course or class you go with, we believe that the only way to start Yoga is with the highest standard of teacher in the best environment. Building a solid foundation is the most important part of your Yoga practice.
Today there are lots of different styles of Asana Practice in Yoga. Many classes are simply called ‘Yoga’, as teachers often incorporate different elements from various yogic traditions and styles. Every teacher is different and you may want to sample a few and see what resonates with you.
What does OM mean? Why do we chant it?
OM is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of Yoga sessions. It is said to be the sound of the universe. What does that mean?
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, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.
Do I need to be a vegetarian to practice Yoga ? Why are we supposed to be on empty stomach and why should we not drink water during practice?
The first principle of Yoga philosophy is Ahimsa, which means non harming 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 you are considering becoming a vegetarian, be sure to take into account your personal health issues as well how your choices will affect those with whom you live. Being a vegetarian should not be something that you impose on others—that kind of aggressive action in itself is not an expression of Ahimsa.
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, it will make itself known to you in ways that are not comfortable.
It is advised to practice on an empty stomach or at least 2-3 hours after your last meal. Also, it’s advised to have at least 3-4 liters of water during the day as it will help you to flush out the toxins out of the body that are released during your Yoga practice. 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.
What is the difference between stretching and Yoga?
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.
I don’t think I’m very flexible. Will I be able to do yoga?
Contrary to popular belief, being flexible isn’t a prerequisite for practicing Yoga! Some people are born naturally flexible, others have to work a little longer to attain their optimum flexibility. A Regular Yoga practice will definitely increase your flexibility. However, flexibility isn’t Yoga’s only goal or its only benefit. The ultimate benefit of Yoga — to promote radiant health inside and out — can be experienced by everyone, regardless of whether or not they can touch their toes! Come as you are, respect your limitations and listen to the teachers modifications. Most importantly, breathe and smile!
What If I Get Tired?
That is more than ok. One of the most important parts of Yoga is learning to listen to your body. This means recognizing when you are able to push yourself and when you need to take a rest. Your teacher will respect you for knowing your own limits!
Some of the poses don’t feel very comfortable to me and I’m sore the next day. I thought Yoga was supposed to make you feel good!
Yoga balances and tones your body by using all your muscles and taking all your major joints through every possible range of motion. As you begin, you’ll be calling upon parts of yourself you probably haven’t used in quite some time, if ever (which explains that temporary soreness). It’s natural for some of the poses to feel awkward or uncomfortable at first, but you’ll discover that with a little time and regular practice, your body will begin to open, adapt and grow stronger. Along with feeling increasingly calm yet energized, centered and relaxed, your gradually increasing comfort in the poses will tell you you’re making progress.
What should I wear?
No special clothing is required to do Yoga. Wear comfortable clothing that isn’t too baggy and doesn’t restrict movement. In general, a fitted stretchy top and bottom is recommended so your shirt (or pants) do not ride up towards your face during poses like downward facing dog. Also, avoid wearing belts or excessive jewelry as it could get in the way of your Yoga practice. Yoga is done with bare feet, so please come with clean feet, and plan to remove your shoes and socks when you arrive.
And tell me about Studio Etiquette?
Every minute of a Yoga class is important. Please arrive a few minutes early. As you come into the room, look around – don’t just plop down in the middle of the room, where every time someone comes in you’re going to have to move your mat. If arriving late for class is unavoidable, silently wait outside until the “centering” part of class is complete. Then come in, quietly unroll your mat, and join the class.
The day when you have to leave early from class, please rest for at least a couple of minutes in savasana and then quietly leave without disturbing the class.
Yoga Etiquette Tips You Best Follow
- Be Punctual to Every Class
- Mind Personal Hygiene
- Minimize Conversation. Or Go silent altogether.
- Turn Off all Electronics before Class
- Wear Decent Yoga Clothing
- Remove Shoes Outside
- Go Easy on Perfume and Cologne
- Enter and Settle down Quietly
- Leave (even Well-behaved) Children at Home
- Respect the Teacher and always Thank the Teacher
- Observe Silence during Savasana
- When using any of the props, blankets chairs etc, that they are placed back neatly
- Consider others when we are busy by moving your mat and making space.
- Remember the yoga room is always a “Whisper Zone”
- The shala is located in a residential area, please drive quietly down the street and refrain from talking in the carpark area.
- And Pay without a Reminder