Try to arrive at least 5 mins before your class is scheduled to start so that you have time to settle in. Be considerate to the other students, if you do arrive late try not to disturb the atmosphere and flow of the class.
Asanas should be done on an empty stomach. Allow at least 3 to 4 hours after a heavy meal and half an hour after liquids before practicing. Try not to drink water during the class, if you are very thirsty take a small sip of water and keep it on your tongue.
Remember that yoga helps to remove toxins from the body. Drink enough water after the class to aid the process of detoxification. Consider your lifestyle choices and gradually try to reduce the amount of toxins you are taking into the body.
Practice bare feet – you want to feel your feet connected to the earth, as it helps to ground you. It also helps to stimulate the reflexology points in the feet. Wear loose and comfortable clothing- your movements should not be restricted.
The qualities required from a yoga aspirant are discipline, tenacity, commitment and perseverance, to practice regularly without interruptions.
If you have made the decision to practice yoga, commit yourself to a specific time to practice daily.
Life is always going to be busy, if you do not say ‘this is my yoga time now and everything else must wait’ – there will always be something to distract you. If you want to reap all the many wonderful benefits of yoga you need to attend class and practice at home on a regular basis.
Patanjali, the father of yoga, defines asana as “Sthiram sukam asanam” which translates as a comfortable and steady position. Always keep this in mind when practising. If you do not feel relaxed and stable in a pose, come out of it and try it from a balanced foundation. Move in a steady, controlled and relaxed way and coordinate your movements with the breath. Do not be afraid to experiment in the asana- make small adjustments in the posture and be aware of the effects.
It is not recommended that you practice the inverted asanas whilst menstruating or if you have high blood pressure or heart problems. Please inform the teacher at the start of class so that alternative asanas can be given.
Practice self- acceptance when you do yoga. Accept whatever limitations, imperfections or inflexibility you feel- this is the starting point. Do yoga in a non-competitive way, just for the sheer enjoyment of it. The purpose of asana practice is to influence, integrate and harmonise all the levels of being; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Try and use the SWAN principal as described by Swami Niranjanananda:
- S- strengths
- W- weaknesses
- A- ambitions
- N- needs.
Cultivate your strengths, remove weaknesses, achieve your ambitions and understand your needs. The practice of yoga will help you to reach your goals.
When you practice the asanas do not do them in a mechanical way- focus right into the posture. Every pose has a certain quality or feeling to it, so for example in Veerasana – Warrior Posture try to feel the strength and stability of a warrior.
Do not strain the breath while moving into the asanas or while maintaining them. The breath is the thread that links the body and mind together so be mindful of the breath at all times. Breathe through the nostrils and not through the mouth. The nostrils are connected to two major nadis – energy channels- ida (left nostril) and pingala (right nostril) which help to create balance between the mind and body and the male and female energies in the body.
I hope this will be the start of a life long journey for you and wish you all the best with your yoga practice.
Hari Om Tat Sat