Food: Before attending any exercise class prepare by limiting heavy food consumption three hours beforehand. A light snack can be taken allowing one hour to pass before exercise. Remember that it takes one to three hours for digestion to be completed. During digestion, blood is diverted from muscles to the digestive system. This limits blood and oxygen needed to move large muscle causing cramps and nausea.
Water: Limit your intake of water to 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after class. In Ashtanga yoga we are working to create internal heat to burn away digestive toxins. However, please hydrate yourself well outside of this restricted time before and after your yoga practice. If you need to drink something during the restricted period just sip slowly and not gulp. You may
excuse yourself to use the water cooler in the lobby if necessary but do not bring water bottles into the yoga room.
Clothing: Wear light clothing that is comfortable and unrestricting but not baggy. If you sweat, I recommend bringing a small towel to class. Sweating lessens with time and experience.
Yoga mats & props: Props, blocks, wedges and straps are supplied to you at class. A yoga mat can be purchased almost anywhere and is also available to purchase or rent at the yoga studio. However, exercise mats are different from yoga mats and are unsuitable to the practice of yoga.
Injuries or health problems: Yoga is therapeutic for certain conditions if practiced properly. However, it is not a cure-all. If you have a health condition, be sure to discuss it with your teachers before class. They may be able to provide you with helpful modifications so as not to aggravate your injury. Or they may refer you to a yoga therapist for private counseling. Likewise, if you develop an injury from yoga, be sure to let your teachers know. It may be the result of improper alignment. If you a pregnant, it may or may not be advisable to begin a new yoga program. If you have never done yoga and are pregnant, you may want to consider taking a pre-natal yoga class or a more gentle Integral Yoga class. If you were very physically active before becoming pregnant, it is likely you will be able to continue yoga throughout most of your pregnancy. However, you will have to modify your practice as your baby develops.
Ambition: Try to remove expectation and ambition from your yoga practice. No posture isworth an injury. Success and failure do not exist in the practice of yoga. Focus on the process and being present in the moment. Only through your internal awareness will you come to know when to work harder or deeper and when to move more carefully.
Attachment: If your practice isn’t going well, or if you become frustrated because you have difficulty performing a posture compared to everyone else, try to let go of these negative feelings. Practicing non-attachment in all areas of life is the key to contentment and a long and successful yoga career. Remember that yoga is a process that is nourished and built over a long
period of time with dedication and patience. Learn to practice smarter not harder. Take your time and enjoy the gift you are giving yourself.
Breath: Ujjayi breathing is the most important aspect of yoga. By listening and moving the body with the power of the breath one develops awareness of body and mind. In fact, there is no yoga without the breath initiating the movement into and out of postures. Fluidity in movement and stability in posture can only be achieved by listening to the sound and rhythm of the breath.
Concentration: Keep your eyes on your own mat. Focus on what you are doing and feeling, not on what others can or cannot do. Yoga is non-competitive. One of the results of a focused practice is internal awareness leading to a moving meditation. Focus on external awareness hinders one from achieving this result.
Sweating & Fatigue: Allow yourself to sweat. It is the body’s natural mechanism for removing toxins and cooling the body. Beginners tend to feel too hot, while seasoned practitioners often feel too cold. Take your time to build your practice. As you build your endurance level you will become stronger over time. Use deep ujjayi breathing by exhaling twice the amount of time
it takes to inhale. Anytime that you feel technique is being compromised by over heating or fatigue, relax into the Childs Posture until you are ready to rejoin the class. Never push you body where it doesn’t want to go. Play your edge without crossing over it.
Hunger & Thirst: Be careful about drinking a large amount of icy cold water immediately afterclass. You may become nauseated or develop a stomach ache. If you are hungry after a yoga class, have a light meal preferably made up of fruit and veggies. After an intense yoga practice, the body is extremely sensitive and purified of digestive toxins and waste. Suddenly dumping a large amount of heavy food into your body can shock the digestive system and overload the circulation system. You will feel the effects the morning after!
Pain & Soreness: In the beginning, chronic soreness is normal and all of you will experience soreness to varying degrees. Extreme soreness may feel painful but will ease up as you slowly become accustomed to your new yoga exercises. Most likely you will feel the effects of your yoga practice the morning after class. Taking a warm soak in the bath tub will ease sore muscles and get you moving. However, localized acute sharp pain is not caused by soreness and may be due to an old injury or an injury developed during class. If you feel you are injured during yoga class, inform the teacher and immediately seek medical assistance. If you are feeling effects of an old injury, the teacher may be able to provide guidance as to the proper course of action.
Practice: The more you practice what you have covered in class, the quicker you will feel the positive effects of yoga. A ten-minute practice daily is preferable to two hours once a week. Please do not practice beyond what we have covered in class! Take your time and build your practice slowly without injury.