General Guidelines for Yoga Students

General Guidelines for Yoga Students

In a Class:

v   Regularity is the key to your yoga practice. Attend classes consistently and arrive on time.

v   Wear loose comfortable clothing that allows your body to move freely. As teachers appreciate being able to see the knees clearly, bare legs or tights are best. Always practice barefoot.

v   Wait at least 4 hours after a heavy meal before practice, less if the meal is light. Evacuate your bowel and bladder before practice. Food may be taken 1/2 hour after practice.

v   It’s advisable to shower before class. Please refrain from wearing perfume, jewelry, & leave your shoes outside the studio.

v   Inform your teacher of any significant physical/medical conditions. Consult your physician if necessary, but learn to trust your own intuitive wisdom.

v   Breathe softly. Quietly, smoothly, and slowly through the nostrils. Do not restrain the breath while moving into, maintaining, or coming out of any posture. Holding the breath strains the heart and the nervous system.

v   Move into each pose with awareness. Do not bounce or jerk into a stretch as that automatically shortens the muscles, and can cause injury.

v   If you feel an uncontrollable pain, slowly leave the pose, examine and adjust the pose to lessen the stretch. If you unable to relieve a persistent pain, seek the advice of your teacher.

v   Be respectful and attentive to your teacher. Respond to your teacher’s questions, but also feel free to ask questions. Your teacher is also a student of yoga, eager to learn and share knowledge.

v   Remember that yoga is more than exercise. Be consciously aware as you practice.

At home:

v   Practice what was taught in class that week.

v   Find some time in your day that you have available regularly – perhaps the first thing in the morning or after work. Fifteen to thirty minutes is usually adequate in the beginning. Daily practice is desirable. But if that is not possible, begin every other day or four days a week.

v   Choose a clean, flat, well-ventilated space, where you can practice undisturbed.  Do not practice in direct sunlight or after having been in the hot sun for several hours.

v   Eliminate extra effort. Work the muscles necessary to hold the pose, but notice and relax any tension in the eyes, tongue, jaw, neck, throat, shoulders, and abdomen. Listen to your body.

v   Never assume anything! Look and adjust.

v   Go as far into the stretch as you can while maintaining correct alignment. It is much more beneficial to do the pose with correct alignment than to sacrifice the structure so that you appear to be stretching further. Work on the “edge” of your’ stretch, that is, feeling lots of sensation, but no pain. If you are complacent, changes will not occur. If you are overly ambitious, you may injure yourself.

v   If you feel an uncontrollable pain, slowly leave the pose, examine and adjust the pose to lessen the stretch. If you unable to relieve a persistent pain, seek the advice of your teacher.

v   You probably will notice that one side of your body does not respond as quickly as the other side. It is often helps to do a pose twice on your stiffer or weaker side since needs more care and attention to promote balance development. The poses you resist and avoid doing are likely to be the ones you need the most. In the beginning, it may be better to repeat a posture 3 times rather than holding for a longer time.

v   Build your knowledge and strength in the basic poses, especially the standing poses, before attempting more challenging poses.

v   One does not require props to practice yoga. However, in any location, there are usually many creative aids improve alignment and balance. The occasional use of a full-length mirror can be helpful but it must perpendicular to the floor and come down to the floor otherwise the view will be distorted.

v   Be curious and open to new experiences. Be willing to take a risk. Appreciate constructive criticism.

v   Expand your, knowledge of yoga by attending special workshops and reading some of the fine books that are available.

v   Be persistent and energetic. But at the same time, gentle and non-violent.

v   During menses, women should not practice inversions. This is a time for quiet, supported supine and forward bending poses. For more detailed recommendations, refer to Yoga: A Gem for Womenby Geeta S. Iyengar.