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A special FAQ section for new students

What should i wear to class?

What you wear to class is dictated by concerns of practicality and discretion.  It is important that you, as well as the teacher, be able to see how various parts of the body – especially the arms and legs - are moving and are being positioned.  For this, it is ideal to wear shorts and a t-shirt.  In any case, do not wear clothes that are so loose that they get in the way, or those that are so tight that they restrict movement.  Do not wear anything that distracts other students in the class – including strong perfumes.

Do I need to carry my mat/ anything else to the class?

We have everything that you will need to use in the class.  However, if you prefer to be on your own mat, please carry it with you.

Should I come to class on empty stomach?

The stomach should be relatively empty – 3 hours since a full meal or 1.5-2 hours after light snacks.  However, and especially, if you are prone to low blood pressure, drink that cup of tea/coffee with a couple of biscuits about an hour before class.

Is it ok to drink water during the class? Do i need to carry water bottle to the class?

If you are feeling exhausted/ dehydrated/ faint/ thirsty, it is ok to sip water.  However, because of the specific positioning of internal organs during asanas (like inversions and twists) yoga should be done on an empty stomach and empty bladder as far as possible.  So, do not get into the habit of drinking too much water during class, or during your practice.

We usually have drinking water in the class.

Can i eat immediately after the class?

Give a short break after class before you eat a big meal.  However, it is ok to drink water or eat something small immediately afterwards.

Can i take a shower after the class?

Immediately after a class, the vital energy of the body has receded deeper inside.  Taking a shower/ bath in this condition will shock the consciousness into coming back to the surface of the skin.  Savour the effects of the class and delay that shower for a while.

I have personal reasons for not joining in the prayer at the start of the class.  Is that ok?

There are many reasons for saying the invocation to sage Patanjali in the beginning of the class. (Read through Geetaji’s explanation of the invocation in the other document in the NOTES section “Invocation to Sage Patanjali” here).  It is not a religious prayer or a mere formality. It is an expression of gratitude to our first teacher – the codifier of the subject. As a student, it is an invocation for our previous memories of yoga to surface, to help us along the path of yoga.  It is an opportunity to clearly demarcate the outer world that we are coming from, and the place of learning that we are entering.  Beyond the meaning of the words, the resonance of the sounds is meant to put us in a state compatible to begin the study of yoga.

However, if you have strong reasons not to join in the prayer, we will not force you.   Just sit quietly while the prayer is being said.

Can i come in late to/ leave early from the class?

The initial invocation to sage Patanjali, and the final savasana are integral part of the class.  In fact, in fact it is best arrive 5 minutes before the class starting time in order to settle in, and to not immediately rush headlong into another activity immediately after the class.  However, in case of emergency you may come in late or leave early.  As long as it does not happen too frequently, we believe the class should be compassionate enough to make room for your personal exigencies.

Do i have to attend all classes?

Yes.  The two/ three classes in the week is the bare minimum for you at a beginner level.   

What if i experience pain/ discomfort in certain asanas? Can I omit certain asanas because I do not feel comfortable doing them?

No learning process is completely painless.  Learning anything new requires stepping out of ones comfort zone, and opening oneself up to failures and setbacks. This is true of any subject worth learning. 

In the context of an asana practice, it is important to differentiate between discomfort and pain.  

In the beginning, most discomfort is due to unfamiliarity.  If feeling agitated and nervous when attempting an asana for the first time, you can come out of it.  But then, try again with calmness.

A beginner might experience discomfort in using a faculty that has been unused since a long time.  This is mostly understood as physical – like becoming aware of a muscle groups that you have not used consciously before.  But exploration of unfamiliar non-physical faculties can also feel uncomfortable – like the sense of balance, of focusing deeply, and of being in the present. There are students who find it very difficult to stay in savasana even though physically there is nothing difficult about it. Draw a balance between ability and willpower - between caution and courage. Explore a little more every time, but not at the cost of causing physical injury or overwhelming mental agitation.

The pain that one needs to watch out for is one that emanates due to wrong actions and positioning of the muscles, bones and joints, and also of internal organs.  Be watchful of pain in sensitive joints like the lower back, the shoulder joint, the knees and the wrists.  Also be watchful of pain that, instead of subsiding after you release the asana and bringing a sensation of release and opening, seems to persist and in fact, intensifies. Be aware that our current sedentary lifestyles have made many actions/ positions that might have come easily a few generations ago, out of reach for us. A common s

If you have a previous injury or any other physical/ mental ailment, inform the teacher before class.  There might be certain asanas or actions that are contraindicated in your condition and you will be shown the modified versions of such asanas or be given an alternate action.  In a class with many students, the teacher might not have the time to remind you every time - IT IS THE STUDENT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO TREAT THEIR OWN BODIES WITH RESPECT AND SENSITIVITY, AND TO UNDERSTAND AND REMEMBER THE CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CORRECTIONS.

Do I have to stick to my batch? If I miss a class, can I make-up for it by attending a class in another batch?

As a general rule, no.  You are not entitled to make-up classes for the classes you have missed.  However, please discuss this with the teachers.  If there is space in a compatible batch, you will usually be given a one-off permission to attend class.

Can my yoga teacher advise me regarding my psychological problems?

 No doubt there have been ( and still are) many teachers that have progressed far along the path of yoga and can be mentors and guides in all spheres of life. We however, make no such claims. We are - just like you - students of yoga ourselves.

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