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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 level of the skin. Savour the effects of the class and delay that shower for a while.
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. It is an opportunity to clearly demarcate the outer world that you are coming from, and the place of learning that you are entering. Beyond the meaning of the words, the resonance of the sounds is meant to put you 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.
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.
Yes. The two/ three classes in the week is the bare minimum for you at a beginner level.
The process of learning yoga is not painless. This is true of any subject worth learning. In fact, a lot of the learning comes just from trying and failing.
As a beginner, learn 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 it can also be painful to explore non-physical faculties for the first time – 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.
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 lumbar 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.
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 YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO UNDERSTAND AND REMEMBER THE CORRECT ACTIONS AND POSITIONS.
If you are beginner student, or not even a beginner yet, the above is the simple answer and you should stop reading this right about here. But, if you are up for some challenging thought, read this.