As an athlete, is yoga for me?
Yoga has far reaching benefits for anyone who practices sports. Whether you are a competitive athlete or just looking to improve your game, incorporating Yoga into your exercise regimen can help you get stronger, more flexible, and less injury prone. With regular yoga practice you will build endurance, reduce aches and pains, and recover faster between training sessions. To list a few specific benefits:
Yoga teaches you how to breathe more efficiently. Pranayama, the practice of controlling the breath, involves the entire respiratory system and expands the lungs so as to take in more air. Deep and rhythmic breathing increases the flow of oxygen to each cell in the body, detoxifying the body by eliminating waste and toxins. Pranayama also serves as an important bridge between the mind, the spirit, and the body. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga teaches how to integrate the body, the mind, and the breath to stay focused, alert, and calm in the face of intensity.
Yoga helps improve body alignment. The postures strengthen the core muscles in the torso, especially those that support the spine. Unlike typical exercise, practically every asana in Yoga has a positive effect on the spine. By continued practice, the spine can become stronger and more flexible and the body will become more properly aligned. Proper body alignment impacts every aspect of how you move, helping you to move freely, safely with a greater range of motion.
Increasing flexibility with yoga leads to more ease of movement and fewer injuries. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (a dynamic form of Yoga) tones and strengthens the muscles and the tendons to stabilize the joints. With continued practice yoga helps avoid acute and repetitive injury. It is often prescribed to help heal various injuries, including repetitive strain injuries, knee and back injuries, and pulled hamstrings.
Yoga improves muscular development. Many sports require us to perform repetitive motions that develop some muscle groups, while ignoring others. The result can be imbalances that lead to uneven muscle development or chronic injuries on the dominant side. Yoga can help fix these imbalances. A well-rounded asana practice is very powerful because unlike other forms of exercise, it requires an even, centered strength, where the body works as one unit and every little far-reaching muscle gets stretched and strengthened.
Asanas can even work on the internal body, cleansing the organs and fortifying the bones. Yoga can also be used for therapeutic purposes, to decrease stress, anxiety, emotional tension and improve the quality of sleep. Proper rest and sleep are crucial for the athlete's recovery process.
Overall, yoga is a perfect complement to any sports training. A dedicated practice helps free the body of physical constraints, enhancing athletic performance and ability.
Is it normal to feel particularly emotional after a class?
Practice can release and unblock emotions stored in the body and mind. This is a healthy part of the process to be embraced.
What is a traditionally counted primary class (a led class)?
In led classes, a teacher will guide you through the postures of the primary series without interruption using the traditional Sanskrit counting system. This class is for those with a certain level of previous experience. We do offer other classes which are beginner friendly!
What is so unique about Ashtanga Yoga, and why should I practice it?
Ashtanga Yoga is a practice you can do anywhere! You can learn the fixed sequence of postures by heart and take them with you to build a personal, everyday practice.
Can I practice on my period?
It is recommended to take rest from practice for the first 3 days of your period.
Can I practice while pregnant?
It is not recommended to begin practice during your pregnancy.
However, if you already have experience with the practice, you may continue. Although, it is advised not to practice during the first trimester.
Your teacher will give you the appropriate modifications for your condition.
Do I need to be very flexible to practice?
Flexibility is not a prerequisite!
Over time with Ashtanga Yoga, you will experience a full transformative process - flexibility included.
For morning sessions, do I need to arrive at 6:30AM sharp?
For morning sessions, we welcome any arrivals between 6:30 and 7:30AM.
Also, if you have early morning comittments and need to leave at a specific time but still wish to practice, this is no problem! Please advise the teachers on how long you have, and we will advise you how to modify the postures accordingly so you practice effectively.
As a senior citizen, can I practice Ashtanga Yoga?
Of course, Ashtanga is for everyone.
Even according to Pattabi Jois (the Guru of Ashtanga Yoga), the only people who cannot practice are those who are too lazy to do so!
How many times a week should I be practicing?
To experience the maximum benefits of practice, it is recommended to start with 2 or 3 times per week minimum. You can build from there!
Why is Ashtanga practiced in the early morning?
Early practice leaves you available for a full day of personal or professional commitments with increased energy, clarity, and calm.
If you are not used to getting up early, you might just surprise yourself - give it try! It is something to be experienced.
Is Ashtanga a particularly difficult style of yoga?
Ashtanga is a dynamic form of yoga but the Mysore self-practice style allows everyone to follow their own rhythm and advance at their own pace. You will set your own challenges and grow accordingly!
Why are the same sequence of postures repeated?
This practice is thought to maintain both honesty and humility. While the sequence is fixed, you will find that how we approach it each day is different because it is a transformative process.
Will I sweat?
Like any good workout, sweat is a part of the package. In Ashtanga in particular, sweating is very good as it is part of the purification and removal of toxins from the body.
As a religious person, will yoga impact my beliefs?
Yoga can be practiced freely by everyone and will not interfere with any of your beliefs.
Is there anything I should do before/during a class?
What are moon days and why don't we practice Ashtanga Yoga during them?
Moon days mark the day of a new or full moon. It is traditional It is traditional for Ashtanga Yoga practitioners to leave these days as practice free.
It is recommended to avoid practicing asanas these days because the risk of injury is higher than usual and these days are considered favorable for rest.
The lunar cycle serves as a guide to the spiritual practices of many traditions, and yoga is no exception to this rule. Humans are 65-70% water, and as the moon phases influences the tides, it also influences us. Both sun and moon have a gravitational pull on the earth. In the Ashtanga tradition, their position creates energetic experiences that can be compared to the cycle of the breath. The full moon energy corresponds to the end of the inhalation when Prana is greatest. This is an expansive, and upward moving force that makes us feel energetic and emotional, but not well grounded. As stated in the Upanishads the main prana lives in the head. We are more headstrong during full moon. The new moon is corresponds to the energy at the end of the exhalation when force of Apana is greatest. Apana is the downward, contracting moving force that makes us feel calm and grounded but dense and disciplined towards asana practice.