Friday, September 16, 2011

Best tips to be followed in Yoga Class

Here are some tips for being mannerly on your mat:

On arriving late (or leaving early)
The main thing here is, try not to do either. But, things happen, and the best-laid plans often go awry.
In some private studios, the door will be closed and quite possibly locked, thus taking care of what to do about late-comers. Pounding on the door would not be a viable option here. In gym settings, or in studios where walking in late is possible, be respectful of the meditative yearnings of the rest of the class who showed up on time — open and close the door quietly, tiptoe in, open and lay down your mat as delicately as if you were handling TNT. 

Be as unobtrusive as a pickpocket. And if you must leave early, best to inform the teacher before class starts, and leave with the utmost quietness. Getting up during savasana (final resting pose) is a no-no.

Taking up space
Avoid wedging your mat in where there is insufficient space Your teacher can help rearrange the layout of mats. That way you won't have to incur the wrath (wrath is unyoga-like, yet not uncommon in such situations) of participants who are already deep into their own inner as well as outer space.

Do not tread on others' mats
This should go without saying, but I am saying it anyway because I see it happening all the time. This is tantamount to inviting yourself into someone else's home. Step over anyone's mat that's not your own.

Come to class clean . . .
Body odor is a big distraction. If your routine is to work out vigorously and then come to yoga class, wash off the sweat and use a deodorant. Hand sanitizers should be liberally employed. Offer to share with your neighbors, especially in flu season. If you are ill, stay away from class; others do not need to be exposed any more than is necessary, and you can always practice at home.

. . . but not too clean
Avoid finishing off your aura with perfumes and colognes. Many people are sensitive to fragrances.

Wear appropriate clothing
Yoga is not about fashion statements. Comfort and practicality rule. Please, leave your shirt on. I have on two occasions witnessed practitioners strip during class. I suppose that one may ask permission before doing so in an unusually warm setting.

On doing your own thing
Don't. Even if you have a better practice than the teacher, or anyone else in the room. This kind of thing leads to a free-for-all, which is definitely not conducive to a mind-body-spirit balanced class. If there is a pose that you just have to do, and the teacher is not offering it, wait until the end of class and go do it to your heart's content. Now, if you are pregnant, that is a whole other matter. You do need to modify poses and avoid certain ones as well. 

Breathing too loudly
Uijayi pranayama (ocean-sounding, or victorious breath) is a wonderful practice, even if you have not been invited by the teacher to use it. But it can be distracting to others. Properly performed, it should be audible only as far as the next mat over. And please, no grunting; if the pose is too strenuous, simply back off and pause in prayer or child pose.

Thank your teacher
Simply repeat "namaste" after she says it at the end of class, even if you are a bit unsure of exactly what it means. And perhaps you might take a moment to expand upon the sentiment by saying a bit more about how great the class was, etc. Teachers love feedback.

Clean up
That means wiping off your mat, especially if you are using one that belongs to the facility. Put away your props too — neatly. Be like a Boy Scout and leave the place a little better than you found it.

Courtesy:  Copyright © 2011, Reuters

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

B.K.S.Iyengar is a living legend

Yogacharya B.K.S.Iyengar (Guruji) is a living legend who has taught yoga in a unique way to all his students. B. K. S. Iyengar introduced Iyengar Yoga, a form of Hatha Yoga known for its use of props, such as belts, blocks, and blankets, as aids in performing asanas (postures). Iyengar Yoga is firmly on the traditional eight limbs of yoga as expounded by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, which includes yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Yoga for Fitness

Yoga is all the rage for its combined physical and mental benefits, as well as the fact that so many of us look downright sexy in those groovy yoga pants and bare, recently pedicure feet.

Hatha Yoga is the most commonly practiced form, and it's ideal for beginners, focusing as it does on slow stretching and simple poses. Like all fitness trends, more intense forms of Yoga are the ones you hearing people talking about—Iyangar, Vinyasa, Tantric and Hot Yoga are in vogue with the same people who were all about Pilates a couple of years ago. If you're looking to increase your strength, balance and flexibility in a calm atmosphere, look for a generic, beginners' Yoga class instead of going with one of the trendier forms: you'll find it satisfying and you'll be less likely to suffer strains.

Some Yoga classes focus on spiritual work with a lessened emphasis on fitness. There may be meditation and chanting. Yoga at the gym or health club will probably be fitness oriented, but if you study at an ashram or another place dedicated to Yoga, you may find the classes more comprehensive.

If you're looking for a more challenging workout and want to shake things up a bit, you may want to try Iyangar Yoga, which can be fluid and fast paced. Iyangar is not for the out-of-shape: you'd be surprised at the muscles you can pull if you just jump into an already-moving Iyangar class. While Hatha Yoga doesn't generally use props, Iyangar uses some of the same bands and bricks as Pilates.

There are as many types of Yoga as there are people who teach it. Hot Yoga is especially popular because it's fun to do Yoga in a 95 degree room full of sweating students. Okay, that doesn't sound like fun, but people love it because it combines a Yoga workout full of stretching and bending with a room heated to bring waxy flexibility to even fairly stiff muscles and joints. Hot Yoga isn't for everyone—if you have health issues like heart trouble, if you're pregnant or out of shape, you shouldn't attempt Hot Yoga. But if you're in good health and especially if you live in the cold North and want a warm winter workout, Hot Yoga is the way to go.

There are various ways of becoming certified to teach Yoga, so before you join a class, find out about the instructor's educational background. You want a teacher who's been doing Yoga for a long time, and it never hurts if that person also has a degree in something like exercise physiology. Yoga is a specialist sport: your gym shouldn't be training Yoga instructors in 3 or even 6 months: Yoga takes years. And once you've ascertained that your instructor does indeed know her or his stuff, you will still want to look for the hallmarks of a good instructor. Instructors should be happy to answer questions, should provide demonstrations and feedback during class, and should never push you into doing things you aren't ready for. Because Yoga is about stretching and gaining flexibility, people who are in a hurry to get fit may feel impatient. That impatience can lead to injury if you stretch too far, bounce in your stretching or attempt poses that hurt. Don't expect to be able to do it all at first: over time, you'll get stronger and will be able to hold poses longer and take on new challenges in the form of more extreme poses.