10 Tips for the novice modern day yogi!
1. Arrive 10 minutes before the class starts.
There is a small changing area if you need to change your clothes (please note that men and woman are not seperated.)
By arriving early, you allow your mind to settle and the body to calm down from external stimuli which will provide more benefits during the class.
Should you arrive a couple of minutes later? Then enter the studio silently and roll out your mat softly on the floor – instead of slapping it on the floor in a hurry – to not distract the group.
2. Silence is Golden.
In yoga culture we promote overall health on multiple levels. Insight in your self is initially acquired through silence and compassion. As soon as you enter the yoga practice area (Yoga Shala in Sanskrit), choose a spot, sit or lie down and practice meditation by focussing on your breath and notice any reactions you may have to people walking in, sounds and conversations you hear and your thoughts and expectations, by not acting out on them.
Silence is the start of a calm mind and healing; consciously choose to do this every class and your development will skyrocket calmly. Also, in this way you are an example to newcomers and people looking for peace as you are part of offering a safe space for others to come into their centre.
3. Practice yoga on an empty stomach.
This one is exciting, isn’t it? As a teacher, I have seen fear arise in the eyes of students after learning about the necessity to practice on an empty stomach.
For a comfortable class, aim to ommit from heavy/solid food for about 2 to 3 hours prior to the start of the class. Some fruit, a biscuit or soup provides sufficient energy for a yoga class. Drink enough water before the class, but not during class.
Yoga on a full stomach is not only extremely uncomfortable, but can cause gag reflexes during yoga postures. Imagine the following: when your intestines and stomach are full and processing foods, while we start twisting and squeezing our mid sections (for the purpose of cleansing your intestines and stomach in the first place!), all that food gets squeezed upwards and out just nicely. Hmmmm……
After the class chances are that you feel happy and satisfied for not having eaten heavily and you will start to notice that we source energy from many other aspects than sugar and carbs.
You will also notice that you don’t need that much in the first place. These principles allow you to gently make conscious changes in your diet, based on reading into the needs of your body. With a full stomach it’s hardly possible to feel, hence over-eating is a mechanism to combat stress, albeit an extremely unhealthy one.
Start small and simple, which can and most probably will lead to structural and desired outcomes.
4. What to wear?
Wear comfortable clothes in which you can move freely, for example sports clothes or specific yoga clothes.
Although sweatpants/leggings and a T-shirt more than suffice!
Tip: bring an extra hoody, sweater or sari to keep you warm during the final relaxation.
5. Get your own yoga mat and create a sanctuary at home.
Your own mat offers the possibility to continue exploring yoga at home and is better suited due to hygienic purposes.
If you don’t have your own mat, then bring your own towel to the group class and we provide the mat.
Personal yoga mats can also be arranged by your teacher.
6. Please don’t enter the yoga area with shoes and your mobile phone/make sure your phone is silent. Thank you.
7. Are you completely new to yoga and would you like to learn more in-depth about yoga? Join a Worx101 yoga workshop.
This workshop is especially designed for beginners or longer standing practitioners that want look into certain aspects of their practice and learn more about the vastness of the yogic system itself.
8. Practice yoga postures within your noticeable boundaries.
During yoga classes we explore the flexibility of your boundaries and beliefs on a physical, mental, emotional and maybe even spiritual level, while relieving stress, building strength and flexibility.
However, since yoga postures effect deeper layers of your physiology, yoga injuries also run deeper, are tougher to heal and never worth it!
Explore your boundaries, play with them until you notice a comfortable place of discomfort, but never push yourself beyond your boundary. In fact, by staying gentle and soft, you will notice that you will be able to go deeper in the posture and hold it more effortlessly.
Moreover, pushing your limits isn’t the purpose of yoga, but much more a mental condition that we are actually trying to break through with yoga…. ;)
We will push your limits in other, more useful ways, that add overall goodness to your life.
9. Practice yoga and meditation regularly in simple and effortless ways.
There are countless ways to live in the moment, because it really is all there is.
As soon as you bring yourself there, magic happens. This is not “a practice” to finally live life after you’ve mastered techniques, but training yourself to stand fierce with reality in all it’s facets!
Notice your feet standing firmly on the ground while waiting in line at the supermarket, breathe. Notice judgements and smile at your mind for it’s auto-pilot and chatty behaviour.
Take 5 deep breaths and exhale fully, while resting your hands over your navel before you go to sleep.
Stop for 1 minute, whenever you notice your mind going on overdrive.
Don’t compare your mind with a monkey only because it’s a metaphor used in India and now a popular term in the west. Trends are fleeting, development is measurable. Use that metaphor if it suites you personally and if not, there are better metaphors to describe the fluctuations of your mind in a mature way. Your mind is a brilliant genius otherwise you wouldn’t have it, treat it that way.
Smell the flowers when you pass them.
Move into some Sun Salutations in the morning to train your body & mind and to start the day grounded & focussed.
10. Keep giving yourself time, gifts and self-care.
Your body is your temple, your heart is your guide and your mind is a treasure, be nice to them, take care of them, they are yours and unique to only you. And if you don’t, who will?
Follow your bliss and if you are not sure how to find it or how to tune into it, start asking yourself:”how can I bring joy into my day?”. Breath, smile…… and listen. That’s you.
Smelling the flowers in Rishikesh, India, 2010.