Building your own practice
"Yoga is not necessary to adapt to the weakness and imperfection of the practitioner, but on the contrary, the practitioner must develop itself to match the ideals of tradition"
Shri K. Pattabhi Jois
Recommendations on organization of your Ashtanga Yoga practice:

  • Practice should be daily with one day-off a week. In Mysore, Saturday used to be a traditional day-off; now for those who practice Ashtanga a day-off is Sunday.
  • It is not recommended to practice on new moon and full moon days.
  • Morning is the most efficient time of the day for practicing. If it is difficult for you though to organize your practice in the morning, Shala offers evening classes as well.
  • If the recommendation on daily practicing is too difficult to follow or you are only starting to master Ashtanga Yoga it is recommended to attend classes at least 3 days a week and then to gradually increase the number of classes.
It is best to start learning yoga under the guidance of a qualified teacher and experienced teacher. The experienced teacher will ensure a correct understanding of the practice and help your progress.
Normally, yoga classes do not cost much. You only need to have light clothing, so not to hinder your movements and a special mat. Shala has mats for everyone's use, but for hygienic purposes it is recommended to have your own mat.
In order to make practicing of certain asanas easier and more comfortable you can use a special mat towel, which is good for absorbing moisture.
Bring your own small towel to the class (better if it is a cotton one).
It is important that your body and clothes are clean and have a neutral smell. Take care of this not only for your own sake but also for those who are around.
It is recommended to take a shower before practice. Whilst after the practice it is better not to have a shower for 1 or 2 hours.
Towels and clothes should be washed after each practice.
Take care of your mats, wash them as often as possible so that they are clean and do not smell.
It is better not to eat anything 2 or 3 hours before class and to avoid drinking lots of fluids. Do not drink anything during practice. A full stomach does not feel good during practice, especially in intensive forward bending, twisting and holding bandhas. One could have a spasm or feel nauseous.
In Yoga Shala, especially during classes, silence is important. By keeping quiet you show respect to yourself, your teacher, and other practitioners, and this creates a quiet atmosphere enabling all to concentrate.
Switch your mobile phones off during classes.
If you have an urgent question to ask during a class do not hesitate to ask your teacher. This is the way the things are done at Mysore classes; whilst at led classes questions are asked after the class.
After practice, which ends with relaxation, do not rush into eating right away, take your time and fully recover first. After that you can drink a little but do not eat straight away as for a normal digestion you need to wait for 30 minutes at least.
Morning is the ideal time for practicing when the air is full of prana, the mind is free of thoughts, the body is relaxed, and the stomach is empty. Morning practice inspires and gives life force energy for the rest of the day. However, muscles are stiffer after sleep and it takes time to get used to the feeling. It is possible to practice in the evenings as well (tradition has it though that one should not practice after sunset).
Ashtanga Yoga does not call for giving up on the outer world, withdrawing into oneself or getting obsessed with one's physical shape. Avoid fanaticism. Yoga should support you in everyday routine and improve the quality of your life in any circumstances.
Listen to the teacher's comments and advice with great care. Your teacher is your best help.
Traditionally, one should practice six days a week with one day-off, on Saturdays. It is not recommended to practice on full moon and new moon days; and for women practice is restricted during first three days of menstruation, first three months of pregnancy, and for the first three months after childbirth.
Practice at your own pace and at your own level; control your breathing and the state of your body and mind. Small wins will motivate you to move on. Withstand the temptation of comparing yourself to others – everyone has their own way to the goal.
Children under 12 are not recommended to do the whole series of asanas as their skeletal systems are not completely formed. However, standing postures with the focus on breathing are healthy and absolutely safe. There are no other age limits.
In case of a pregnancy or a postoperative condition, after a serious illness or in case of any health issues, please consult your doctor.
Practicing with flue and high fever or under the influence of alcohol, drugs or high-potent medications is strictly prohibited.
When recovered take a day off and start practicing carefully (start with the 1st series of Ashtanga Yoga).
Ahtanga Yoga contributes to natural development of flexibility, and thus suggests a very low chance of traumas. The risk is reduced due to ujjayi breath, bandhas and inner heat of a body. It is the needless fervor which often causes traumas. Treat your body responsively – it will tell you when it gets to the end of its tether.
Try to memorize the names and sequence of asanas, the phases of breathing and the order of vinyasas. This will make your practice more meaningful, improve your concentration and make interaction with your teacher easier.
Believe in yoga. In a short while, provided regular practice, you will notice positive changes in your lifestyle, diet and overall well-being.
Switching to vegetarian eating is a mandatory step in yoga practice. A drastic change of a diet though may cause some undesired effects. That is why do not force it. Your body will gradually refrain from heavy and low-quality products and will start rejecting toxins contained in cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. It will demand for light and healthy food.
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We wish you a good practice!
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