How is Astanga different from other types of yoga?
Astanga is an authentic tradition that has passed down directly from teacher to student. One of the visible characteristics is the use of vinyasa, synchronizing movement with breath, and following a specific sequence of breath-synchronized movements. Other unique qualities of Astanga are the sequencing of the asanas into a set of progressively more challenging postures, and the traditional method of learning and practicing, Mysore style.
Am I too old to practice yoga?
No one is too old to practice yoga. There have been people who practice yoga and start at all ages and process of varying degrees of proficiency. The key to practicing yoga is not age, but rather an open mind and heart.
Do I need to do anything special before I come to practice yoga?
Ashtanga yoga should be practiced on an empty stomach. Try not to eat two hours prior to class. Also, please try to refrain from drinking during class. Come to class hydrated by having water no less than 15 min before class. Drinking during class counteracts the process of building heat in the body and therefore decreases the detoxifying effects of yoga.
Do I need to register ahead of time?
No you don't. But if you're new to practice come 20 minutes before the class to get appropriate instructions from your teacher.
How often should I practice?
Traditionally, ashtanga yoga is practiced 6 days a week, leaving one day for rest. We also take off on the days of the new and full moon. Women should take off 2-3 days during menstruation. Mysore style ashtanga yoga has a cumulative effect on the body and should be practiced a minimum of 3 days per week. As your schedule permits, more days should gradually be added. It is when we are practicing in the traditional manner that we receive the greatest benefit.
Is yoga a form of physical exercise and can I cross train with it?
Yes yoga is a comprehensive form of physical exercise, yet while fitness is an important aspect of yoga, it is not the only benefit you gain from regular practice. One hour of yoga includes both cardiovascular, strength training, weight bearing, endurance, aerobic, and core-based exercises. You may choose to cross train with yoga, however, there are certain activities which are not complimentary with the yoga practice.
I’m not flexible, can I still do yoga?
At Ashtanga Yoga Center Odessa, we welcome all type of bodies. Yoga is a physical exercise that will help increase your flexibility over time. You do not need to be flexible when you start yoga, however, over time you will see your range of flexibility increase. Over time, the regular and consistent practice of yoga will instill a balance between both strength and flexibility.
In Astanga yoga each posture builds from the previous one, and is preparation for the next. Following the sequence moves us safely and prevents one from focusing only on strengths while avoiding weaknesses. That develops a physically balanced practice, and by taking us beyond our mind’s preferences it also cultivates virtues of patience and acceptance. However, steadfastness and following the tradition doesn’t mean being hardheaded or forgetting the importance of sensibility. The sequence is universal but its approach varies according to individual needs.
What about pre-existing pain and old injuries?
While you might feel sore or tired after doing your yoga practice or sometimes even during your yoga practice, it is not necessary to push your body to point of creating an injury. Throughout our lives we primarily tell our body what to do. With time, the yoga practice becomes an opportunity to listen to and respect what your body wants to tell you and do with you. In the advent of an injury, whether related to yoga or past outside experience, there are many special adjustments, modifications and considerations that one of our qualified teachers can advise you of. One of the main benefits of the yoga practice that you will experience over time is healing. By creating and inviting more balance into your overall state of being, a regular yoga practitioner creates the space to allow healing into their body on multiple levels.
What if I feel sore or fatigued?
This is normal when starting any physical practice. It is recommended that you commit to practicing despite these conditions. It is better to do what you can than disrupt your practice routine. Gradually your body will become acclimated to the practice. Through experience we learn discernment and how to practice at the edge of our abilities, reaping the greatest benefit without overwhelming our body and mind.
What should I wear?
Clothing that is suitable for yoga is something comfortable that you would wear for any form of physical exercise. Please bear in mind that you will sweat and move in a dynamic way and that overly baggy clothing is not advisable.
Why do I need a teacher?
There is no doubt that the regular and persistent practice with faith in the result, you can achieve significant results and without a teacher. Just with a teacher you do it as safely as possible and in a much shorter period of time.
Why should I commit to one discipline?
When you start your way to yoga, it is appropriate to try many different styles. Then, gradually gaining some experience, you should choose one school, one style, and strictly adhere to them. Because following one Tradition allows you the most efficient and safe progress on the Path, and get the benefits of yoga practice.
Eating healthy and nutritious food is an essential part of yoga, and the practice will make you more sensitive and capable of sensing the relationship between the food we eat and our overall sense of well-being. Often regular practice makes people effortlessly turn towards lighter and healthier choices and usually that means reducing or cutting processed foods, junk foods and meat, but becoming vegetarian or following any diet or lifestyle discipline is not essential in order to practice yoga. The same diet does not work for everyone and if you make radical, sudden changes, it may cause stress on the body. Changes should always be organic, non-dogmatic and non-fanatic.
People come to yoga for many reasons. Whether you are interested in physical fitness, healing chronic injuries, or experiencing inner peace, yoga has something to offer you. It is a fully integrated mind-body technique, but it is not bound to any religion, nor does it ask us to believe in anything. It does foster a sense of connectedness with something greater than oneself in a way that is compatible with different beliefs, traditions and philosophies. It is a well-tested practical tool for those who want to genuinely know themselves better. It can lower your level of stress, while increasing your sense of health and happiness. If you are interested in working with the quality of your mind, a regular yoga practice is the perfect place to practice mental clarity. By synchronizing the breathe, body and mind, a dedicated practitioner begins to experience deep and lasting transformation.