We continuously update this section with questions that we receive from students
If you have a questions that is not answered here, let us know.
Will yoga help me lose weight?
Will yoga increase my stamina/ strength? Will it make me a better sportsperson/ runner/ swimmer/ footballer?
Will yoga help me tone my muscles/ increase flexibility?
Will yoga help me de-stress?
Is yoga therapeutic? will yoga bring relief from my physical conditions – back pain, arthritis, thyroid problems, knee pain etc.
Who can/ should do yoga?
Is yoga only for women?
Is yoga only for old people?
Can children practice yoga? Can my child come to the yoga class with me?
Do I have to be flexible to do yoga?
Do I need to have a calm personality to do yoga?
Do I have to be a vegetarian for doing yoga/ Do I have to be a teetotaller to do yoga?
Yoga originated in India. Is it part of the Hindu religion?
I have a herniated lumbar disk/ a torn knee meniscus/ I have just undergone a heart surgery/ I am pregnant/ I am over 50 years old. Can I join yoga at the practice room?
- Should I do a class if i am sick?
- Should I do class after a long tiring journey?
- Should I do a class if i am tired/ sleepy?
- Should I do class if (for women) menstruating?
- Should I do a class if (for women) if i am pregnant?
- When can I re-start my practice after childbirth?
- Do i have to practice by myself over and above the classes that I do?
- Do i have to practice everyday? When i practice, should it be for a certain minimum time?
- What should I practice by myself? What sequence should I follow?
- What props should I have at home?
- Do I have to read/ memorise anything?
- As a beginner, what books should I read? What movies/ features should i watch?
What if i experience pain/ discomfort in certain asanas? Can I omit certain asanas because I do not feel comfortable doing them?
Learning anything new requires stepping out of ones comfort zone, and opening oneself up to discomforts, uncertainties, and failures. This is true of any subject worth learning.
However, in the context of an asana practice, it is important to differentiate between DISCOMFORT and PAIN.
In the beginning, most discomfort is due to unfamiliarity. If feeling agitated/ nervous when attempting an asana/ action for the first time, you can come out of it. Take a few breaths, and then, try again with calmness.
A beginner might experience discomfort in using a faculty that has been unused for a long time. This is usually understood as physical discomfort– like having to use a muscle group that you have not used consciously before. But exploration of mental faculties can also feel uncomfortable if you are unfamiliar with them – like focusing deeply, and being in the present. There are those who, in the beginning, find it very difficult to stay in savasana, even though physically there is nothing difficult about this position.
The pain that one needs to watch out for is one that emanates due to wrong actions and positioning of the muscles, bones and joints, and also of internal organs. Be watchful of pain in sensitive joints like the lower back, the shoulder joint, the knees and the wrists. Also be watchful of pain that, instead of subsiding after you release the asana and bringing a sensation of release and opening, seems to persist and in fact, intensifies. Be aware that our current sedentary lifestyles have made many actions/ positions that might have come easily a few generations ago, out of reach for us. Do not take any movement for granted because it looks easy or because everyone else seems to be doing it.
If you have a previous injury or any other physical/ psychological condition, inform the teacher before class. There might be certain asanas or actions that are contraindicated in your condition, and you will be shown the modified versions of such asanas, or be given an alternate action. In a group class, the teacher might not be able to remind you every time. It is the student’s responsibility to treat their bodies with respect and sensitivity, and to remember the contraindications and adaptations that have been shown.
Which physical activities/ sports are compatible with an asana practice?
A better question to ask might be, ‘which activities are compatible with our lives?’ the human body is capable of an amazing array of activities/ movements/ positioning. None of them is bad – as long as we have trained ourselves to do them safely. Our lifestyles in the last few decades have undergone dramatic changes, and this is reflected in the abilities (or the inabilities) of our bodies. Many activities that happened as part of our daily lives (sitting on the floor, squatting, pushing and pulling, walking, running, climbing ) have now become unfamiliar to us. And these have been replaced by activities that weaken our skeleto-muscular system (sitting for long hours, extended usage of laptops and mobile phones etc.). In this scenario, any kind of intelligent physical activity is good. Much as an asana practice engenders a healthy body, a healthy body also supports a strong asana practice. Continue doing whatever other activity you are doing, as long as you are enjoying it, and as long as it is not harming you. Be aware that almost no activity/ sport is complete in itself, and it is best to expose yourself to a wide variety of activities. Asanas have immense potential for versatility. It is possible that as your asana practice progresses, and you learn to harness this potential of the asanas, you will lose interest in some activities, and they will naturally drop off.
I want to become a teacher/ i have already done an xx hour TTC/ do you have a teacher training program?
Here is my personal experience of starting to teach yoga: After i had spent 8 years learning yoga purely as a student, I spent another 4-5 years teaching under the close supervision my primary teacher. I was then given permission to teach independently, as a ‘beginner-level’ teacher.
Becoming a teacher in the Iyengar tradition is a long haul. In India, there is no official teacher training program in this tradition (neither is there a Teachers Training Certificate!). Teachers are trained through a long process of personal-mentorship under their teachers.
If the subject interests you, we advise you to set aside any immediate ambitions of becoming a teacher, and to focus on learning. The path to teaching will present itself as you progress along the path of learning
Do I have access to the teachers outside of the class times?
Even though we conduct group classes, we maintain personal engagement with our students. Students are free to contact us through through email/ phone messages outside class times. However, please follow the following norms if you need to have a discussion with any of the teachers:
Keep your discussions limited to your asana and pranayama practice.
If you want to have a quick chat, immediately after the class is the best time to do it. We usually stay around for a while after the class just for this reason. Use this time also to make fees payments and buy props.
Immediately before the class is NOT such a good time for a chat – it is the time when we are trying to focus our energy and effort to prepare for the class, and would prefer not to be disturbed unless it is critical. However, if feeling unwell, or resuming classes after a long gap, or (for women) menstruating, inform the teacher before the class so they can keep it in mind while instructing.
If a longer discussion is warranted, or if we need to spend some time working with you individually, it is best to make an appointment for personal consultaion.
If you are going through emotional/ psychological disturbance, you can certainly discuss any symptoms that are causing you discomfort (e.g. sleeplessness, anxiety etc.), but avoid discussing the details of your personal situation with the teachers. We are not trained in counseling on emotional/ psychological conditions. There are asana/ pranayama protocols that have proven to be efficacious in dealing with such issues, and we will certainly take the time to explain them to you – we do not need to know the details of your personal situation for these asana/ pranayama protocols to work for you.
Are our yoga teachers also our mentors and our Gurus?
We can only speak for ourselves, the answer to both is NO.
Although the word ‘guru’ is loosely used these days to denote expertise in any particular field of knowledge (marketing guru, fitness guru etc.), a ‘guru’ is a very lofty concept: that rare entity who can guide an individual from ‘darkness’ (gu) to ‘light’ (ru). It is certainly not an epithet that applies to us.
Specifically in our tradition, there is only one Guru – we refer to him as Guruji. Everyone else is a student, maybe at slightly different hierarchies. Considering the vastness of this subject, and the time it takes to master it, this difference in hierarchies between the so-called ‘teachers’ and ‘students’ is negligible. Yes, we started practicing asana and pranayama a few years before you did, and in a class we have to maintain the decorum of a teacher-student relationship in order to effectively communicate, but we are not equipped to take on a larger role in your life.
We sometimes take on the role of mentoring some students who are interested in pursuing a path of teaching yoga in the Iyengar tradition. This is a specific engagement agreed upon by both parties.
With everyone else, we enjoy having a lively discussion about the many fascinating aspects of yoga, the intricacies of its philosophy, but we cannot answer life’s Big Questions for you, we cannot advise you on your personal problems, and we do not expect you to ascribe any special wisdom to us.
• Can i just drop into a class?
• Can i come for a trial class?
• Can i join yoga at the practice room at any time?
• What do i have to do before registering for admission at the practice room?
• What are the class times and fees?
• Which batch is better for me – the morning batch or the evening batch?
• What are the terms of fee payment?
• Are there different levels of classes at the practice room? What do the levels ‘INITIATION’ and ‘EXPLORATION’ mean?
• I have done yoga earlier. Why do I need to join the Initiation Level batch or go through the Orientation sessions? Why cant I be admitted directly into a more advanced batch?
• How long is the yoga course?
• Can I learn yoga and then do it by myself?
• I am learning yoga at another place as well. But I want to experience Iyengar yoga.
A special FAQ section for new students
- What should i wear to class?
- Do I need to carry my mat/ anything else to the class?
- Should I come to class on empty stomach?
- Is it ok to drink water during the class? Do i need to carry water bottle to the class?
- Can i eat immediately after the class?
- Can i take a shower after the class?
- I have personal reasons for not saying the prayer at the start of the class. Is that ok?
- Can i come in late to/ leave early from the class?
- Do i have to attend all classes?
- What if i experience pain/ discomfort in certain asanas? Can I omit certain asanas because I do not feel comfortable doing them?
- Do I have to stick to my batch? If I miss a class, can I make-up for it by attending a class in another batch?
Ok, I have signed-up. What do I do next?
Welcome to the Online Program.
- Please read through the first detailed email carefully, and spend some time working with the Preparatory video that we share with you in this email.
- Look at the following video tutorial on how to navigate in your account once you log in. You get access to your weekly recorded classes, the livestream (zoom) invites, Ques and Ans. as soon as you sign up. Familiarise yourself with the Dashboard of ‘Your Account’, where you can manage your Account.
Can i do a trial session before signing up?
Yes. Since we ask for the committment of a monthly subscription, we think it’s only fair that you get a chance to sample what you are signing up for. Upon sign-up, you will get access to:
Preparatory material ( particularly useful for beginners and for those coming form other traditions of yoga), and,
one week of access to our regular online schedule of recorded + live-streamed classes.
THE TRIAL WEEK IS OPEN ONLY FOR FIRST TIME SUBSCRIPTION, AND TO THOSE WHO HAVE NOT TAKEN IN-STUDIO CLASSES AT THE PRACTICE ROOM.
How do I make a payment?
You can pay through the payment gateway using either a credit card or a debit card.
We work on a subscription system (your monthly subscription amount will be auto-debited every month), which allows only a limited number of payment options.
Options like Netbanking, Paypal, UPI transfer are not available.
I am being asked for my card details when I try to sign up for a trial period!
Dont worry, your card will not be charged for a week. You may cancel at any time during this period by going to the following link:
How are the live-streamed classes transmitted?
the live-streamed classes are currently transmitted through zoom.us
How are the pre-recorded sessions transmitted?
The pre-recorded sessions (as well as a recording of the live-streamed sessions) are hosted on Vimeo.com
I had signed up for the subscription service, but the subscription expired at the end of one month from the date of sign-up. Why didnt my subscription auto-renew, and what do I do next?
Our Payment system is set-up to attempt auto-renewal exactly a month from the date that your subscription started. However, some cards do not allow auto-debit. if the auto-renewal attempt fails, your subscription will be automatically terminated, and you will get an automated email with this information. Please be on the lookout for this email. You will then, have to buy a new subscription. If you do not want to buy a new subscriptions every month, please attach a card that allows auto-debits. Usually all credit cards allow this.
How do I opt out of the auto-renew option?
When buying the subscription, attach a card that does not allow auto-debits. You will have to check with your card-issuing agency (i.e., your Bank) about the protocol of your card.
Can I buy multiple subscriptions?
yes, you can.
How do I change my password?
If you are logged in, PLEASE LOG OUT FIRST. Then click on the ‘Forgot Password’ link on the sign-in screen.
How do I decide which level to sign-up for – Beginner or Intermediate?
We have given some guidelines for deciding this. In this format, we cannot give you a more individualised advice, and the responsibility of selecting an appropriate Program level rests with you.
If in doubt, we recommend that you sign up for the Beginner Level Program for a month or two. You can change your Program Level by simply canceling your subscription (you will be billed till the end of your current billing period), and filling in a new subscription.
The considerations for signing up for the Beginner Level are given here:
The considerations for signing up for the Intermediate Program are given here:
What happens after I sign-up for the Online Program? How soon can I get access to my recorded sessions/ when will be able to attend a livestream session?
You will have access to the recorded sessions of the past week as soon as you sign-up for the Online Program (accessible through your account login).
Your first livestream will be as per the program schedule for your Level (Mondays and Wednesdays for the Beginner level; Mondays and Thursdays for the Intermediate Level)
You will also receive an email from us when you sign-up. This email will have links for some preparatory material for you. Before you jump into the regular classes on your Weekly Playlist, or one of our livestream sessions, we strongly advise that you take a couple of days to go through the preparatory videos. Especially so if you are an absolute beginner, or if you are new to the Iyengar tradition. Teaching yoga online is a new development around the world. We have put together the Preparatory material to ease over some of the preliminary challenges that come up. the material has been refined over the last few months with feedback from our online community. Spending time to go through the preparatory material will get you ready to join the regular weekly classes, will answer many of the questions that might come up in the initial days and weeks, and will give you tips on how to make the most of this Online Program.
I missed the morning livestream! when will you upload a recording of this session on my Playlist?
It is our attempt always to make the recording of the morning livestream session available on your Playlist by the same evening. However, this involves some work. To provide a better audio and video quality, what we share with you is not a zoom download. We record the sessions simultaneously on a different video and audio track, we edit this video before uploading it.
Sometimes there are glitches – lost audio/ video files, power outage, internet disruption… that may delay this process. At any rate, we have so far always uploaded the session by midnight of the same day. In case there is a delay beyond this in the future, we will keep you informed,
How are the live-streamed classes transmitted?
the live-streamed classes are currently transmitted through zoom.us.
How are the pre-recorded sessions transmitted?
The pre-recorded sessions (as well as a recording of the live-streamed sessions) are hosted on Vimeo.com.
The practiceroom website is not opening/ i am not able to view the videos/ I am not able to make a payment!
Our content, and the Payment Gateway, is hosted by third-party service providers. We have ensured that these service providers are reputed and dependable. We have also optimised our website and its content across devices and browsers, and done extensive testing. But technology is not 100% glitch-free. Sometimes, there are incompatibilities between the Service Providers’s protocols. In our experience, small glitches are usually resolved when you:
- re-try after a little time
- use a different browser
- use a different device
- use a different card for payment
- clear the cache
- ensure that the internet connection is robust.
Beyond this, things are not really in our hands. If there are persistent tech problems, we will definitely re-evaluate our service providers. But we are not a technical team, and will not be able to troubleshoot individual technical problems.
Can I continue to access my online material indefinitely?
You will have access to each recorded session for about a week.
Other material (like the Q and A Playlist) are available as long as you are subscribed to the program.
We sometimes give special access (usually through your Bonus Material Playlist) for limited period of time.
I want to go back to a previous session. How do I get access to an older session?
You can purchase our recorded sessions.
What if I am in a different time zone, and the times of the live-streamed classes do not work for me?
Currently our live-streamed classes are scheduled as early-morning sessions according to the Indian Standard Time (+5:30 GMT). We will add classes for other time zones in the near future.
As an online student, can I ask questions?
You may ask us any yoga related question at the end of your live-stream sessions. you may also email us your queries, and we will take them up at the end of the livestream session. Our Q and A sessions are separately recorded, along with responses to questions that we receive offline. You also have access to the Q and A Playlist..
Will the teachers be able to correct my asana positions in the livestream class?
We play the zoom screen on a large television screen and are looking at you as the session is being conducted. We make whatever corrections are possible to be made in this format. But bear in mind, we can only see a small, 2-dimensional version of you even on a large sized screen. We do not get a three dimensionall view, we cannot see how your muscle movement, your breath, your eyes, your skin, how you move, stand and sit outside of your asana practice… This is no substitute for a live class.
To help us observe you better, please follow the ‘good practice guidelines’ shared along with your livestream invites.
Will the teachers be able to give me specific instruction for my physical injuries/ limitations?
The Iyengar tradition is widely accepted for its therapeutic efficacy. However, an Online Program differs from an in-person session. We will not be able to observe you closely, and will not be able to make nuanced adjustments/ correction in this format. An online program is largely self-directed where the student is largely responsible for their actions.
However, we do usually give generic contraindications and adaptations/ alternatives for the most common health issues and conditions – weak back, knees, shoulders, and advice for women during their menstrual cycle.
For any serious health concerns or limitations, we advise you to contact your health care provider, and take guidance from an experienced teacher in your area of residence.
I want to learn inversions/ other advanced asanas. Is this program suitable for me?
We do practice independent inversions, backward extensions, balancing positions in our Intermediate Level Program. But we do not TEACH inversions in the online format.
In our in-studio classes, students are prepared for inversions over a period of a year or two. During this time, we attempt to correct any gross imbalances in their skeleto-muscular structure, and to strengthen their limbs, shoulders, back for the more advanced positions, and for inversions. When we start introducing these positions, we continue to closely monitor them. We have often pulled our students back to a more basic or supported position if we felt that they are at risk of injuring themselves in the long run.
None of this is possible in the Online format.
We have seen several yoga injuries that have set in due to wrong execution of the more complex asanas over a long period of time, and we dont think its a risk worth taking.
So, while we do some of of these asanas in our Intermediate Level Program, in the Online format, it is the student’s responsibility to choose, and to act with discretion.