What should i expect at the end of the initial three month enrolement?
The first three months do not comprise a ‘beginners course’.
In our experience three months is not enough either for introducing a beginner-level student to all basic categories of asanas that comprise a well-rounded practice (standing, seated, supine, inverted, backward and forward extensions, twisting and abdominal actions, modifying positions using props where required, restorative and rejuvenative positions), nor is it enough time for students to gain enough knowledge to start practicing independently without supervision.
However, three months does give enough time for our method of teaching to start working on most new students who are regular with attendance. While yoga should start working on you from the first lesson, we do expect that by the end of three months, you should be able to recognise:
at the level of the body: increased awareness and sensitivity, increased strength, balance and range of movement, which translates to a sense of opening and expansiveness, lightness, and a better posture
at the level of the mind: increased ability to be present in the moment if you tend to be easily overwhelmed at situations, increased confidence as the body gains strength, balance and flexibility
an overall sense of wellbeing, and glimpses of quietness and a deep sense of relaxation.
those who come in with injuries/ pains should start to get better understanding of their condition, get some relief from pain, and learn some basic strategies to bring them relief in case of aggravating situations. However, it can take much longer to fine-tune the practice to bring long-term relief especially in the case of chronic conditions. Equally importantly, we try to give them the confidence to not feel limited by their condition, and to try the entire range of movements and actions that are available to them.
While most people who have attended the first three months of classes regularly agree on the above experiences, it is important to recognise that these are initial experiences during or immediately after the classes. They can be transient in nature, and it might not be possible to reproduce them at will. That is possible only when the long-term practice is established.
Yoga is a vast subject, and three months is a mere drop in the ocean. At the end of three months, we hope that you will find the impetus to start your journey with enthusiasm in earnest.
What should i wear to class?
Be prepared for a full range of movements – including going upside down – in every class. T-shirts and shorts, with the T-shirt tucked into the waistband of the shorts, is the widely accepted dress code in our classes across the world. Clothes that are too tight do not allow for the full range of movement. Clothes that are too loose will get in your way and will not hold when going upside down/ lifting the legs up etc. Slippery, synthetic material does not provide adequate grip in many positions. Also, please be sensitive that these are group classes.
Do I need to carry my mat/ anything else to the class?
We have everything that you will need to use in the class. However, if you prefer to be on your own mat, please carry it with you.
Should I come to class on empty stomach?
The stomach should be relatively empty – 3 hours since a full meal or 1.5-2 hours after light snacks. However, if you are prone to low blood pressure/ sugar, drink that cup of tea/coffee/ juice with a couple of biscuits about an hour before class. We usually have an emergency supply of snacks in our pantry.
Is it ok to drink water during the class? Do i need to carry water bottle to the class?
If you are feeling exhausted/ dehydrated/ faint/ thirsty, it is ok to sip water. However, because of the unusual positioning of internal organs in asanas (like inversions and twists) yoga should be done on an empty stomach and empty bladder as far as possible. So, do not get into the habit of drinking too much water during class, or during your practice.
We usually have drinking water in the class.
Can i eat immediately after the class?
Give a short break after class before you eat a big meal. However, it is ok to drink water or eat something small soon afterwards.
Can i take a shower after the class?
Immediately after a class, the vital energy of the body has receded deeper inside. Taking a shower/ bath in this condition will shock the consciousness into coming back to the surface of the skin. Savour the effects of the class and delay that shower for a while.
I have personal reasons for not joining in the invocation at the start of the class. Is that ok?
There are many reasons for saying the invocation to sage Patanjali in the beginning of the class. It is not a religious prayer or a mere formality. It is an expression of gratitude to our first teacher – the codifier of the subject. As a student, it is an invocation for our previous memories of yoga to surface, to help us along the path of yoga. It is an opportunity to clearly demarcate the outer world that we are coming from, and the place of learning that we are entering. Beyond the meaning of the words, the resonance of the sounds is meant to put us in a state compatible to begin the study of yoga.
However, if you have strong reasons not to join in the invocation, we will not force you. Sit quietly while the invocation is being said – use the time to settle down.
Can i come in late to/ leave early from the class?
The initial invocation to sage Patanjali, and the final savasana are integral part of the class. In fact, it is best arrive five minutes before the class starting time in order to settle in, and to not immediately rush headlong into another activity immediately after the class. However, in case of emergency you may come in late or leave early. As long as it does not happen too frequently, we believe the class should be compassionate enough to make room for your personal exigencies.
Do i have to attend all classes?
Yes. The two classes in the week is the bare minimum at a beginner level.
What if i am uncomfortable with being physically adjusted in class?
It is true that hand-on physical adjustment has always been a part of our tradition. Much before Mr Iyengar devised and standardised the various props like blocks, belts etc., he used his own body to prop students up into positions when words failed and/ or the student’s ability failed. While it is obvious that there is no alternative to a physical touch when someone gets stuck in a position that can injure them, it is important to realise also that most yoga injuries happen not through sudden accidents, but through chronic incorrect actions, and it is the teachers responsibility to make corrections even if there is no immediate danger of injury. Many students are drawn to this tradition only because of this assurance that the teacher takes personal responsibility, and takes the time and effort to make corrections. Our personal experience with our teachers and other students has been that a teacher’s touch is an invaluable aid in transmitting an experience – usually it will work when verbal instructions and visual demonstrations fail.
For new students, the focus is not on perfect postures, but on encouraging the students to move freely. Adjustments are avoided unless absolutely necessary.
At all times, discretion is used in making physical adjustments. However, a teacher, irrespective of their experience and expertise, has no fool-proof way of knowing whether a students is ready/ willing to be physically adjusted. And a student has the choice of informing the teacher in case they do not want to be thus adjusted. In case they are not comfortable doing this in the presence of others, the student also has the choice of informing the teachers privately via email. No other explanation is asked for. We also have an Internal Committee that advises and intervenes on all matters relating to gender and touch. Our Internal Committee functions as per the POSH law, and the student may directly contact any or all of the IC members. These choices/ information is communicated to all students.
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?
As a general rule, you are not entitled to make-up classes for the classes you have missed. However, please discuss this with the teachers. If there is space in a compatible batch, you will usually be given a one-off permission to attend an alternative class.
May i attend/ participate in all the workshops and events when i join the practice room? Do i have to attend/ participate in the workshops/ events when i join the practice room?
As a beginner student (or even later) you only have to attend the regular classes. Participation in all workshops/ events is voluntary.
Our workshops usually have an eligibility criteria of a minimum years of regular attendance. These workshops are meant for a deeper exploration of specific concepts, and do not make sense unless the basic asanas/ actions have been understood.
The events are free and open to all. Events are organised to mark celebratory days during the year – Guru Purnima, Patanjali Jayanti, the year-end Annual day etc. These are joyous occasions for students from all batches to come together and meet each other informally (and to wear non-yoga clothes!) However, the events are not merely social occasions. All events are organised around the the subject of yoga, and include talks, discussions, screenings that feed into our learning process.
Look out for workshop and event related announcements in class, on phone messages, and in posters that will be put out before the event/ workshop.
What happens in the self practice sessions? May i come for the self-practice sessions?
Self practice sessions are dedicated times set aside for students to come in and practice by themselves what has been taught in the classes. Self Practice sessions are open to all students
Establishing a self practice is essential for anyone who wants to make sustained progress on the path of yoga – the sooner this can be done, better it is. Of course, one can also do a self practice at home. However space constrains and other distractions can often be an hindrance to practice at home, and a much stronger level of practice can be attained in a space/ time dedicated to yoga. The teachers also use these time to do their own practice, and are available to answer questions.
Self practice sessions are open to all enrolled students. A beginner student may start coming for the self practice sessions as soon as they feel confident of doing at least a few asanas independently without instructions.
There are many ways to practice, the easiest self-practice strategy for a beginner student is to practice/ repeat by themselves what was taught in the previous couple of classes, or to practice/ repeat those asanas/ actions that they have difficulty doing.
Look here for a few more hints about self practice
What happens if i need to take a long-ish break from the classes?
Please inform us in advance if you intend to take a long break. If you have not informed us about a long absence, and we do not see you in classes for 2-3 weeks, and you are not paid up for the month, we assume that you have decided to drop off from the classes. we will respect your decision to do so, and will stop sending you class/ event related messages. This does not mean that you cannot get back to classes, but please get in touch with the main teacher to discuss re-admittance procedure.
If the reason for your absence has been illness, the teacher might suggest that you take things easy for a few sessions – or even that you move to a gentler batch for a short period.
Even if you have been absent due to other reasons, resumption of regular classes might need to be done in a phased manner. While many long-time practitioners can continue to practice by themselves even if they are not attending regular classes, this is often not possible for a beginner student. In the absence of regular practice, the body faculties will regress even if the mind seems to remember the asana/ action. We have often seen people jumping into a regular class enthusiastically after a long break, only to get cramps, aches and pains. It is the student’s responsibility to be careful when coming back to class after a long break – this is especially true if your yoga classes is the only form of physical exercise that you do. Always speak with the teachers before the class so they can instruct you on adaptations separately if required.
In a nutshell….
We recommend all beginner students read this note