Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 23 Etiquette

Embrace your Yoga Etiquette with the help of some advice learned from Anamaya Yoga school!

Just a few useful tips to know to enhance your learning and practice of Yoga, for starters all teachers are glad you’re practicing! So well done, you achieved the first step J

Yoga is non-competitive, its not a workout class nor is it a replacement for relaxation and it is definitely not cross training. Unless of course you live in LA, and of course its Yoga on steroids! Yoga is a spiritual practice that makes the body stronger, more flexible, and generally much healthier. The purpose of yoga is to calm the mind and body, to open the heart, to refine our inner and outer awareness to get us in touch with our True Selves. By comparing ourselves to other participants, or the instructor, we are defeating the purpose of practicing. ITS ALL ABOUT YOU!

Be kind and loving to yourself by accepting where you are, its okay to come out of a pose before the instructor says or to breathe at a different rhythm, do what works for you. Yoga is definitely not about ‘no pain, no gain’ to the contrary the body will respond beautifully when you show it kindness, compassion acceptance and Vitamin L...Love. Rest sometimes, lose the ego, and relax into childs pose whenever your body tells you too. Do what you can, with what you have, with where you are.

Ask questions about anything that is not clear to you, either during class when appropriate or in the time allotted after class is over, teachers are always really generous with advice and their time. Before asking your question, internalise what it is, and trust your own process of inquiry, this will help you develop greater independence and confidence. If you are unable to answer your own question after reflection, then by all means still ask the instructor if it is relevant to the topic at hand, and not something your ego decided was important ;-)

No experience or flexibility is required to practice yoga, YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE!

Always remove shoes on the yoga floor, turn off cell phones and computers during sessions and sadhana, this includes when you are at home practicing too. Arrive to class 5-10 minutes early to set up your space and to start breathing with intention and becoming focused. Leave the chatter and gossip outside the yoga room, and your mat, maintain a meditative state. Invest in your own mat for hygiene and commitment, if you use a public mat spray and wipe down after use, all studios provide an eco friendly cleaner for this, always put away any props you have borrowed. No consumption of coffee, alcohol, tobacco or drugs before class (well maybe just in Kundalini for the dancing part KIDDING!) If you partake in these substances usually, its your personal choice which is respected but choosing to practice Yoga under the influence of these stimulants is disruptive to your internal self, the integrity of the class and disrespectful. As you find new vitality in your body, enjoying the detoxifying benefits that yoga provides, an increased lung capacity and a clearer mind you will find you will crave these habit forming substances less and less.

Stay for an entire class, commit to your practice. You may lie in Savasana at any time, and always be supported by the instructor. If you need to leave a class early, then let your instructor know beforehand and exit quietly. Some classes will begin and end with the chanting AUM or a mantra, if you are comfortable with this please join along, but don’t feel like you have to. Chanting is a form of meditation and sound vibrations create heat and energy from within our body.  It is important when chanting to actively stay clear in our minds, and have faith that we can become better, and trust we are able to overcome obstacles in order to move forward not just in yoga practice, but in our lives. Feel a part of the Universe, get in touch with your inner teacher, and resonate in harmony with the pure all pervading sound vibration that the Universe was born from. Finish your class in Savasana of at least 10 minutes, some students feel a sign of respect is to lay your head facing the instructor, but most studios are liberal to this suggestion. When arising, keep your eyes closed, ending with three AUMs, saying Namaste.

Yoga isn’t strict rules to follow, but there is etiquette and respect for practice and the practice of others, and your personal commitment. Why is Yoga important in your life? Why do you practice? Ask yourself these questions, its a great connection to finding you again.

Today I listened to my body and took a restorative yoga class, my body needed some looking after, having had its ass kicked by karma. Restorative poses, really help with alignment and getting back to basics, restoring, rebuilding, repairing RRRRRRRRRRR! Restorative classes are usually very relaxing and are a good complement to more active practices. The teacher will arrange for the necessary props to be available to you. The lights may be dimmed and if it is chilly, you may be covered with a blanket since you will not be warming up the body the way you would be in a regular class. After you are set up in a pose with all your props, you will hold the pose for an extended period, often up to ten to twenty minutes. Although you are supported, you will definitely still feel the stretch. Restorative postures are usually adapted from supine or seated yoga poses with the addition of blocks, bolsters, and blankets to eliminate unnecessary straining. For instance, a seated forward bend (paschimottanasana) can be done as a restorative pose with a bolster or several folded blankets on top of the legs so that your forward bend is fully supported with the entire torso resting on your props. Legs up the wall (viparita karani) is a classic restorative, with the wall used as a prop to support the legs, if you want to take this pose into your everyday life you can lie on the couch with your legs up the back, my nan always used to balance her legs on top of my grandads head whilst she poked him in the nose with a toe asking for a top up on the gin and tonic, said it was good for varicose veins, the legs up the wall theory, not the gin and tonic, although everything in a balance right J

My day of study, karma kicking, and restorative was ended blissfully hanging out with a cool new chick I’ve embraced with a mutual love for surf and hot boys. Ms Edwards and I travelled to Asia http://www.eastiseast.ca/ and took the ‘Silk Route East’ feast which was a combination of heavenly spiced soups, fruity salads, mango butternut squash, peas and cheese, pickled garlic, Indian breads and mouth gasims washed down with chai tea and a dollop of sex and rock n roll. Spices are a great way to add flavor to foods and can be really warming for us. They add tons of flavor without calories! Sprinkle a pinch of crushed cloves in your coffee or tea to add a bright chai flavor. Great combo for a spicy night of great company, definitely good for the spirit and the soul! I just hope she doesn’t tell anyone I smell of fish....my ego would hate that ;-) A special kiwi friend of mine has just this second reminded me 'Some people come into your life for a reason, others a season and a few a lifetime.' Love you Trudles, in a totally non fig way, unless organic of course :)

Thanks for sharing and caring folks, exam tomorrow so send some good karma my way!


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