New to Astanga Yoga? (beginners)

If you are completely new to yoga, Mysore style self practice is a great way to start your journey. I will help you create a practice which works for you as an individual. The most important thing to remember as a beginner is that you are never trying to catch up with anyone else. This is particularly relevant in  group sessions. It’s all too easy to compare yourself to others unfavorably.

A lot of people who have never done yoga before worry about not being flexible or “bendy”. I can’t stress enough that whilst doing lots of yoga will make you flexible, you don’t need to be at all supple to start practicing. The benefits of Astanga yoga work for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike.

All newcomers to self-practice learn a very simple, straightforward breathing technique and a short, flowing sequence known as the sun salute (surya namaskara). This is followed by some seated exercises and relaxation. It takes between 30 and 45 minutes depending on how long you have. The beginner’s sequence is actually a very complete practice and many people stick to it. From then on in, your practice will grow at a pace to suit you, with held postures and moving vinyasa added each time we meet.

If you are more familiar with yoga in the form of led classes it is still highly beneficial to try a short simple version of the practice when you first transition to ‘Mysore’ . This is because learning the order of vinyasas and postures “off by heart” is a main feature of Traditional Astanga yoga.

There are two ways you can start practicing as a beginner

You could throw yourself in at the deep end (not nearly as scary as it sounds) by coming along to one of my self-practice classes. Contact me first to arrange a time and I will make sure you are well looked after. If you’re not intimidated by the idea of beginning from scratch in amongst a group of regular students, this is the quickest option.

Alternatively you can book a private session with me. We can do this at your place, my place or at the studio. Contact me to arrange one of these.

Practice guidelines

– Wear loose comfortable clothes; the kind that you might use for any sport. Leggings or shorts that allow you to sit cross-legged are best.

– Ensure that you and your clothes are clean. Ideally you should wash or bathe before practice. Bring a small towel to classes and group sessions, especially if you are borrowing a mat.

– Please turn off all mobiles and tablets etc…(or at least put them on flight mode) so that you and your fellow students can practice uninterrupted.
On that note, in group sessions please be careful not to disrupt another’s practice with too much noise or talking.

– Avoid practicing on a full stomach.
Try not to eat for at least 2 hours before a session. It is advisable to drink plenty of water before and after but not during practice.

Please advise me of any injuries, aches and pains, illnesses or medical conditions before we begin.

It is important that you feel safe in the practice so please advise me if you wish to learn yoga without physical help (adjustments) from me or my assistants. you never need to explain why and your wishes will always be respected.

Frequency of practice and ‘taking rest’

Traditionally, Astanga yoga students practice asana 6 days a week. This is a powerfully transformative schedule and not everybody feels up to it from the outset. To see results, I recommend that you try to practice a minimum of 3 times a week. Not every practice needs to be in a class…don’t forget that you are learning self – sufficiency in a Mysore style session! If you do take up a full practice, tradition suggests that you rest on Saturday or Sunday. Choose a day that works best for you and try to stick with it.

‘Moon days’

If you practice 5 or 6 days a week, it is advisable to take two additional rest days per month, on full and new moons respectively. to view upcoming  moon days, please click here.