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.

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.

There are two ways you can start practicing as a beginner

You could throw yourself in at the deep end by coming along to one of my self-practice classes. This is not nearly as scary as you think!

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, 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.

before joining any of my classes please have a look at the following practice guidelines.

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 big change to most  schedules 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. Traditionally this is done on full and new moons respectively. Please note that my classes are closed on these days. to view upcoming  moon days, please click here.

FAQ’s

Here are some frequently asked questions

If I’m a beginner do I need to know any of the sequences?

The short answer is no! Mysore Style self practice is perfect for beginners because it starts with extremely short and simple sequences that are easy to learn. It’s easy to feel self conscious when you first take up Astanga Yoga. It heps to remember two vital things:

1, All self practice classes are open level. That means you will be practicing alongside people of all ages, shapes, sizes and levels of so -called ‘ability’. You will not stand out or look silly. You are not trying to catch up with anyone else because everyone is practicing at their own pace.

2, Everyone in the room has been a beginner, including the teacher.

I am very stiff . Do I need to be flexible to do Yoga? 

This is probably the question I am asked more than any other. You do not need to be flexible to enjoy Yoga. Regular practice will increase your core strength, stamina and overall sense of well – being. It will also make you more flexible but this is an added bonus. It is definitely not a requirement!

Am I too old (or too young) to take up Yoga?  

You are never too old to take up some form of the practice. It can be tailored to suit all ages and levels of fitness.

Traditionally children are not taught the full practice before the age of 11. Practicing with your children can be fun so there is no need to stop them if they join in naturally. Keep the experience playful and resist the urge to’ teach’ them when they are very young.

 

I have been to Astanga Classes but not self practice. What should I do? 

If you are joining me after doing led classes, remember that the focus of your practice has shifted. Learning the order of postures is a crucial part of traditional Astanga. In your initial sessions, we will simplify things while you commit the sequences to memory. The first task is to learn the sun salutes and standing poses off by heart over a few sessions. It’s easy to feel you are being held back but trust me – this is the way to set yourself free and become self-sufficient on the mat. On that note, cheat sheets are best avoided. Not only do they keep you reliant on instructions, they can make you do too much, too soon. Self practice can be quite intense and tiring at first. You need to build up slowly.

 

Do you offer any concession rates? 

At Astanga Yoga London we have a wide range of concession rates to make practice accessibe for all. contact me to ask about which rate will work best for you. We also run regular community classes. Click here for more details.

I am Pregnant. Can I practice Astanga Yoga?

I strongly advise women not to practice during the first trimester of pregnancy. After this time a modified practice is recommended for established practitioners. This can be done all the way up to your due date. If you are a new mum please conatct me before coming to class. Practice is not reccommended for at least three months after childbirth. In certain circumstances I may ask you to rest for longer.

Can I practice during my period? 

Women are advised to rest from practice for the first two or three days of their period. Only you can tell if this feels right for you. Women who choose to continue  at this time may decide to omit certain postures and certain aspects of the practice. Contact me if you wish to talk about what works best for you.

What on earth is a Moon Day and why are you closed??

The tradition of observing full and new moons as rest days looks a bit whacky here but it is widely observed in some parts of India. If you practice 5 or 6 days per week, resting on a “moon day” presents an opportunity to take things easy roughly once every two weeks. Some people notice that they feel different during certain lunar phases. the full moon is often associated with stiffness and the new moon with tiredness. Only you will know if this applies to your own body. There is no one size fits all in Yoga. The best advice I have ever heard regarding moon days came from my own teacher. Make moon days work for you by choosing two extra rest days each month. If your shcedule means those days can’t correspond to the actual full or dark moons, take time off as close to each date as possible.