Guidelines For Practice

Guidelines for practice, West End Yoga Centre, Iyengar Yoga


1. The amount of time and effort put into practice brings corresponding results.
Some students are satisfied with the benefits of a 20- to 30-minute weekly practice. Two or three times a week suits others while very keen students may practice every day.
2. Asanas can be done at any time. In the morning the body is stiff, but the mind is fresh; in the evening the body is supple, but the mind is not so alert. Practice should be enjoyable and stimulating. It should be used constructively in life to tap the enormous diversity of possible effects of the asanas.
3. The asanas take time to perfect. It is often necessary to work on the intermediate stages until these come with ease, as well as on the complete pose. It is usual to repeat each posture two or three times. The amount of detail given in the book will gradually fall into place and be understood.
4. Breathing in the postures is important. Where no special instructions are given, normal breathing should be done. Between the stages in a posture, one or two breaths should be taken to quieten the mind.
5. The postures are not static. Adjustments should be made and then stabilized. Further actions to improve the posture can then be added.
6. The eyes should be kept open and the mouth closed throughout (unless otherwise instructed). 

Some Cautions

• The stomach and bowels should be empty. Allow four hours after a heavy meal, two hours after a light one. A small fruit an hour and a tea is ample sufficient before class. Do not drink in the studio
• Do not wear tight clothes that restrict breathing, digestion, or circulation. Preferably shorts that leave knees visible and uncovered 
• Do not practice in direct sunlight or in a draft, as such be mindful of light during relaxation and avoid air conditioner draft if you are sensitive.
• Do not hold the breath during the postures as this will cause strain. The eyes, ears, throat, and abdomen should be relaxed. 
• To avoid injury, do not force the body beyond its capacity.
• Tell your teacher of any injuries you have before the class start or during class. Do not stay in the pose if you feel something is wrong 
• Any pain felt in a posture should be temporary. Persistent pain is a sign of incorrect practice or of a physical problem. 
• If exhaustion is felt, the practice has been too long or the wrong postures have been attempted. It may also indicate a weak physical condition or some ailment. 

Menstruation & Pregnancy

• During menstruation it is not advisable to follow an ordinary asana session, as this may be injurious. There is heat in the body and cooling postures are done to counteract this. Use higher props and tell the teacher which day you are and mention if menstruation is painful 
• During pregnancy two lives are involved. It is not advisable to begin Yoga at this time as so many physiological changes are taking place. 
• If already attending a class, inform the teacher as soon as pregnancy has been con-firmed.
• Do not attend class in the 11th, 12th and 13th weeks of pregnancy. 
• Do not do asanas that constrict the abdomen.
• On no account become fatigued or breathless. 
• In case of complications or previous history of miscarriage, seek advice.