I’m not flexible enough. Can I practice yoga?
Well-executed asanas may seem challenging and require extreme flexibility, but they are only the final products of a long-term process. Flexibility is something you may GET from yoga practice as a benefit rather than a prerequisite for it.
Yogis might be flexible not because they inherently were so, but because they have regular practice! One pose has as many versions as the number of bodies out there! We focus on how we feel within poses instead of how we appear to others.
What kind of mat should I get for yoga practice? Where should I get my mat?
There are a large variety of mats available differing in material, size and thickness. My advice is to always try a mat before you buy it. Some studios offer the option to try different mats. Also you can ask a friend to borrow theirs for a 30-60 minutes practice and see how you feel.
You may want to go for non-slip mats as your hands and feet may get sweaty. Non-slip mats shouldn’t slip on the floor, either.
I recommend natural rubber mats as they are the most durable, non-slippery and eco-friendly. Cork mats are another alternative you can go for. Yoga mats shouldn’t be too thick(>5mm) as your joints will sink in and balance will be harder. The more you feel the floor, the better. Keep in mind that thicker mats tend to get heavier so the travel mats are usually very thin (around 1 mm).
As you proceed in your practice your needs may change so you may alternate between different mats. Do not use exercise mats that have a very soft and sponge-like tissue for your yoga practice as they are not suitable for asana practice.
What do I need to wear for a class?
The most important thing is your comfort! Opt for natural textiles like cotton and avoid synthetic clothing. Your clothes should be comfy enough to move between poses but they shouldn’t be too baggy as you may have trouble with inversions or within fast practices like vinyasa.
What if I don’t remember the names of the poses?
It’s okay! The teachers will generally give cues to how to enter the poses and then say the name, sometimes they say the name of the pose in your own language.
In the beginning you might need to peek at the other mats around to see which pose is which but within time you will get acquainted with the most common poses’ names. For others, the teacher or another student will likely demonstrate the pose. So it’s not a must to memorize the names.
Should I avoid eating before yoga? How long before and after yoga should I wait to eat?
It is best to keep your stomach empty as being full will make many poses uncomfortable. Also being physically active when your body is still digesting will interrupt the process and cause indigestion.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, being rather hungry makes more energy (prana) available for you. Digesting the food makes you heavier and more lethargic. So it’s best to finish your last meal at least 2-3 hours before the practice. After the class, listen to your body and just eat whenever you feel hungry!
Will my teacher touch me in a yoga class? What if I don’t want to be touched?
Most teachers don’t give physical adjustments too much. Some may do, in which case you can immediately express your preference!
For some people, tactile assistance is the best and they get benefit and awareness from that a lot. If you are not one of them, just let the teacher know and they should respect it. Know that it’s not an essential part of a yoga class.
Is it ok if I fall asleep during Savasana?
During the whole practice your nervous system calms down and you get more prana to your body. This increased energy is something that your body is not used to. Sleeping is a very common reaction to the integration of this energy load, especially at the beginning.