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What is Yoga

Yoga is an ancient tradition rooted in India that uses a special type of physical movement and breathing exercises as an entry to a healthy, strong and flexible body, a balanced lifestyle, an open heart and a clear, calm mind. On its most basic level, it is a science of deep personal transformation based on the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, a text authored in Southern Asia sometime between 200 B.C. and 500 B.C.E. The word yoga means to yoke or unify and through regular practice, a dedicated practitioner begins to experience the benefits of a unified state of consciousness, peace of mind and health and well-being.


What is Mysore?

Mysore Style: The Ashtanga Yoga method is built around the ‘Mysore Style’ class, so named because yoga was taught this way by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, in Mysore, India, and continues to be taught this way in traditional Ashtanga Yoga schools around the world. In Mysore Class, the student is taught a sequence of postures through one-on-one instruction. The correct movements, breathing, and other aspects of the practice are learned gradually, in a step-by-step process accessible to anyone. This method allows each student time to practice and memorize what they have learned before adding more. Students are able to practice independently and at their own pace while surrounded by the energy and inspiration of other students in the room. The main teacher and assistants are able to work with each student individually. Initially, students may require more attention, but as they become proficient in their practice, they are allowed more independence, receiving adjustments and assistance only when required.

Observing a Mysore Class

When starting an Ashtanga Yoga practice, it is recommended that one commence in a Mysore Class from the very beginning. The best way to answer any questions about the Mysore practice and how it works is to come and observe a class for half an hour or so. Most questions are answered by observing the class, and then anything unanswered can be discussed with the teacher. All our teachers have learned Ashtanga Yoga using this method and we have great faith in the results gained from its proper practice.

Your First Mysore Practice

In your first class you will learn the basic techniques for breathing and movement – what we often call ‘vinyāsa’ – and guided through the opening and closing sequences of the Ashtanga Yoga practice. Your first practice may only be 15 to 20 minutes long. It is important not to learn too much in the beginning as this method relies on memorization and becoming proficient in what has been taught before progressing further. This approach also allows you time to adjust to a new daily routine. In subsequent classes, new postures will be added to what was learned. Thus, over time, the length of your practice will gradually increase according to your ability.

Why Begin with Such a Short Practice?

In order to establish a stable foundation in both the body and the mind, the Ashtanga sequence should be learned gradually and increased slowly over time while paying close attention to breathing, posture, movement, and gazing. Learning gradually allows time to adjust as you develop more strength, flexibility, and familiarity with the practice. Doing too much too quickly brings the risk of injury and imbalance to the body, and in general is not sustainable as a daily practice. For that reason, students are taught little-by-little and at a rate appropriate for each person individually.

How Many Days a Week Should You Practice?

Ideally, practicing five to six days per week is recommended, even at the beginning, taking only one or two days off per week to allow the body to rest (traditionally, women rest for 3 days during menstruation). If possible, your practice should be at the same time every day. You will appreciate the routine and respond better to the practice. Although you may find that you are a little sore in the beginning, the regularity of a daily practice removes the soreness in the muscles and invigorates the body each day. If a daily commitment to the practice is not possible, many benefits can still be found. Please come to practice as you are able.

About Led Primary Class:

Each week on Fridays – as in Mysore, India, at KPJAYI – a Led Primary Series class is taught in place of the regular Mysore style practice. Led class reinforces the proper vinyāsa system – when to inhale and when to exhale as we enter into and out of each posture. Guruji emphasized the importance of this by telling students, “When vinyāsa is perfect, the mind is under control.” He even said, “That’s the main thing controlling the mind.” (Yoga International 1995, Sandra Anderson) For both new and experienced students, led class is an important compliment to a regular Mysore practice. It’s an opportunity to ensure that each vinyāsa is being learned and practiced correctly. Furthermore, surrendering to the teacher’s count and pacing, is an opportunity to increase both our internal and external strength, and our relationship with the traditional lineage.


Why should I practice yoga

People come to yoga for many reasons. Whether you are interested in physical fitness, healing chronic injuries, or experiencing inner peace, yoga has something to offer you. It is a fully integrated mind-body technique that is proven in numerous scientific studies to lower your level of stress, while increasing your sense of health and happiness. If you are interested in working with the quality of your mind, a regular yoga practice is the perfect place to practice mental clarity. By synchronizing the breathe, body and mind, a dedicated practitioner begins to experience deep and lasting transformation.


Is yoga a form of physical exercise and can I cross train with it

Yes yoga is a comprehensive form of physical exercise, yet while fitness is an important aspect of yoga, it is not the only benefit you gain from regular practice. One hour of yoga includes both cardiovascular, strength training, weight bearing, endurance, aerobic, and core-based exercises. You may choose to cross train with yoga, however, there are certain activities which are not complimentary with the yoga practice.


Do I need to do anything special before I come to practice yoga

Ashtanga yoga should be practiced on an empty stomach. Try not to eat two hours prior to class. Also, please try to refrain from drinking during class. Come to class hydrated by having water no less than 15 min before class. Drinking during class counteracts the process of building heat in the body and therefore decreases the detoxifying effects of yoga.


How often should I practice

Traditionally, in the ashtanga yoga we practice 6 days a week, leaving one day for rest. We also take off on the days of the new and full moon. Women should take off 2-3 days during menstruation. Mysore style ashtanga yoga has a cumulative effect on the body and should be practiced a minimum of 3 days per week. As your schedule permits, more days should gradually be added. It is when we are practicing in the traditional manner that we receive the greatest benefit.


Why do I need a teacher

If you wanted to get from Miami, Florida to Boise, Idaho and you set out on I-95 without a map, directions or a guide, you would probably find your way sooner or later. But if you want to make sure you know the way, you might also choose to get directions from someone who has clearly traveled the distance before. You might even ask a guide to take you all the way because it just might save you some time. In case there are many people who say they’ve been to Boise before, you might have to trust the person that you connect mostly deeply with to lead you in the right direction. And that certain someone would, of course, have a quality that you connect with, something deep that emanates from their being that lets you know that you want to go exactly where they’ve been.


Why should I choose Yoga OM over all of other centers, hotels and gyms that offer yoga

Yoga OM offers you an unparalleled standard of excellence in all its endeavors. Both our facility and our teachers are unlike any other yoga studio in the Huntersville area. Created as a community center in an urban retreat space, Yoga OM encourages a multifaceted approach to your experience of yoga. Complete with many complimentary disciplines, such as nutrition and life coaching, Yoga OM offer you comprehensive support for your inner journey.


Am I too old to practice yoga

No one is too old to practice yoga. There have been people who practice yoga and start at all ages and process of varying degrees of proficiency. The key to practicing yoga is not age, but rather an open mind and heart.


What about per-existing pain and old injuries

While you might feel sore or tired after doing your yoga practice or sometimes even during your yoga practice, it is not necessary to push your body to point of creating an injury. Throughout our lives we primarily tell our body what to do. With time, the yoga practice becomes an opportunity to listen to and respect what your body wants to tell you and do with you. In the advent of an injury, whether related to yoga or past outside experience, there are many special adjustments, modifications and considerations that one of our qualified teachers can advise you of. One of the main benefits of the yoga practice that you will experience over time is healing. By creating and inviting more balance into your overall state of being, a regular yoga practitioner creates the space to allow healing into their body on multiple levels.


What if I feel sore or fatigued

This is normal when starting any physical practice. It is recommended that you commit to practicing despite these conditions. It is better to do what you can than disrupt your practice routine. Gradually your body will become acclimated to the practice. Through experience we learn discernment and how to practice at the edge of our abilities, reaping the greatest benefit without overwhelming our body and mind.


Why should I commit to one discipline

There are many disciplines of yoga and for a period of time when one is starting out, it is appropriate to try many different styles. However, after an appropriate period of shopping around, we leave the world of materialism and move more deeply into our selves. Just as when we choose one teacher, we also choose one discipline. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe answers this best of all,


Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness…The moment one definitely commits oneself, Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred…Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
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