New students’ questions.
Q: Would it be worse doing the continuing week if I only have two-three days as I have to leave early this week.
A: Once you have done the first 5 days you have an introduction to everything that we teach. After that, we allow people to come for only two or three days of the continuing weeks if they wish.
Q: In case I have one hour to exercise, should I do continue three poses for 20 min or should 6 poses 10 min each?
A: Sir, if you had asked: I have only 5 minutes what shall I eat, it is the whole thing, take your time. Anyone who eats fast will have indigestion; it’s a wholesome practice; put it all in one, do the whole thing preferentially in the morning, you never know what happens in the evening. I suggest that you do one hour and a half by getting up earlier in the morning. Regarding standing poses you can do them 2 min each. One minute on each side. Suptavirasana minimum 5 minutes, shoulder stand minimum 10 minutes. Otherwise things do not work.
Q: I have a question about food. Is there a diet that could make the body more flexible?
A: What’s your concern about flexibility?
Q: I felt that being flexible would help me with my yoga. If my body is more flexible then the mind would be more…
A: Ah you think so? Then acrobats should all be enlighten! forget all the flexibility business; unfortunately, yoga has become something that only deal with the body; yoga is more than the body, yoga is about energy; do not only concentrate on your physical body. Don’t get caught up in flexibility and all that business, what a waste of time. Dancers need their body to dance, but is dance about the body? No, it is an expression of something within. We use our body but do not spend unnecessary time with this flexibility. You can choose to disagree; I don’t mind.
Q: These days I had pain here in the evening; is it good or bad pain?
A: Was it muscular? Where?
Q: In the hips area. Lower back.
A: Do me a favour, walk here and I will tell you whether it is a bad or good pain. Walk fast.
There are good and bad pains that we feel. Did you jump in the standing poses?
A: Do not jump. This is the bad pain. All the work that you are doing on your feet is good. So, there is a mixture of the two pains.
Q: I had pain in my knees when doing the twists.
A: If you have pain in the knees then you need to take height when you seat. We have many adjustments for knees. Talk to the assistant when you have pain somewhere in the poses.
Q: Is the second week the same as the third week?
A: The course is the same but you will learn some new things for sure. It is not about doing more difficult postures. It is about being able to correct your poses and go within! Going within is what yoga practice is about! This third week will take you deeper, that’s it!
Continuing students’ questions:
Q: What can we read if we want to know more about yoga?
A: You can read the Patanjali yoga sutras. All yoga is based on that. This is the yoga “Bible”.
Q: What is the difference between using the non-slip matt and the jute matt.
A: When you use a non-slip mat when we press our heels down, it needs the toes to stretch otherwise you cannot get the right pose; the foot cannot change on the non-slip mat. For instance, when we need to adjust our poses in the feet in the standing poses, the feet get stuck on the non-slip mat. Yoga practitioners, walk with their yoga mat, as if you could not do a practice without a yoga mat. I have even seen people practicing yoga on the beach with yoga mats. There is something wrong with that kind of thinking.
Q: You said on the website that every moment is an opportunity to do yoga, can you explain more?
A: Awareness is not confined to the class or to your practice. Yoga finishes and everyone jumps into their complete unawareness. Hundreds words per minute and completely lose their awareness. It is a continuous process, even when you are talking to someone you are present. Awareness has to be in everything.
Q: Can one say that your practice is mostly about bringing more awareness into our life and that the health benefit provided by the postures is only a side effect?
A: The health and all this business came with the beginning of hatha yoga around the 13th century. Yoga is much older around 2500 years old. When you are connected to the source of your body you know everything.
Q: I want to express my gratitude for all the things you gave us during this class. Thank you so much. So, the next step is to carry on with an intensive class?
A: There is one special course coming up at the end of June; this is the Yoga and Meditation Silent Retreat. For serious practice I recommend to come to Dharamkot not to Goa. The Intensive Yoga Courses last 3 weeks and is in the Ashram. An intensive means going inwards. This is it.
Q: Can you explain what is pranayama.
A: If you do pranayama like teachers on TV, then I wish you good luck! if you want to do it seriously you first need stability in the body and the mind; only then you can do pranayama. In the Intensive, we only teach the basic of pranayama. Then, there is not end to it, it is like the yoga practice you can deepen it. We are providing you with the foundation and then you can go as deep as you want.
Q: Why do we become more aware after back bends?
A: Hatha yoga is a research on energy. Standing poses give you different energy to forward bends to back bends and to twists. Back bends have the quality of stimulating your brain, that’s it .
When you want to awaken someone then the back bends will do it. It is a wonderful art. You have taken the first few steps. Most of schools are so concerned with the joints and muscles. It is a pity. Flexibility is not the goal of yoga. It is much more than that. Many spectacular things can be done with energy. You need to become aware of the fact that our natural tendency is to go for these small things and leave the big goal out to just take care of the little things
Q: What do you think of tai-chi? I am going to China to learn it.
A: The same. Yoga and tai-chi are dealing with the same thing. It is like cooking on fire or with electricity. The means are different but the result is the same, you get cooked food. You decided to go to China to learn tai-chi. So now; keep doing that. Perfect your practice until you get to the subtler aspects of the subjects. To get the subtle aspects of yoga you need to go deep inside. Focus on one thing at a time. You try one yoga then another one. Then you get confused. So, choose one thing and stick to it. Look around, find your path and then stay on it!
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Dharamkot Yoga Centre, 12 May 2014