Ashtanga FAQ

What can I do if I don’t have time to practice an entire series? 

This is a common concern as doing an Ashtanga practice can be time consuming. The most important thing to know is that some practice everyday is better than nothing at all. It is worth coming in to practice even if you are short on time.
If short on time, you can do an abbreviated practice. One method is to do your sun salutations, all of the standing poses and the final three finishing poses.
Another method is to do the sun salutations, standing poses, the first or second half of the primary series, backbends, and all of the finishing poses.
Another alternative is to do sun salutations, backbends, and the full finishing sequence or sun salutations and the full finishing sequence.
The bare minimum is to do sun salutations and the final 3 closing postures.
What to do if I am injured? Can I still practice?

This depends on the exact nature and site of the injury. Generally, the answer is yes. Working carefully and intelligently with injury is an important part of any yoga practice. It is important to listen attentively and critically to the body and mind when working with an injury. The body and mind have tendencies to over exaggerate or underestimate problems. Working with a knowledgable teacher and using your attention critically are the best antidotes.
Should I practice if I am sick? 

Like an injury, this also depends on the situation. Generally the answer is a yes, but one must be intelligent, discerning and seek out the advice of a knowledgable teacher.
Mysore class is scheduled to last three hours? Do I need to be there the whole time? 

No. The space is open and a teacher is present for three hours. You can come in to practice anytime in that three hour window. Your personal practice can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours or more. It is a totally individual experience.
Do I need to know the sequence in order to practice in a Mysore setting?

No. You will be taught in class.
Can anyone do Ashtanga Yoga? I hear it’s not for the faint of heart. 

Ashtanga Yoga, as taught in the tradition of K. Pattabhi Jois, is for anyone. Regardless of age, level of fitness, or circumstance anyone can learn this practice and adapt it to their particular circumstances. Anyone who has an inclination to learn, can do so and practice in a way that suits their needs.
How many times a week should I do Mysore?

Traditionally 6 times a week, excluding Saturdays and Moon-days. However, if that is not possible, 3 times a week is the minimum.
What is the best day to start?
Ideally, you should start your practice on a Monday. While it is important to allow the body proper time to rest and recuperate, taking too many days off at the outset of practice proves detrimental. It is best to begin with a solid week of practice (Monday – Friday, 3 practice days or more) and then allow two days off. This can be adjusted as time goes on.
Should I eat before class? 

Generally it is not recommended that one eats prior to practice. If food is consumed, ideally 2-3 hours should elapse between a meal and practice. However, each individual must be sensitive to their own needs.
What if I feel sore or fatigued? Should I continue to practice or take a day off? What to do when I just don’t feel like it? 

Generally speaking, continuing to practice is the way to go. Often, when sore or fatigued expectations about practice are released and you end up having your best practice. While it is important to be sensitive to the needs of the body and mind, it is also important to look critically at these needs. Frequently, these needs are actually subtle avoidance mechanisms.
If you are sore, tired, or don’t feel like practicing. Acknowledge those feelings and sensations, drop the expectations about what practice should be like and practice anyway.