Frequently Asked Questions
What do I wear to yoga?
Comfy, not too baggy, breathable clothes. You do not need “yoga pants” just track pants are great. You will find that if the pants are calf length, than it’s easier to do standing poses. Wear tops that are not too baggy so that when you bend over or go upside down you don’t eat your t-shirt.
Eating before yoga?
Yoga is best done on an empty stomach. If you are peckish before you come and need to eat, have some easy to digest fruit. Avoid any hard to digest foods like spicy or heavy foods that you know make you feel tired.
How do I stick with my yoga practice?
This is the question that is on everyone’s mind. Most people need to have a teacher to keep it up on their own. Yet, most people can’t fit more than 1-3 yoga classes in their week at the most. Yoga is best done a little each day rather than one class a week. To start to get into a regular habit, use a DVD that really inspires you (I suggest using mine: Under CelesteInspires TV) or schedule time with a Yoga Buddy. Agree to meet at a specific time and make it an absolute contract with back up times when schedules get tight. Follow my DVD together, and plan to teach each other one pose at the end. Teaching a pose is the best way to learn it. The first time my heels hit the floor in downward dog, I was demonstrating it, I couldn’t believe they were down!
Is yoga aerobic? Will it burn body fat?
No...and yes, kind of. Yoga is not aerobic, unless you do a flowing practice that is very challenging, like power yoga and ashtanga yoga where you don’t stop to hold poses and use a lot of arm and core strength. Even then, it is unlikely that your heart will be in the training zone (needed to challenge your body enough to make your body burn more calories and raise your heart rate.)
And, yes it will burn body fat and make you leaner. This is not because it is aerobic (for most people) but because you will have the tendency to eat better foods because you will actually crave them. You will also have a tendency to eat less calories because of this and become more sensitive to foods that work better for your body. Anyone I have known that has started and stayed with yoga lost body fat and became leaner. When you reduce your body fat, you are more muscular by ratio and this raises your metabolism. This means your muscles are being used and toned and you reduce their shrinking (atrophying) which often happens with aging (yet is not natural, like many people think). When you keep your muscle fibres firing actively through the various movements that yoga provides, you can feel like you can do many activities and often can without feeling stiffness or overuse. This means you may go for a long, long walk with a friend and not have stiff calves the next day. I love to run, but only do it occasionally. Sometimes I run for 3 days in a week when I get the running fever and I never suffer from shin splints or stiff muscles because of my practice. Having scoliosis, I never was able to run without keeping up my mileage or I developed knee problems. Now, I can go for an hour run when I haven’t run for 8 weeks or more. Also, I have absolutely no back pain in my fifties. When I was in my twenties, and didn’t do yoga, I had daily back pain.
Is Yoga spiritual?
Yes. For the record, let’s define spiritual. To be connected to spirit, or your true self, you feel alive and very awake. “Awake” means you are alert to life as it is and do not need it to be anything other than it is. This is far from accepting, it is the essence of a liberated mind: you don’t care what happens and work directly with what does happen with care, and a light joyful attitude. Even when it’s a really awful day. You just get to have awful. Yet, the awful flavor does not define you, it only shows you what you need and deem important. Being spiritual does not mean you will change professions and eat organic, where different hemp clothing, dawn a new haircut or grow what’s there. (There's also a very good chance you will change emphatically; I stopped eating french fries, and I now put my leg behind my head at parties where I forget to drink wine.) You may just feel very integrated into your true self and trust yourself more. Bingo, you’re spiritual.
How many days a week do I need to do yoga?
Please don’t ask me that. I’ll say six. I know, but, it just feels so very good (after 8 years) to practice daily.So, as far as flexibility, mobility of spine and hips go and the capacity to keep up range of motion of the joints, you are truly best to do it every other day. That’s the science of flexibility: it lasts for 48 hours. Which is a bummer, yet to keep your bum and hips happy you need to bend and rotate them every other day for 10 minutes. MINIMUM. Swear to God. If you’re super rushed, breathe deeply and put your hands behind your head, lift your chest bone with elbows pressed back like important authority figures do at their desk.
What is yoga good for?
I don’t mean to be an evangelist, (God, those people scare me) but the real question would be: What isn’t yoga good for:
- Impatient people
- People afraid of farting in public
- Perfectionists (same as above)
Since I personally fall into all those categories, and I have stayed with practicing yoga, then I can truly say, you can. Here’s what yoga is good for, in all honesty, it is good for almost everything.
Here are the top 40:
- Chronic fatigue
- Blood pressure issues
- Stiff muscles
- Lack of sense of humour
- Loss of muscle tone
- Relationships (especially partner yoga)
- Controlling appetite
- Controlling mood swings
- Feeling of confidence
- Improved sex life
- Improved muscular and cardiovascular stamina
- Improved muscular strength
- Body fat reduction
- Improved circulation
- Purifying and toning organs
- Improved self-esteem
- Reducing facial wrinkles
- Strengthening cardiovascular system after heart attack
- Reducing athletic injuries
- Improving all, yes, all athletic performance
- Improving willingness to stick with diet changes
- Improved posture and therefore energy
- Reduction in mood swings
- Reduction or elimination of the mid-afternoon slump
- A more intimate life with people, from “strangers” to family
- Increased concentration
- Reducing effects of cataplexy
- Controlling appetite
- Tightening mid-riff bulge
- All back-related issues from slipped disks, kyphosis, scoliosis, etc.
- Releasing nagging worries
- For returning to a peaceful state of mind
- Toning the buttocks
- Toning the backs of the arms
- Toning all of the leg muscles
- Strengthening feet and arches
- Plantar fasciatus