Yoga Rules : A rough guide to the yamas and niyamas
Do turn up with the correct change for class. We all know that yoga teachers are a bit scatty. They live on a higher celestial cerebral plane, pondering life’s big questions. The worldly concept of money barely creates a ripple on their consciousness. Zero chance of them having change for your £20 note.
Do be selective about sharing your health concerns. Letting your teacher know about a recent knee operation makes sense. Sharing that you have treatment resistant haemorrhoids and chlamydia may be too much information.
Do have a go at chanting, even if you just join in with an opening OM. You can’t get it wrong – it’s supposed to sound flat.
Don’t mix up your opening chants however. For us yoga nuts who experiment with different practices, be aware that there are different chants for different styles of yoga. There is nothing more embarrassing than belting out “Yogena cittasaya….” When you should be chanting “Vande gurunam….” Or is that just me?
Do invest in a sticky mat to prevent your legs sliding further and further apart as your sweaty feet slip away from you. Everyone around you has a beautiful expression of poise and oneness with the cosmos whilst you skate around like a contestant from “It’s a Knockout”.
Don’t groan when enlightenment dawns and you realise teacher is turning up the heat and experimenting with a new sequence of challenging postures. It will get you in trouble later in class. How long can you hold that plank position for?
Don’t stress over the Sanskrit. Who doesn’t get their Purvottanasana mixed up with Parshvottanasana? So long as you are the right way up, facing the same direction as everyone else and have the same number of feet on the ground, you are doing fine.
Don’t allow the teacher to engage in some witty shaggy dog story. They think they are doing you a favour by distracting you from the pain of whatever contorted posture they have tied you up in. Since your teacher is on some higher cerebral and celestial plane, they have rejected the concept of time as we understand it. They will have you there for literally hours.
Don’t eat too many sprouts before class. Wind, the downfall of all yogi’s both new and experienced. Well as with all yogic challenges, don’t resist: to quote a recent Disney Film “Let it go, let it go…”. Apologies if I have ruined that film forever.
Don’t snore at the end of class when taking rest. Other yogi’s may be envious of your level of relaxation but we may leave you there whilst we go to the pub.
I am proud to be a GP settled in Manchester city centre after having trained and worked in Cambridge, London and Brussels. Being a family doctor is one of the best and most varied jobs. The world with all its problems can walk through my office door and I am invited to collaborate in helping out. In recent years yoga has become an increasingly significant feature of my life. As well as getting me in the best physical shape it has helped me through stresses and depression. I attend several Yoga Manchester classes on a weekly basis. More and more I share my experience of yoga with colleagues and patients. It has become a lifelong friend.