Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the benefits of yoga?
- To prevent injuries to your muscles and joints.
- To strengthen and stabilize the weak or injured parts of your body.
- To create more overall endurance and stamina.
- To learn awareness of your breathing in order to reduce stress reactions.
- To apply learned techniques in your life and your sport.
- To learn how to do things you never thought you could do.
What is the appropriate amount of time to wait after eating before practicing yoga?
Digestive systems vary between individuals. In general, allow at least two to three hours if you are eating meat, one and a half to two hours if eating carbohydrates or starches, one hour if eating fruits and vegetables. Wait a half an hour after practicing before eating.
Do you have to be a vegetarian to practice yoga?
Absolutely not. However, you may find that you start to eat lighter meals once you start to practice yoga. Ideally, the stomach should be one third water, one third food and one third empty at all times. See what works for you.
Should I stay away from yoga if I have a chronic injury?
No. Talk to the teacher and see what poses will need to be adapted for you or if they would recommend a therapeutic class to start. We recommend that you check with your health care provider if you have had a recent illness or injury or if you are under care for a chronic condition such as heart disease, high blod pressure, diabetes, mental illness, etc.
Do women who are menstruating need to modify their practice?
Yes. If you are menstruating, let the teacher know and you will be given a modified practice depending on what day of your period it is. Some poses, such as inversions, should be avoided all together.
Should pregnant women practice yoga?
Yes. Let your teacher know if you are pregnant and some of the poses may need to be modified. For those who are new to yoga, the pre-natal yoga classes are recommended.
Is yoga dangerous?
An October 15, 2007 article in Time magazine entitled “When Yoga Hurts” cites a 136% increase in yoga-related injuries (as reported by orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and chiropractors) since 2000. Thankfully, this article also points out that of the 70,000 yoga instructors in the United States, only 16,168 of them have completed at least 200 hours of yoga teacher training. Rest assured that all instructors at AHA have had extensive teacher training, well beyond the 200 hours. All of us continue to study on a weekly basis and some of us travel as far as India to get it.
Visit this page for a more in-depth response from Jill Johnson, MS, PT, RYT.
Do I need to be flexible to do yoga?
No, that is one of the greatest misconceptions of yoga. The poses are created to heal or maintain the health and vitality of the body. Too much flexibility can create a state of instability and that’s not healthy. All you need to be able to do is breathe and move.
What should I wear to class?
Wear comfortable clothing that allows movement. We will practice the poses in bare feet. Consider wearing layers of clothing in case you get too hot or too cold.
What advice do you have for a beginner?
- Props are provided but feel free to bring your own sticky mat.
- Be able to be barefoot and wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move in.
- Let the teacher know if you have any recent injuries or acute problems.
- Let the teacher know if you are pregnant or menstruating.
- Do not push hard in the poses. Nothing you do should be painful. Let the teacher know in the moment if a pose is painful.
- Hands on adjustment are sometimes made by the teachers. Please talk with the teacher if this is a concern. Most find these adjustments very helpful. Safety is our highest priority.
- Take a positive, healthy approach to yoga: try to leave your goals and expectations at the door. Approach yoga class with the intention of staying present as you explore your body.
- Yoga is not competitive, it is self-exploration. Try to do yoga without judgement and with compassion for yourself.
What books do you recommend?
Visit our Resources page for a variety of book suggestions.