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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How is Ashtanga Yoga different from stretching or other kinds of fitness?
Yoga is more than just physical postures. It is unique because we connect the mind, body and breath to help direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognise our thought patterns -increasing awareness.  The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed, like in a gym environment.

Is Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practiced in a heated room?
No. It's a hot, sweaty practice but that heat is generated internally, from a continuous flow of the asanas (postures), ujjayi (breath) and the bandhas (internal locks).

Can I bring my water bottle into class and drink during?
No. Come well hydrated and drink lots afterward. In Ashtanga Yoga we build an inner heat of the body which assists in detoxification. You are building an internal fire and by drinking water you would put out the fire.  Also by stopping to drink water you would lose the flow of the sequence.

I’m not flexible - can I do Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga?
Yes! You are a perfect candidate for yoga.  Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.

How fast is Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga?
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a vigorous dynamic practice. It is suitable for beginners who are relatively fit with no previous yoga experience. It is a 'faster' practice than Bikram Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Sivananda Yoga because you move through many more postures than the former in the same amount of class time. Consequently, some postures such as the Surynamaskaras (salutes) are held for one breath movement only.

Why are you supposed to refrain from eating two to three hours before class?
In class, we will twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward.  If you have not fully digested your last meal, it will make itself known to you in ways that are not comfortable. If you must eat before a class, experiment with a light snack such as yoghurt, a few nuts, or juice about 30 minutes to an hour before class.

Do I need to bring anything?
Yoga mats are available for hire at $2 per mat per class for those who do not have their own, also please bring a gym towel.

Do you accept credit or EFTPOS?
No, Yoga Balance is a small mobile business, cash or cheque only. It is important the correct change is brought with you to class as most students purchase concession cards.  Cheques to be made out to ‘Diana O’Carroll T/A Yoga Balance’. Alternatively, you can set up an electronic payment online. Contact us for details.

Do I need to call first or can I show up to a class?
You can turn up without calling first, but try to arrive at least 20 minutes before the starting time and advise the teacher that this is your first class and complete the intake form.  If you are pregnant or have a specific medical condition, please consult with your physician before commencing any new regime. Places are not guaranteed if you just turn up as classes are run first in first served.

I am pregnant, can I do Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga?
Currently, Yoga Balance does not have the capacity to take on new beginner pregnant students wishing to commence Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga group classes. As an alternative we can recommend you attend specific pregnancy yoga classes that would better suit your needs and discuss referral to a trained pregnancy teacher with private tuition options. If you are a current student and have been practicing beginners Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga regularly with a qualified teacher, and demonstrate confidence with the sequence, it may be considered by Yoga Balance on a case by case basis to include specific adjustments and modifications within the group practice setting through the early stages of your pregnancy.

What should I wear to an Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga class?
Wear clothing that is comfortable and that you can move and breathe in easily. Fitted shorts or trousers, leggings, thai yoga pants, exercise attire. Thick or bulky clothes, such as tracksuit pants, are not recommended because the practice will produce sweat that can make thick clothing uncomfortable.  You will soon realise what works for you.  Yoga is practiced in bare feet.

What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?
A scientific method of movement and meditative practice using controlled breath and sequenced postures. The changes in the body bring about changes in the mind. See for more information.

What is the difference between Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is yogic relaxation. The process brings the restorative and healing powers of deep sleep, the body is asleep but the brain is awake, making the mind aware. The only senses functioning are listening and awareness. A Yoga Nidra class starts off with 10 minutes meditation and 35 minutes of guided relaxation. There are no push-ups, no jump backs, no vigorous activity, just two basic postures, padamasana and shavasana. A class suited for all wishing to destress, refresh, meditate and recalibrate! Choose to enjoy true relaxation from within the self. This is not a fall asleep class - It is a deep restorative practice. Click here to go to our yoga class timetable to find the next Yoga Balance Nidra class in Auckland, New Zealand.

Is Yoga a religion?
Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. The father of classical Ashtanga yoga (the eight-limbed path, not to be confused with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga yoga) is said to be Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra. These scriptures provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Yoga sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, but it is not necessary to study those paths in order to practice or study yoga. It is also not necessary to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga.

What is the chant before class and during meditation?
The Ashtanga invocation, or opening chant is a way for us to focus our minds, develop a sense of group energy, and most importantly, express gratitude for the practice of yoga which has been passed down to us through the ages. It is traditionally chanted call-and-response style, but some may wish to memorise it to chant during self-practice. See for Sri K. Patthabi Jois chanting the invocation and also for Sharath chanting the closing.

How often should I practice Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga?
Traditionally, it is recommended that Ashtanga Yoga students practice six days a week, Sunday through Friday. (Saturday is a day of rest in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition. Additionally, it is suggested that there be no Ashtanga Yoga practice on new moon and full moon days).  But many people lead busy lives and fit the practice in when they can.  Beginner students in the Primary Series can do two days a week but will see noticeable results with a practice three days a week.  Have a chat to your teacher for guidance around other great locations in Auckland, New Zealand to maximise your yoga practice schedule. The amount of classes per week you do, depends on the time you have and the results you desire.